How to Let Go of Negative Emotions

How to Let Go of Negative Emotions

When clients come into my office, they describe many types of problems. Yet, whatever their situation, they almost always complain that they feel stuck in feelings of anger, sadness, fear or hurt. In order to help my clients, I teach them something called the Sensation Meditation (SM). This meditation guides people to focus on their negative feelings in a specific manner.

By helping people fully feel their emotions without distraction, this meditation helps people move through “stuck” feelings into a place of healing. When people finish using this simple three minute technique, they frequently report that their negative feelings have vanished, and that their body feels relaxed, peaceful, and at ease.

The first step in doing the Sensation Meditation is to find a comfortable chair or couch, and proceed to take a couple of slow, deep breaths. Then, scan your body and notice the most uncomfortable feeling or sensation you feel. Focus on this area of your body, and feel exactly whatever is there. For example, if you’re annoyed you might notice a tightness in your chest and a warm feeling in your throat. If you’re worried, you may notice a tension in your forehead muscles and shoulder blades.

Ultimately, our emotions are experienced in our body as specific sensations such as warmth or coolness, tightness or relaxation, sharp or blunt, etc. As you notice uncomfortable sensations in your body, try to be aware of the resistance you have toward experiencing these uncomfortable feelings. Instead of avoiding or pushing away the discomfort you feel, simply allow the sensations to be there. Give yourself full permission to feel whatever is going on in the present moment.

As you tune into your present time sensations and let go of resisting whatever is there, you may notice that things start to change. Ironically, it is largely our resistance to feeling negative that allows uncomfortable feelings to stay stuck in our body. By letting go of your resistance and actually focusing on what you feel, the dam of stuck feelings will become like a moving river once again.

To help you tune into the present sensations of your body, it can help to focus on the following questions:

1. Where in my body do I feel the most uncomfortable feelings or sensations?

2. How big of an area in my body does the core of these uncomfortable sensations cover?

**3. **Is this area warmer or cooler than the rest of my body? How exactly does it feel different?

**4. **What about this sensation do I resist or find uncomfortable?

5. Can I let go of my resistance and allow the sensations to flow through?

6. What is something I could feel grateful for or look forward to in my life?

As you go through each of these, do your best to focus on what the question points to. For example, if you’re noticing how big of an area the sensations take, compare it to the size of a baseball, a basketball, or whatever seems appropriate. The more current you can be with the actual sensations in your body, the more quickly and easily stuck feelings will dissipate. As you focus on these various questions, imagine you are a scientist objectively noticing the exact moment to moment sensations in your body. By the time you reach question number six, you’ll probably feel rather relaxed. As you focus on what you feel grateful for or what you look forward to, allow yourself to be filled with the feeling of gratitude or excitement. Once you feel relaxed and positive, you can slowly open your eyes and enjoy your day.

While the Sensation Meditation is great for cutting through stuck feelings, it’s also an excellent tool for getting over minor upsets. If you feel a bit tense or annoyed, try taking three minutes to do this meditation. I think you’ll notice you’ll soon feel relaxed and at ease. With practice, you can even do a shorter version of this meditation. To do this, simply take a deep breath, notice the uncomfortable sensations in your body, and then relax and allow what you feel to fully be as it is. As you stay present with these sensations, you’ll soon observe that they change and, like a river, flow through you. If you do this method enough, you may even be able to do the whole process in under a minute. It can be a great way to love yourself.

The beauty of the Sensation Meditation is that it helps your feelings through a natural, organic process. Instead of trying to distract yourself from your feelings–which simply allows them to stay stuck–your feelings naturally become unstuck as you fully feel them. Although it can be hard to believe, it is our resistance to our feelings that allows negativity to stick around in our body. Even for major upsets, like the ending of a relationship or a death in the family, the Sensation Meditation can help you move through your grief at an accelerated rate.

To make this exercise easier to remember, you might want to write out the six questions from the meditation on a little note card. Another good thing to do is to record the meditation and then, when you need it, listen to it on your smartphone. To create your own guided Sensation Meditation, simply tell yourself to “focus on what feels uncomfortable in your body.” Wait a minute to give yourself time to feel what is there and fully welcome the sensations you feel. Then, read the six questions into your voice recorder, remembering to pause for about twenty seconds after each one. That’s all that’s needed.

Most people are secretly at war with their own feelings. Besides the obvious stress this creates, it also has a tendency to keep our bad feelings around for longer than they need to be. Fortunately, the Sensation Meditation can help you become friends with your feelings, your body, and yourself once again.


* Excerpted from “Find Happiness Now: 50 Shortcuts for Bringing More Love, Balance and Joy Into Your Life”



How Does an HSP Cope With All the Suffering in the World?

How Does an HSP Cope With All the Suffering in the World?

If you’re not familiar with the term HSP, please see the definition for “Highly Sensitive Person” from Dr. Elaine Aron.

With no simple answer, I’m afraid. I’ve pondered my own answer to this question for several years. The following Meditation of Hope and Love came to me during one of my own meditations a few years ago. I use it often…and lately, that means almost daily!

A Meditation of Hope and Love

Find a meditation time – at least 30 minutes, or longer, if possible. You know the criteria – quiet, uninterrupted time and space, preferably your own special place that may have candles or a special feeling of comfort and security for you.

Sit or lie down in a very comfortable position. (I prefer lying, with something light and soft to cover me.)

  • Begin slow, deep breathing, focusing on blowing all your breath out – as if blowing out a candle.
  • Breathe in deeply, through your nose, to a count of 8 or 10. Hold for a count of four.
  • Breathe out, again as if blowing out a candle, to a count of ten.

You want to create a very deep cleansing breath. Notice: You might begin yawning, or drifting off to sleep. Go with whatever feels best for you. There is no ‘doing it wrong’ here. Just keep practicing until eventually you can complete the whole meditation. Now here comes the harder, yet important part.

Begin to allow your mind to go ahead and focus on all the things you have been concerned or worrying about. Like many of you, I have been close to tears each day as I hear about all the suffering in the world.

Lovingly ask each individual concern to patiently wait in line — assuring them they will all have a chance to be heard. In your relaxed state, begin to see each entity forming a line, waiting patiently. As they come up to be heard, assign them a name like Robin Williams, Gaza/Palenstine conflict, Nigerian girls or maybe for you it might be lost job, finances, or whatever else evolves as an appropriate and loving way to remember and honor your concerns.

As an HSP, these kinds of images tend to burrow deep into my inner world and I can begin to feel burdened, lethargic, and sometimes hopeless. Cognitively, I know there is really nothing I can (concretely) do about these tragedies, yet my yearnings for a better world keep my mind occupied.

Now comes the next step in your meditation.

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