The practice of sitting with your emotions requires awareness and presence. When we simply allow our emotions to exist within us, we acknowledge them without judgment or obstruction. Our emotions are alive, creating sensations in our bodies and minds. When we sit easily with our emotions, we notice these sensations and let them be what they are, resisting the urge to suppress the feelings or be distracted away from them. There is great value in this.
Five Benefits of Sitting with Your Emotions
Tolerance leads to increased emotional regulation.
The more you can accept your emotions as they are and allow their unimpeded presence, you become more tolerant of them. You get used to them. Therefore, you learn to manage your emotions more effectively.
Self-Awareness is Enhanced
As you contemplate emotions as they arise, you engage in self-discovery. This feeds a deeper understanding of the inner world, the self as it is.
When we suppress or avoid emotions altogether, we risk elevating levels of stress hormones within the body. By sitting authentically with our emotions, we are confronting our feelings. We get to know our emotions, making them familiar to us and thereby reducing stress.
The ability to process our own emotions leads us to notice, understand and cope with the emotions of others. We gain insight and empathy around the feelings themselves. We see where they arise in each individual, and we generate compassion for those around us.
Strengthened Overall Well-Being
Sitting with our emotions in a raw and honest manner boosts the overarching sense of self in a comprehensive way. The more we get to know the truth of our inner being, the more we grow.
How to Effectively Sit with Your Emotions
This might look like meditation, but it doesn’t have to be anything formal. Any time you sit or lie down alone in a quiet place, eliminating distractions (i.e., your phone), you can more easily notice what is happening in the body and mind. Find a comfortable spot. Be still in a position that feels right for you. Get quiet. See what emotion arises when all other senses are concealed. Allow what comes up to be there and resist the temptation to suppress it. Do not try to change it.
Once you have noticed the emotions that are alive in you, take a few moments to informally describe what comes up in a journal or notebook. You might begin by writing the date and using the uncomplicated prompt “I feel … “ Do not try to explain what you are feeling. Do not admonish or congratulate yourself. Write what it feels like. What are the emotions themselves? Are there any physical sensations accompanying the emotions? Do not judge. Document. This is what you are experiencing right now.
Intentional breathing connects us to our bodies and minds in a powerful way. There are many different breathing rhythms that can be used to induce positivity, healing and generate a beneficial flow of energy. A straightforward breath in through the nose and out through the mouth in even counts works wonders. Try breathing into a count of four and then out to a count of four. Expand to a count of 6 as you become familiar with your own breathing. Explore various ways of controlling your breath to induce peace and well-being. Investigate breathwork, yoga breathing (Pranayama), or meditation breathing if this resonates.
Making time to sit with your emotions is a form of self-love. Our emotions are a part of us, and the more space we hold for them to occur in their natural form, the more we honor our existence in the world. We can improve our mental health and emotional well-being by allowing what arises to live as a part of us with unconditional acceptance. We are worth that kind of love.