I experience strong emotions quite often, either because my enneagram is 4w3, or I’m just a normal human. While some people may easily handle strong emotions without giving them much thought, others may struggle to release them. Sometimes, our seemingly small and fleeting emotions expand until they are all we can see, or all we believe, and they seem impossible to climb out of.
This happened to me last night. I didn’t understand why I was feeling so strongly, but I was, and felt weighed down by it all. A warm bath and opening a new book (finally reading Where the Crawdads Sing) helped a ton, but even then, it took me a bit to finally break free. So, evidently, I still struggle with intense emotions. However, by working through them myself, I learn more and more about myself and in doing so, have learned how I can best break through the weight upon me.
Strong emotions can arise for a number of things. According to Psychology Today, 15-20% of the population are Highly Sensitive People, or people who feel and think more deeply than others. Things feel more intense and deeply important for Highly Sensitive People. If you are feeling intense emotions, you could be a Highly Sensitive Person, or an Empath, or may have an undiagnosed disorder (I would suggest reaching out for help if you believe this may be the case). Strong emotions could also be a sign of triggers or a subconscious trauma that needs healing. Whatever the case, the emotions arise and become a stubborn heaviness, and all we want is to feel normal, possibly even happy again.
Before I dive deeply into the advice of this post, I will share an analogy my friend and I discuss sometimes. Emotions are, in theory, an ocean. A deep, blue, vast ocean of passion and intensity. A lot of the time, the ocean is still and we’re chilling in a little boat atop it. Other times, the ocean ripples and we glide up and down and up and down. Sometimes, a storm strikes, and the waves pull us down. Depending on how deep we fall, or the emotional depth the issue brings, the water, or emotion, will feel heavier and heavier and may feel impossible to escape from. Our little boat is sitting up there, waiting for us. Eventually, we find the willpower to swim back up and start all over again.
In this post, I will share all the ways in which I handle my intense emotions and swim back up from the depth of the ocean. Hopefully, these tips will guide you through your emotions as well.
1) Tune into how you feel
You can tune into how you feel by leaving the room to be with yourself. You can start a warm bath, like I did, and reach for some quiet and peace in which you can ask yourself why you might truly be feeling this way. Putting a label, or a name to your emotion, may help as well, such as melancholy or shame. What happened to possibly trigger it? What does this emotion feel like? Where is it most prominent? Doing this helps me a ton to really understand what I’m feeling.
You can read more on this topic in my post: Tuning into our emotions to connect with ourselves
2) Remind yourself that emotions go up and down
Sometimes, or honestly a lot of the time, our feelings go up and down. Happy, then sad. Excited, then frustrated. Like in the analogy I shared about the ocean, the ocean ripples, it’s waves thicken, and we go for a wild ride now and again. Remind yourself that wherever you are now, you are going to feel different again, potentially even soon! If you’re feeling melancholy, remind yourself that you won’t always feel this way again. Someone, or even yourself, will eventually pull you out of it.
3) Allow life to be messy, just for now
Nothing is always going to be perfect all of the time. Sometimes my work life is going well but I haven’t read a good book in a while, or my social life is great, but my relationship needs work. Same goes with emotions. Sometimes, you may not be feeling 100%, and this is alright. You don’t need to feel wonderful and joyful all of the time. Allow your emotions to feel heavy, even messy. Allow them to be.
You can read more on this topic in my post: A messy life is a beautiful life
4) Take your time, but eventually, try to swim back up
Rest in your emotions for as long as you need, but know that you can return to your little boat at the top of the water. It may feel like everything is pressing you down and you’ll never find the strength to get back up, but you can, in time. Next thing you know, you’ll be back up there, gliding down. Whether a good book, a warm bath, or a funny friend gets you back on your feet, reach for that, and swim back up.
5) Forgive yourself for feeling this way
It’s perfectly okay to feel emotions. No emotions are bad, nor good, it is only our actions associated with the emotion that is good or bad. Sometimes I personally feel shame or embarrassment around feeling intensely, or asking for help, but there’s nothing wrong in doing so if it’s what you need or what you cannot control.
You are human. You are doing fine.
I hope this post gave you some clarity regarding strong emotions! I know I still have ways to go to completely find inner harmony and avoid intense emotions, but it is the small work and the baby steps that’ll help tremendously. Have a wonderful rest of your week!