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Entries from July 2009

Heed the Warnings of Your Internal Alarm System (aka Feelings!)


Have you ever gotten overwhelmed by your feelings? Maybe you thought they were negative feelings and wanted to get rid of them right away. If so, you might want to stop and heed the message the next time you have any of these three feelings (fear, guilt, anxiety) because they might be trying to tell you something.

As counselors, mothers, teachers (and hopefully your heart) tells you, feelings have a purpose. They tell us if a situation or a person is safe. They inspire us to do greater things (like the love story behind the creation of the Taj Mahal!). They can also alert us to change. As you can guess, difficulties arise when people ignore their feelings - or when they focus so much on one feeling that they become stuck in it. This is especially true when negative feelings like fear, guilt or anxiety rise up. Yet, before you dismiss these feelings (or get stuck in them), try to examine their underlying message and see what change is called for in your life.
FEAR: Fear can warn us about the gravity of a situation. It encourages internal change. If you feel stuck in fear, try meditating on courage. As you cultivate the courage, you’ll be able to make the necessary internal changes to adapt to a situation and the fear will melt away. 

GUILT: Guilt provides insight and helps to better understand ourselves and others, allowing us to re-examine the root causes and responsibility for given situations. Too much guilt can be caused from a lack of internal boundaries. If you experience frequent guilt when you’re not responsible for it, try meditating on self-love and reassurance. It’s like the Golden Rule, but flipped. Treat YOURSELF as you treat others. By noticing your own self-talk and replacing self-criticism with love and reassurance, you’ll let go of taking too much responsibility for situations that you don’t control—and the guilt will subside. 

ANXIETY: Anxiety also helps to motivate us to change. It signals action. Problems occur when anxiety creates paralysis. In addition, it becomes tempting to judge oneself when you’re experiencing anxiety, which can lead to feeling more anxious. If this occurs, try meditating and finding peace of mind. Relax, take deep breaths and allow peace to override the anxiety. Oftentimes, a call to action will reveal itself when we let go of the anxiety. Then moving into action will decrease the original need for the anxiety.