Feel the Feels

The last couple of newsletters have focused on the Citizen Joy project so this one is in a more personal vein. Last year, when my family was going through some tough times, I put together a quick emotional exercise to use when found myself in the all-too-familiar state of floating in anxiety. This is the cadence:

  1. Feel the feels.
  2. Hold the hope.
  3. Set firm boundaries.

If I do it well and actually feel what I’m feeling – fear, anger, hurt, love, etc. – the anxiety melts away. You may be thinking, “Of course, that’s how it works,” but for me, identifying a specific feeling, and then feeling it, as a technique to clear a cloud of anxiety was a revelation. It also made me realize how rarely I let myself feel what I’m feeling.

Holding on to hope is easier for me, but in the presence of a strongly felt emotion, it becomes more specific, a sturdier hope. Then the third step moves me out of my reverie and back into the world, a place where a good plan is important and setting firm boundaries is a really good plan. In fact, for me, learning to skillfully, simply and kindly set firm boundaries has been nothing short of miraculous.

Let me know if you have a customized cadence to get you moving in good directions. And let me know if you try this one.