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The 6-Step Process to Handling Difficult Emotions with Mindfulness

The 6-Step Process to Handling Difficult Emotions with Mindfulness

For the majority of people out there, life is crazy. It’s fast-paced, and it’s jammed full of stress from family, relationships, and work. Throw in the role of technology and the society in which we live, and you can times that all by ten! 


So then, it sort of goes without saying that all this can take a massive toll on your marriage. This results in difficult emotions such as anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, and sadness cropping up. Emotions like these often become the most overwhelmingly powerful forces in your life.


But get this: the key to overcoming these trying emotions is mindfulness! Practicing mindfulness assists you in calming down and soothing yourself. In this state, you’re given space to reflect and thoughtfully respond — not just react.


Here is my 6-Step Process to Handling Difficult Emotions with Mindfulness:


  1. Become Aware of and Feel Your Emotions


Once you become aware of the emotion you’re feeling, try to pinpoint exactly where it is in your body. You might feel it as an ache in your stomach, a constriction of your throat, the fluttering of your heart, or any other kind of tension elsewhere. I challenge you to sit with this anger, anxiety, depression, sadness, guilt, or whatever emotion you might be experiencing! You need to become fully aware of it. Do not ignore it.


The main point is to not push that emotion away. Keeping it inside will only cause it to bubble up and explode later on, resulting in even more difficult emotions; or possibly a total emotional meltdown. Listen to those tough emotions — they’re usually there to help you wake up to what is happening before a really major crisis occurs!


  1. Identify and Label Your Emotions


Rather than saying: “I’m angry”, say, “This is anger” or, “This is anxiety.” By taking this stance, you’re acknowledging the presence of your emotion, but you’re also remaining detached from it. Now this is some empowering stuff!


Identifying and labeling your emotions can often allow you to take some of the pain out of whatever it is you’re feeling. It allows you to stay in the present moment, rather than being catapulted into the future, or being left trapped in the past. 


  1. Fully Accept Your Emotions


Whenever a certain emotion comes up for you, don’t try to deny it’s presence. Acknowledge and accept that the emotion is there — no matter if it’s anxiety, grief, sadness, or anything else. It is through mindful acceptance that you can embrace uncomfortable feelings with compassion, awareness, and understanding towards yourself and your significant other.


Hold yourself with kindness and compassion, and put forth those same attitudes while becoming aware of what is going on inside you. You will then gain the strength necessary to calm and soothe yourself, as well as your partner.


Sooner than later you will more fully grasp the fact that you are not your anger, fear, grief, or any other one of those difficult emotions you may be feeling. You will instead start to experience these emotions in a more fleeting and non-judgmental kind of way. 


When you open yourself up to your emotions you create a space of awareness, curiosity, and expansiveness that you can then bring into your romantic relationship with your spouse.


  1. Realise That Your Emotions Are Not Permanent 


Each and every single one of your emotions is impermanent. They arise and reside within you for a certain time, and then they vanish. I’m sure we’ve all experienced, though, that it’s easy to forget this when you’re in the middle of dealing with tough emotions.


Try and allow yourself to be a witness and an observer of your emotions. Pay attention to them with patience and gentleness. 


In order to fully embrace this process, ask yourself the following questions:


> What and where is this feeling?

> What do I need now?

> How can I nurture it?

> What can I do for my partner?

> What can my partner do for me?

> How can we, as a couple, turn toward one another with acts of loving-kindness?


Asking yourself focused questions such as these will greatly assist in promoting empathy, compassion, and connection within your relationship.


  1. Explore and Investigate Your Emotions


After you have calmed down a bit, take a moment to dive deep within and explore what occurred. 


Ask yourself the following questions:


> What triggered me?

> What is causing me to feel this way?

> What is the discomfort I’m experiencing and where is it arising?

> Was it as a result of my critical mind, or was it in reaction to something my partner said or did?


Whatever the cause or trigger might be, closely examine it and ask yourself what happened:


> What were your expectations surrounding the situation?

> What reactions or judgments caused you to become angry or anxious?

> Is this a pattern that keeps coming up?


Asking yourself these crucial questions and investigating the root of your difficult emotions will help you gain empathy and insight into all that you’re experiencing.


  1. Let Go of the Need to Control Your Emotions


The overarching key to dealing with difficult emotions in a mindful manner is to let go of your need to be in control of them. Rather be open to the prospect of whatever might unfold. Take an objective step back and truly listen to what your partner is feeling and what he or she has to say. Only then will you truly gain an in-depth understanding of your emotions and the interactions surrounding them within your relationship.


Mindfully dealing with emotions is not a quick or easy process! Be kind, be compassionate, and be patient with both yourself and your significant other. Remember that the two of you are in this together! 

Sigurd Henrik Vedal is an American-Norwegian entrepreneur; investor; e-commerce- and social media specialist; life, business and relationship coach; and public speaker.

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