Navigating Emotionally Charged Moments

Emotional healing involves focusing on becoming friends with your emotional vulnerability and tending to it daily, especially in highly charged moments.  Tending to your vulnerability can look like acknowledging and accepting your feelings, speaking loving words to yourself, letting loved ones see you when you do not have it all together, or making space to have a good and cleansing cry when needed.  When we open up to and accept our humanity, we can develop a trusting and supportive inner relationship with ourselves. 


The next time you become aware you are trying to avoid feeling what you are feeling, take a break from the situation at hand and practice this self-centering exercise: 


  1. Take a  few deep breaths.  Put your hand on your heart and belly.  Become aware of the sensations and slight pressure that comes from holding yourself in these places.
  2. Connect to your body and name emotions and/or sensations you sense there.  Notice the sensations in your body such as tingling, tightness, heat, contraction, fluttering, ect.  Name feelings such as sadness, fear, shame, anger, ect.  This will help connect you to the present moment. 
  3. Ask yourself these questions:
    • What is this bringing up for me?  What pattern is this triggering?
    • What feelings am I trying to push away right now?  
    • What do I really need that I am afraid to give myself or don’t believe I can have?
    • What can I do in this moment to lean into supporting myself with this feeling?
  4. As you notice the sensations, simply breathe, and bring your presence/awareness to the sensations.  You can say to these sensations “I see you, I hear you, I am here with you, I won’t leave you, I will protect you, You are safe with me” or anything else that comes to mind as supportive and present.  If this feels too hard to do, imagine someone you feel safe with speaking this to these feelings and sensations.  Using our senses can also help with this such as breathing in a sent you find calming while doing this or wrapping your body up in a blanket that feels soothing or standing under warm water of a shower, ect. 
  5. As you are doing this, notice any place in your body that might start to feel calm, relaxed,  open, at ease, loosen, ect.
  6. Begin to breathe into this place and be with that experience.  Start to image that experience surrounding the emotional distress you are learning and practicing supporting.  Imagine being both the distress and the presence that is holding the distress.  Notice how it feels to be held with presence and support as compared to ignoring, dismissing, and avoiding. 


This practice will help you to befriend your nervous system and practice building internal safety.  What we practice and focus on grows.  The more this is practiced, the more trust you will build with yourself to be able to tolerate and move through your distressing feelings, the more regulated our nervous system will become.  This process takes time so give yourself the grace and patience that you need to develop this.  Take a moment to recognize showing up for yourself and trying this out.    

This practice was inspired by a practice in the book called Becoming the One by Sheleana Aiyana. 


Blog by Malinda King, MA, LPCC
Photo by Alex Green via Pexels