Emotional Half-Life


I once heard a brilliant woman, Liyana Silver say that “emotions only have a half-life of a few minutes, unless we either suppress them or wallow in them.” When we suppress emotions, they will become unconscious.  Unconscious emotions can come back to haunt us if they are triggered.  When we wallow in emotions, it is like a downward spiral that goes deeper and deeper. We often have a hard time pulling ourselves out and the emotions can become chronic. This is not uncommon with feelings like anger or resentment.   If we can truly be present and actually feel an emotion while it is happening, without trying to distract ourselves or resisting it, the emotion will generally shift within a few minutes.


I used to strongly resist any emotion that I considered negative, particularly anger and anxiety. Now, when I feel these emotions bubble up inside of me, I take several minutes to sit in silence and truly feel what is happening. I don’t judge the emotion as bad or wrong. I just notice that I am feeling it. I put my full awareness on my body and notice the physical sensations that go along with the emotion. Oftentimes it can be a knot in my stomach or a lump in my throat. Once I have settled on the physical sensation, I sit and breathe into it, giving it my full and undivided attention. I steer clear of judging the emotion as that is a form of resistance. I just truly feel it and allow it to be present without trying to change it or run from it. Every time I do this, I notice within a few minutes, the physical sensation dissolves and the emotion passes through me. It really only takes a few minutes.


Depending on what caused the emotion, it may come and go. For example grief at losing a loved one will not just disappear after paying attention to it for a few minutes. However, in this instance, one will notice that the emotion will change and fluctuate. It will not last forever nor will it be super intense all of the time. If you can feel the emotion fully and allow it to pass, it will shift and it will not come back to haunt you months or years down the road because it has been suppressed. Neither will it turn into a full blown chronic depression because it has been wallowed in.

The next time you are feeling unwanted emotions, try sitting with them, truly feeling them and allowing them to pass through you without judgment or resistance. You will be amazed at how well this technique works.


© Copyright 2015 Vanessa Naja/Holistic Moving

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