Difficult Emotions

Feel It


Anger. It’s not an emotion I experience very often. (Anxiety is more a friend of mine.) But on a recent trip to Sydney and free tickets to Wet n Wild, we bundled the kids into the car with our beach towels and headed off on the 60-minute drive out west. Only to arrive Griswalds-style at locked gates and an empty carpark.

Cue the blame: I thought you checked the opening hours?! Yeah, well I thought YOU checked the opening DAYS!

What is this unfamiliar feeling? Oh, hello anger. Here’s what I’m going to do with you.

Read or listen, the choice is yours. xx

It’s normal to want to push away or bury a difficult emotion. Anger, sadness, grief, fear and anxiety. Who wants those in their life?

But when we push away negative feelings, what we’re actually experiencing, isn’t just the emotion itself – but also, the resistance to that emotion. Clenched muscles. Tight chest. Clammy palms. Short breath. All physical responses of trying to run away from ourselves.

What if we could pause and mindfully notice each stage of the emotion we’re trying to run from? Really feel the emotion?

We might find that the icky moments of dread don’t actually last as long as the resistance of not trying to feel it in the first place. That the clenched jaw and tight chest are a product of the aversion.

We can truly feel it, realise it’s not as bad as we thought, and move on – OR – we can feel it and honour it, knowing that to feel it is to get through it.

What’s great about truly feeling our emotions is that we can do the same for the positive ones. We can allow ourselves the joy of sitting with a pleasant experience – laughter, excitement, contentment, achievement – rather than cutting it short with distractions or letting our inner critic convince us we’re not deserving.


For this meditation let’s practice tuning into our emotions by applying the simple phrase “feel it” to each emotion that arises.

Angry at your partner – feel it.

A busy mind – feel it.

Worry about finances or work – feel it.

Doubting our abilities – feel it.

Grieving a lost loved one – feel it.

Suffering with pain and illness – feel it.

Feel what the physical sensation of the emotion is like – where it presents itself. In your heart. In your belly. Jaw and temples.

Notice the difference the emotion feels like when you allow it to be there.

Relax your belly. Relax your jaw. Relax your shoulders.

Strip away the outer packaging of resistance and truly feel the emotion for itself.

And when you’re done inviting the negative emotions to hang around for a while, don’t forget to be a good host to pleasant ones as well.

Relaxed and happy – feel it.

Excitement about a holiday – feel it.

Grateful for life – feel it.

Empathy for a loved one’s struggle – feel it.

Calm and content – feel it.

Feel the joys and sorrows of all experience. The joys and sorrows of of this one beautiful life.

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