How to start healing despite what nature wants
How do we humans avoid feeling our emotions? Ah, let me count the ways!
We are wired to avoid our emotions, not mindfully embrace them.
It is clear from affective neuroscience research that emotions are connected to our evolutionary motivation system.
Feelings signal how we are reading the environment, and they are designed to mobilize and drive an adaptive behavioral response.
Positive emotions (such as excitement, joy, attraction, pride, amusement) are labeled “positive” because they feel good or pleasurable by design. They arise in situations when we perceive important physical, psychological, or social (attachment) needs are within reach, and they motivate approach behaviors.
Negative or threat-related emotions (such as fear, anxiety, guilt, shame, disgust, hurt, anger, jealousy, sadness) are labeled “negative” because they feel uncomfortable or painful by design they are part of the body’s alarm system. They arise when our brain perceives a threat to our fundamental goals or needs or the well-being of loved ones. Negative feelings also mobilize the body for action, but they motivate avoidance behavior: efforts aimed at escaping, reducing, fighting, or controlling the threat and the associated feelings.
It’s important to notice something here: Feelings are NOT designed to have us slow down and really feel them. We may not even be consciously aware of our emotional state. Our brain just needs to register a feeling just long enough to orient us to what’s important in the environment and to activate various physical and behavioral systems to fuel a move toward or away.
Nature wants us to act not feel. Nurture also wants us to shut down certain feelings.
*Feeling What’s Painful Gives You Access to What Matters*
Step 1: Name the Feeling
Step 2: Allow the Feeling Sensations in Your Body
Step 3: Mindfully Investigate What’s at the Heart of Your Feelings
Step 4: Bring Compassion to Your Experience
Moral of the story- Learning to skillfully feel connects us deeply to ourselves, and creates the freedom to fully engage our life and do what is meaningful.