how to deal with stubborn emotions

Picture this.

You’re going about your day, everything is going fine, and then WHAMMY!

Something happens that triggers a bad feeling.

Maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s sadness, jealousy, guilt, frustration…whatever it is, it doesn’t feel good and you want it GONE.


But no matter what you do, for the rest of the day, or maybe even the rest of the week, you just can’t seem to shake that stubborn emotion.


It coats your insides like some sort of super-slime, refusing to be washed away.

You try distracting yourself with happier thoughts, you try meditation, you try retail therapy.

And yet, the residue of that stubborn emotion refuses to budge.

This situation is not good, and not just because you feel cruddy.

In Chinese medicine we recognize that emotions are intricately linked to the overall state of health.


So if you’re feeling bad emotionally, it means your body isn’t doing great either.

If you are experiencing angry outbursts and frequent frustration, for example, there’s a good chance you’ve got other signs of Liver Qi Stagnation like painful menstrual cycles, digestive upset, and headaches.

Or if it’s unresolved grief that you’ve got lingering inside of you, there’s a good chance that you’ll also experience respiratory or skin issues.


Every emotion is linked to a system within the body, and when emotions get stuck, your body eventually and inevitably gets sick.


So what are you to do?

When you’re dealing with a bad feeling that just won’t go away, it usually gets worse when you try to ignore it.

Instead of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing loudly (“LA LA LA LA LA! I can’t hear youuuuu!”) you’ve got to look directly at that emotion and invite it in.

Yup, you read that right.


The only way to get rid of a stubborn emotion is to fully experience it.


If you look at the words ‘feeling,’ ‘emotion’ and ‘expression’ you can see that people long ago understood this concept, but it has been forgotten in our overly comfort-seeking culture.

‘Feelings’ are called feelings because we feel them, physically, in our bodies. They are not housed in your head, they are intricately linked with what is happening right inside your body.

‘Emotion’ comes from the Latin words ‘ex’ (meaning ‘out’)+ movere (meaning ‘to move’).

Similarly, ‘expression’ comes from the Latin words ‘ex’ (again, meaning ‘out’) + ‘pressere’ (meaning ‘to press’).


Our tendency is to push unpleasant emotions aside.


We choose not to look at them because, well, they’re unpleasant, so why would we, right?

We often judge ourselves for feeling a certain way, linking our self-worth to the emotions we experience.

But if you can separate your self-worth from your emotions, recognize that emotions are just an energetic vibration that you experience in your body, and allow them to flow through you, without judgement, then your emotions are given the opportunity to flow out of you instead of staying stuck.

Your emotions don’t mean that you’re a bad person.

Your emotions are not who you are.

You’re just a person, having an emotional experience.


So the next time an unpleasant emotion comes knocking at your door, invite it in for tea.


Be open and curious to hear what it has to say.

Explore where it’s housed in your body. Investigate if it has a color, texture, smell, or other quality.

Turn inward and ask that emotion directly how it wants to move, and then express it in which ever way it wants to be expressed.

You may find yourself punching a pillow, crying, laughing, jumping up and down, twisting, gagging, drawing, singing…


Emotions aren’t always pretty, but if you let the storm flow through instead of staying suppressed you will notice that the experience of that emotion actually isn’t so bad once it’s allowed to be heard and move.


In fact, it can feel really good to finally get it out.

And when you’re done, you’ll feel a whole lot clearer, lighter, happier, and healthier without the burden of that stubborn emotion clouding your everyday experience.


Now I’d love to hear from you.

What strategies do you use to overcome stubborn emotions?

Leave a comment in the comments section and share your experiences, you might just help someone else get out of a funk!

Until next time,

Love, hugs, and tulips,

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