Anxiety Mindfulness Monday Mantras Spiritual Disciplines

4 Steps to “Feel the Feels” and Find Peace

A Need For Some Peace

Today I find myself refreshed from a relaxing weekend. Sometimes we need those times to “do nothing” in order to find our way back to peace. You know?

I’m not sure how the last few days have played out for you. Perhaps you found some rest and relaxation (i.e., R&R) for yourself as well.

But in case you didn’t…if you don’t find yourself refreshed and excited about life today: I totally get it.  Weekends aren’t always rejuvenating. Our schedules can be incredibly demanding. And adulting can be tough!

Whatever state you find yourself in today, let’s ensure we’re on the same playing field here.  

Let’s take a moment to bring ourselves back to a calm and centered place. 

You with me? 

Alright, then. 

For the next 30 seconds, I encourage you to put that email inbox aside.  Silence your buzzing phone.  Turn away from your social media feed or online shopping.  Whatever it is that has grasped your attention this Monday morning: put it down for just a moment and join me in a short little break. 

When you’re ready, close your eyes and let’s take some deep cleansing breaths. 

  • Close your eyes and breath in deeply while counting to five (filling up your chest and breathing deeply down into your belly).  As you do so, imagine yourself somewhere peaceful, calm, relaxing.  Perhaps imagine your way onto the beach, listening to the waves crash on the shore and the seagulls sing overhead.  
  • After those 5 seconds are up, exhale. Still with your eyes closed, press out that air from your chest with force.  Imagine yourself breathing out all the stress, all the frustration, all the [fill in the blank] emotions that may be mucking up your moments this Monday.
  • Repeat this process 3 times.  And then open your eyes. 

How do you feel?  Feel any better? 

Practice Intentional Peace

If you’re like me, I think you’ll agree: deep breathing takes us to a much better place.  Personally, it calms me.  It centers me.  It brings my thoughts back to God: the One who breathed us all into existence. 

In the coming days, any time you find yourself stressed, overwhelmed, anxious, or feeling any other intense emotion: jump back into this simple breathing exercise.  Do it three times like we practiced.  Or do it five.  Or ten.  However many times it takes to bring you back down to a neutral calm.

Peace-Filled? More Like Stress-FULL!

The past few weeks, I’ve needed to heavily rely upon my breathing exercises.  

I’ve turned to healing breaths and other mindfulness practices and spiritual disciplines to help me process through stress.

Why?  Well, because this season of my life I’ve been confronted with a lot of uncertainty and new challenges

Don’t get me wrong: I love “new” things.  New experiences, new travel destinations, new friends, new learnings.  Heck, I even get excited about silly new things, like a new flavor of gum at the pharmacy checkout lane.

But tackling new things in an area I haven’t yet mastered? 

Accomplishing new tasks that are tied to “achievement” and could possibly result in failure? 

Gulp!  That’s where overwhelm starts to prick my spirit.

Can you relate?

Fears Disguised As Overwhelm

This season, I’ve seen my share of “overwhelm.”  

I’ve had to step into arenas wherein I feel as if I am completely the underdog.  I’ve had to take on tasks I’m not so confident about.  It’s caused me to be plagued by self-doubt, which is only reinforced when I attempt to one take step ahead, only to seemingly fall two steps behind.

“Overwhelm” has been fueled by a burning desire to be in the “next stage” of life and faced with the very real fact that there is so much to be accomplished in order to get me to that place. 

Have you been there? 

Does the overwhelm of today ever leave you pining for the next season (which is hopefully full of more peaceful tomorrows)?

As I was processing through my own overwhelm last week, I realized there was another phrase that more accurately described how I felt.

I’m scared.

  • I’m scared of failure.
  • I’m scared I don’t have what it takes.
  • I’m scared my hopes for what God will accomplish through me in the future are in fact way too high.
  • I’m scared I’ll always feel this way.
  • I’m scared I’ll put my heart, sweat, and tears into writing what God is calling me to write…only for it to be an utter flop.

The overwhelm that had been weighing me down was fear.  And my Friend, fear is not an emotion I like to feel. 

How about you? 

I’m guessing you agree.  Because fear feels unpleasant and often brings along with it its sister emotion: anxiety. 

Run Toward the Roar

In the past, my go-to mode of operation when it came to fear and anxiety was: avoidance.  I’d give a good ‘ole “peace out” to those emotional drags and run toward excitement, happy, and other pleasant emotions.

But the thing is, over the years I’ve learned there are no bad emotions, except for those we choose not to feel. 

Even uncomfortable emotions like fear and anxiety can be very useful tools if we lean into them instead of running from them. 

  • They snap us out of our tendency to fall into “the groove” of busy and miss out on really living. 
  • They awaken us to pay attention to what’s going on in our internal worlds. 
  • They provide bread crumbs that can lead us back to God, the ultimate source of peace and rejuvenation. 

Last week, I chose to feel my fear and listen to what it had to say. 

I sat with the emotion and the “overwhelm” I had been suppressing came bubbling forth as prayers to God. 

  • I told God how scared I was.
  • I tearfully listed out all the reasons fear had grasped my heart and self-doubt had polluted my soul. 

After an emotional outpouring, I was left with more than just tear-stained cheeks and a healthy pile of balled up tissues.  I was left with an amazing feeling of peace.

There is so much freedom in simply naming fear or other feelings that make us feel “eesh.”“Name it to tame it” as they say in the mindfulness world.

But even better than letting go of the fear that grasped my heart last week was the relief God brought to my soul through His loving Presence.

  • He reminded me it was okay to feel.  Yes, even those “eeshy” emotions that often scare me. 
  • He assured me, He is always by my side: even when my feelings tell me otherwise.
  • I was reminded of the fact that any emotion can help me.  And any uncomfortable feelings will be tamed when I process through them with Him.

He also steered my mind off my fears and directed it toward some very key truths.  Truths my emotions had blinded me from: 

  • It’s not all up to me. God will finish what He started in me and God will accomplish whatever He wishes to accomplish through me.  The pressure is off.
  • God is in control.  He knows what’s ahead and will provide everything I need to get me where He wants me to go.  He will part whatever seas need to be parted: I just need to take that step of faith to step into the waters as He guides me forth.
  • My worth is not something to be earned.  It just is. There’s nothing I can do that will cause God to love me more than He already does. A past plagued with “achievement-oriented-worthiness” sometimes causes me to attach my identity to what I accomplish.  God reminded me: He cherishes me, not what I do.
  • My part to play in God’s plan is important. Sure, by the world’s standards I may be small.  But each of us has a role that is extremely important in God’s economy. When I lean into whatever task God has for me with thanksgiving and in dedication to Him: He is pleased.

Friend, these truths hold true for you as well. 

Hold fast to these truthful nuggets.  Allow them to resonate deeply.  Rely upon them and proclaim them as truth if (or more likely when) your emotions try to convince you otherwise.

The next time overwhelm and fear come calling, do your best to hear their shouts as warning signals.  A call to action to run toward (instead of away from) “the roar” and work through whatever’s going on inside with God.

4 Steps to Feel Your Emotions and Find Peace

Friend, I encourage you to fight the urge to run, hide, or suppress your emotions.  

They may feel intense, they may make you squirm.  But the good news is their bark is worse than their bite. 

Feel your feels, Friend.  Listen to what they have to say.  Process through the emotions, lean into God, receive His peace.

Remember these 4 STEPS to feel your way back to peace:

  1. Ground yourself back in the present.  Remember that breathing exercise we did?  That tool comes in handy here.
  2. Name it to tame it.  Don’t run from your overwhelm (or other uncomfortable emotion): bring words to it, speak your truth to God in prayer.  
  3. Saturate your mind with truth.  Turn to God, turn to the Word.  Ground yourself in truths, such as those I mentioned above. 
  4. Allow for silence and solitude to process through your emotions with God.  Be honest with how you feel and allow Him to speak words of comfort to your weary heart.

God is faithful, Friend.  He is always near, even when overwhelm, fear, and other emotions numb us to that reality. Spend some time with Him, and I assure you: He will bring you peace.  He will also remind you of the truth that He is always, always, always near.

Well, Friend.  Cheers to another week.  

May you be grounded in truth.
May you be filled with His peace.
May you be grateful.
May you be confident.
May you be radiant.

XOXO, 
Rachael


Scripture to Meditate on This Week:

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“O Lord, you have searched me and known me!  You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O Lord, you know it altogether. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot attain it.” – Psalm 139:1-6

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