Life is full of obstacles and there is no way of dodging them. In order to help us cope with challenging situations we 'BAN' our feelings and emotions.
Life can be very challenging at times. With very little effort you can probably list at least a handful of situations that are causing you some level of emotional discomfort. These can be more global ones like the economy or that little virus thing. Perhaps there are challenges in the workplace with a colleague or boss. Bringing it closer to home, how's your relationship with your significant other? And if you have children what feelings come up around them?
Not so hard to reach a handful, was it!
We all have various strategies and methods for helping us navigate life, deal with these challenges and regulate our emotions. Some of them are positive and affirming like taking time for yourself, being in nature, having constructive discussions about the problems and nothing beats a good cup of nice hot tea!
There are other activities that are not so good for us. Unhealthy eating, excessive social media use and too much retail therapy are some of the ways we can deal with more difficult or challenging emotions. At 5th Place we coined the term BAN-ing emotions after noticing these and other more extreme methods that can also be ways of coping with the overwhelming feelings that churn around inside.
To BAN your emotions means to bury, avoid or numb them. In our experience it doesn't matter what the emotion is - sadness, anxiety, anger, frustration, isolation, humiliation, jealousy, you name it - burying, avoiding or numbing puts additional strain and stress on the body.
The science backs up what we've observed too. A number of research studies have illustrated the connection between BAN-ing emotions and optimal physical health. For example, having poor emotion regulation strategies is a risk factor for developing heart diseases. Stress and emotional suppression appear to contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or exacerbate its symptoms and a link between emotional stress and diabetes has been found.
One of the most effective ways to regulate emotion is a process called Shape of Emotion. You may have heard us talk about it once or twice. Shape of Emotion is a very easy to learn and gentle way of down-regulating those difficult and challenging emotions. It also works really well for those times when you don't want to share or talk about what it is you are feeling. And yes, this is still a real challenge. Some people find it easier to admit they have cancer before they will admit to being depressed or suffering from long term anxiety. You may have noticed, this too is a form of BAN-ing.
Here's an invitation to you. Next time you feel that emotion that you wish wasn't so familiar, instead of dropping into old habits that don't support you, try something different. See if you can catch yourself and build some self-awareness around what's happening. Then cultivate some more beneficial ways of dealing with it. Talking with a trusted friend, meditating, exercising and, of course, Shape of Emotion. Remember our online weekly Emotional Fitness Class, (more info below) where you can experience Shape of Emotion first hand and begone with BAN-ing!