It’s been 15 days since my last post. However, I’m not too bummed about it. I’m still being far more regular than I was last fall and that is an improvement by anyone’s measure. The last Wellness Wednesday post was about Eating. That can cause a lot of stress for anyone to handle in the best cases. For me, my eating of late has been all over the place. I find myself choosing and wanting to choose more things that I consider “healthy”….although I hate using that word.
Recently I read a post on Fit is a Feminist Issue about tracking the variety of foods you eat. We are kind of in a rut at our house with meals and produce and other plant based foods. Tonight will be one of our favorites….burrito bowls. This usually consists of rice and beans and avocados and salsa and whatever else we dream to put into the bowl. I know, I know….the last post was about EATING, so why am I still talking about it? Well, because Eating tends to lead to stress for some people and stress is one of our FEELINGS, and that’s the main focus of our discussion today…
Don’t Judge My Plate!
The things I didn’t list above that we often put in our burrito bowls include cheese, sour cream, and sometimes chips. Why didn’t I list it? Because fear (a feeling) of judgement (another feeling) is something that I deal with some times regarding food and being in the profession I’m in. We have tried to eliminate dairy in our house. It went well for awhile, but it slowly started to creep back in. We substitute a lot of dairy at our house….almond milk, coconut and almond milk yogurts, avoiding it in some situations. We even tried the alternative cheeses. It didn’t work for us. So, sometimes we skip the cheese (that’s the big one at our house) all together and sometimes we just suck it up and use it.
The thing is, it’d be AMAZING if I could live my whole life without feeling guilty or fearful of my choices, but that’s not being human. Instead, it’s more about how you handle these emotions that impact your wellness.
Have you ever been to therapy? I have….more than once! The thing that’s great about therapy is that you have this person in front of you who wants only for you to be able to verbalize what it is that you’re feeling….to recognize an emotion. Once you can pinpoint what it is, then you can work to deal with that emotion. In yoga we talk a lot about certain Niyamas that work along these same lines. For example: Svadhyaya is the process of self-study. Within self-study we examine who we are and how we area and work toward Santosha which is contentment. Contentment isn’t necessarily acceptance long-term, but more of a temporary learning to be okay with how things are until you can change them.
This recognition that I feel judged or guilty or embarrassed or nervous or shy or fearful about my food choices stems from knowing myself and putting the emotions into words. I can accept that when I told you about the dairy I knew I might be persecuted by some people, but that that is a temporary state of being.
One of the Niyamas is Tapas or cultivating discipline. So many people have the wrong idea about the word discipline and I think dealing with emotions is the perfect place to address that. How many times have you or another person told a child not to cry? Basically shutting down their feelings for no reason without acknowledging what they felt and helping them understand how to handle the unnamed emotion? How would you feel if someone shut you down like that? For some reason we think it’s okay to do to kids, but it’s not okay to do to ourselves. So many of us have been taught that emotions don’t belong in certain environments either. And we’re so conditioned against crying that it’s impossible to feel the catharsis from releasing the tears without some guilt along with it.
The root word of discipline is disciple which means a follower. Creating discipline with others means teaching them how to follow your example. Creating discipline within yourself means learning to follow some other example that you’ve deemed as correct. Emotions will abide by these same rules. If we learn to recognize appropriately the emotion that we’re feeling and then know the “correct steps” for managing those emotions, then feeling works on behalf of our wellness. If I know how to communicate anger in a healthy way, accept grief, move through embarrassment, calm anxiety, let go of fear, enjoy surprise, engage in love……I lead myself to a much more well-rounded life. Think about how to cultivate these disciplines for yourself? What is the best step for you when a certain feeling or emotion arises?
Caring for Yourself
For me, the hardest emotion to deal with has been feeling like someone else is taking control of my life….POWERLESSNESS. I am sure many of us have had this same feeling before. It comes packaged up with many other feelings like anger, resentment, fear, uncertainty, …..the list is long. There are many ways to deal with your emotions and I recommend seeking professional help, as I did, when the feelings get too strong. Some at home ways to deal with stress and other strong emotions include:
- Physical activity/exercise
- Reading or other distraction
- Disputing the negative
Overall, you’re looking for self-care when it comes to dealing with the Feeling Dimension of Wellness.
How have you practiced self-care today?
What is the emotion you have the most difficulty dealing with?