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Feeling Your Feelings

by Jodi Cohen

My daughter left home to work as a camp counselor yesterday.  She will be gone for the majority of the summer, then leave for college in August.

For the first time in my life, I will be living alone.

That means no one to cook for.  No one to clean up after. Do laundry for.  Shop for.  Lend my emotional support to.

I have structured the last two decades of my life around supporting others – first my husband, then my children.

And I have grown so accustomed to putting my own desires last on the “to do” list that I fear I have forgotten what I even need or want for myself.

Add to that the fact that busy is my super power.

Busy allows me to think and do instead of pause and feel and heal.

My daughter’s departure not only leaves a hole in my heart, but space to actually feel.

To feel all the sadness at the loss of my child.  The anger at my ex-husband.  The disappointment that life did not unfold as I had hoped or planned and the fear of the unknown – what will my life look like without children living at home.

It’s really hard to let yourself feel your feelings.  It is far easier to stay busy and distracted in your head, instead of in your body and your heart.

 

The Struggle to Feel Your Feelings

“Life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel.”

As I have shared in a recent post, I default to workaholic tendencies to numb myself and avoid feeling pain and intense feelings. Dissociation is one way the mind copes with too much stress — it allows you to disconnect from your thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Avoidance strategies – like over-working, over-eating, or addictions like drugs, alcohol, gambling or sex – are all a form of disassociation that allow you to avoid feeling your feelings.

But avoiding your feelings does not make them go away. 

On the contrary, not processing or releasing your emotions, just compounds the intensity, creating a bigger problem to unravel in the future, much like any delayed maintenance issue.

 

Overcoming Avoidance Coping

Avoidance coping is defined as any kind of strategy that helps you manage stressful circumstances by disengaging from the situation and driving attention away from it rather than addressing the problem directly.

While it was an effective strategy that allowed me to continue to function, restraining my emotions was not sustainable long term and was starting to catch up with me.

It has become abundantly clear as I face another wave of grief with my daughter departing for college that I finally need to address these difficult emotions without avoidance.

Uncovering and understanding your own compensatory or avoidance strategies is a good first step toward being able to access your underlying emotions.

Once you identify your avoidance strategies, you actually need to find a way to feel your feelings and that is the hard part.

Because your feelings may be intense and you may fear – like I often do – that if you open yourself up to feel, you might open the floodgates and never be able to close them.

If you keep bottling up your emotions and pushing your feelings down instead of letting them rise to the surface, I often fear that they might feel explosive when they emerge.

This is where essential oils can play a powerful and incredibly helpful role.

 

How Essential Oils Help You Feel Your Feelings

Once you gain a clear understanding of what drives your avoidance behaviors, it is easier to unravel the underlying emotions you are trying to avoid, so that you might better address and process through them.

Essential oils can be used to calm your emotional response.  As you may recall, the inhalation of essential oils stimulates the olfactory system in our brain, which signals the limbic system of the brain, where emotions and memories are stored, retrieved, processed and released.

Essential oils act as catalysts for change at a deep emotional level, helping to lift mood and boost clarity and focus.  Every plant has a different healing quality which help balance emotions, release unwanted patterns, and attract what is right for you.

Oils can be used to help you gently release uncomfortable emotions and feelings, especially the Heart™ blend.

Heart™ allows you to sit with uncomfortable feelings. You’ve probably gotten so used to using avoidance coping for these issues that it’s hard to tolerate feeling uncomfortable.

Your heart integrates and balances your physical, emotional, and mental bodies, providing blood to every cell and every organ.  It also serves as a complex information processing center, influencing brain function, the nervous system, hormonal system and most of the body’s major organs.  When any part of your body isn’t functioning at an optimal level, your heart has to work harder.  For example, when your body is in a state of stress, it needs more oxygen which increases your heart rate.  Your heart is our body’s reset button, but a state of constant stress can fatigue the heart and compromise our ability to reset, leading to inflammation, infections, toxicity and heart disease.

By returning your heart to balance, you support the cardiovascular and circulatory system; regenerate the structure of your heart and help reset the homeostatic mechanism for your entire body.

Heart™ is formulated with powerful calming oils, including Jasmine, an oil found to be as calming as the anti-anxiety drug valium, according to a 2010 study.  Jasmine also has a mildly sedative and calming effect allowing it to alleviate anxious thoughts, relieve stress and ease depression.  Jasmine oil actually stimulates the brain, helping to uplift the mood, and promoting feelings of self-confidence and optimism.

Apply Heart™ over your heart (left side of chest) to balance the heart and support, integrate and reset all the systems of the body, including mental clarity, physical health and emotional balance. Heart™ blend also supports feelings of open-heartedness, expansiveness, receptivity while mitigating loneliness, sadness and grief.

 

Featured Oil:

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References:

 

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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