Imagine you’ve just eaten a very big meal (think: holidays or big parties). You feel weighed down, heavy, perhaps a bit regretful. You feel disgusted at the idea of eating again. And days later, your digestion will likely still be affected.
It’s no different when you’ve eaten a big emotional meal.
Overwhelm, numbness, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, overworking, commitment phobia, indecision — these are all signs of undigested emotions. Over time, they will build up and likely lead to extreme outbursts or physical illness, often the kind that stump the doctors.
Emotions are amazing if you know this secret: they are experiences that move through us, but are not us. They move in their own time, responding to our inner and outer landscape. Good news: we can aid their movement, just like a cup of ginger tea eases a full tummy. Check out this post for a few tips on emotional digestion.
There’s very little modeling for digesting emotions — we rush back to work after a loved one’s death, jump onto Tinder right after a big breakup, temporarily reassure ourselves with alcohol or food or shopping or whatever you fancy. So it’s no surprise that most people are walking around feeling numb, anxious, depressed, guilty, etc. But you don’t need to jump off that bridge just because everyone else is doing it.
Instead, imagine that emotions offer a peek inside your endlessly fascinating inner being. Simply acknowledging a pattern of how a person, experience, or global pandemic affects you is far more interesting than anything you’ll find on Netflix.
Make space to digest both welcome and unwelcome emotions, because even the best chocolate cake can be too much at times.
Most Sundays on Instagram I post a list of celebrations — ways I acknowledge what I’ve overcome or cheer myself on for finding beauty in this strange world. Join me there in the comments, or keep a journal for this purpose.
Treat the big experiences — good and bad — the way your favorite Ayurveda teacher guides you to digest big meals. That’s how to make feeling your feelings a superpower.
If you want a sacred space to digest your emotions, join The Nest, my membership program. Here you’ll have the chance to work 1:1 with me, or getting access to transformational content and monthly virtual gatherings. Learn more here.