Mind & Body

The Great Emotional Escape

When the tough stuff comes up, most of us run. Here’s how to stay put and embrace your internal chaos.
The Great Emotional Escape
Pin it courtesy of Shutterstock


NAME THAT FEELING “A lot of times we are so disconnected we don’t even know how to identify how we feel,” says Eve Wood, M.D., medical director of the Eating Disorder Center in Denver, Colo., and author of 10 Steps to Take Charge of Your Emotional Life (Hay House). Though it sounds incredibly basic, she says it helps to read a list of feelings and choose the ones that most resonate. Studies show that when we can name our feelings, the brain actually calms down. So when you’re asked a sincere, “How are you?” and come up blank, take a peek at a list of feelings (check out more than 100 of them in one handy list on naturalhealthmag.com/emotionalhealth), or even just ask yourself, “How am I feeling?” and pick from one of the major categories experts have used for years: sad, mad, glad or scared.

CLUE IN FROM THE START If you bring some awareness to your physical and emotional self first thing in the morning, it’ll help you be more attuned all day, says Northrup. “So bask in the comfort of your bed, notice the way your sheets and pillow feel and just take a moment to bring in well-being,” she says. Take this a step further by setting an intention of mindfulness throughout the day, so that you’re able to recognize emotions as they arise rather than pushing them away.

RIDE THE WAVE BRFWA: It’s a playful acronym and helpful technique Stephen Cope, author of The Wisdom of Yoga (Bantam) and director of the Kripalu Institute for Extraordinary Living in Stockbridge, Mass., came up with. Start by sitting somewhere quiet—this can take 30 seconds or an hour, depending on the intensity of your feelings. First you Breathe, bringing in oxygen and prana (life force energy) to calm your mind and body. Let’s say some sadness bubbles up. Instead of moving away from that feeling, Relax, actively chilling out to stay present. As you Feel into your sensation, notice the subtle layers—under your sadness might be anger, beneath that hurt, and so on. Tears may come. Let them. Watch from the perspective of a witness. And finally, Allow those feelings to be there and trust—that all is as it should be, that this too shall pass.