In the endless, silly, and emotional stories. You wish you could get out of here right now, but you can’t.
Your monkey mind is doing a great job, even though you are wishing otherwise, to trap you in the same stories over and over, and you are so disappointed in yourself and start to hate yourself, your situation, and the whole world.
The voice of your monkey mind is so loud that your ability to function is hardly left. The wise part of your brain is totally shut down, and you end up hurting yourself more by expressing your emotions inappropriately, craving ice cream or drinking shots of tequila.
You know you need to change the self-destructive patterns, but don’t know-how. Or, you might say, “I tried everything: meditation, breathing exercises so on and so forth. None of them worked for me. Why is that?”
There is nothing wrong with meditation or breathing exercises. They are quite efficient and can help you immensely… when you are centered.
Do you know why those traditional ways didn’t calm your toxic emotions before? It takes practice after practice till you actually get them down because they are the ultimate ways to handle emotions.
All you need is to understand what happens to your brain and body when you are in stressful and emotional situations and load yourself up with some extra fun steps before you start to assess the emotions.
Fight or Flight System
Before diving into the introduction of those fun ways, let’s talk a little about our fight or flight system.
Fight or Flight system is our self-protection mechanism in our body. It kicks in when we are in some dangerous situations, stressful situations or, of course, traumatic situations.
Experiencing toxic emotions is not in a ‘live or die’ level of danger, but very stressful, right?
So, once those toxic emotions explode within you, your brain turns on the fight or flight system and starts to send signals to all over the body so you can focus on how you protect yourself from the harm, your own toxic emotions.
The major part of the blood flow goes into arms and legs so you can run and move faster and stronger, the adrenaline kicks in, and all the logical part of your brain is taken over by alertness along with your chatty monkey mind.
At this point, trying to meditate or doing a breathing exercise doesn’t give you much success in calming yourself. You are so fired up that you need to take some extra steps to come back to your normal and logical state.
Here, those fun steps come in very handy.
5 Ways to Take The Edge Off of Your Fight or Flight System
Here is the first step before you try any of the 5 methods below.
The moment the toxic emotion turns the switch of your monkey mind on, write down what the emotion is and where in the body you are feeling it on a piece of paper like “rage at solar plexus” or “fear in my throat” so you can come back to it later.
I know some say you should face it, work with it and release it right away, but when you are deep in the chatty mind’s trap, it is too late to do that.
Also, naming the emotions and figuring out where in the body you are feeling them are the first healthy process to slow down your mind and feel the emotions fully.
Now, let’s get into the fun part.
1. Laugh It Out
Do something that you can enjoy and laugh out loud like watching a funny TV show or YouTube videos for a while.
It’s scientifically proven that laughing not only makes your body relax but helps your brain create more endorphin – ‘feel-good hormone’, boosts your immune system and decreases the heart issues.
Just by reading the scientific facts about laughing, you feel lighter, don’t you? So, make sure to write down about the toxic emotion and laugh!
2. Go Work or Dance it Out
Since the fight or flight system has already made you ready to run or move faster and more efficiently, let’s use that to calm the monkey mind.
Doing aerobic exercises like running, walking, swimming, or dancing till your body gets a little tired and uses up the extra adrenaline helps your system calm down and brings the logical part of your brain back online.
The important trick is to visualize you breathing in love and breathing out the negative thoughts during the workout. That speeds up the process of calming down.
3. Sing it Out
Have you ever felt great by singing out loud to the car radio while you are driving?
Singing out loud helps your brain create endorphin, a ‘feel-good hormone,’ like laughing does, and also oxytocin that alleviates your stress and anxiety.
It also has a similar effect to doing yoga in the upper body because of the diaphragmatic breathing while singing. It uses similar major muscle groups in the upper body for you to hit the right notes.
Plus, it is not only a great way to do the deep breathing exercise but also, by singing your heart out, you can feel the emotions fully without expressing them inappropriately or putting them away deep inside of you.
So, turn on your iPod, CD player or radio, and sing out loud.
4. Play Some Musical Instrument
If you are a musician, you probably already know how effective this method is to calm your mind. Music has tremendously positive effects to our lives.
For example, drumming is great for centering and grounding yourself. Just drumming along with your heartbeat can calm your nervous system easily.
Any metallic sound like a Tibetan gong, guitar, or piano cleanses the toxic energy out of your space. Visualize the sound cleansing you while you are playing.
Also, like singing, if you play those emotions out with the instrument, you get to feel them fully without getting into any of the endless stories.
Remember that you don’t have to play beautifully. Just make some sound and align yourself with the sound while you are hitting a gong, plucking a guitar string or hitting some rhythms on a drum.
5. Draw or Paint Abstract Images, Shapes or Designs with Colors
This is a great way to ‘see’ the emotions objectively. Think what color or shape your emotion is and start putting those colors and shapes on paper.
‘Seeing’ your emotions in colors and shapes on a piece of paper helps you keep you centered while your creativity is being stimulated.
Again, remember that you don’t have to make them pretty. Just trust your creativity, follow your instinct and allow your hand to move freely.
Now, you are calmer and ready to face your toxic emotions. What can you do to make them non-toxic?
How to Make the Toxic Emotions Non-Toxic
The reason we think those negative emotions are toxic is that we store them in our body without dealing with them properly. With the help of our monkey mind, they feel so icky that we just put it away deep, deep inside.
Then, they turn into some solid belief systems or self-destructive patterns like self-doubt, shame, addictions…, you name it. However, by taking the above extra steps, they become less icky and easier to embrace them.
Though it sounds ironic, here is the truth that you don’t want to forget. The part of yourself that is feeling the negative emotions is where you need to LOVE most.
That means that the more you hate and try to eliminate them, the more you hold onto those emotions. So, it’s time to align yourself with the truth and start to love yourself more.
Here is how to assess the emotions and find where you need to love most.
Once you calm down after doing one of the fun methods above, go back to the paper where you wrote down your emotion and the place in the body at which you felt it.
Have some time to sit quietly in a meditative state, embrace yourself feeling the emotion and the spot in the body calmly and go over the questions below like you are asking them to a little kid:
“What triggered your emotion?”
“Why did you react the way you did?”
“Did it bring your old memories?”
“Was it your usual pattern of reaction or someone else’s? If someone else’s, whose pattern did you buy into?”
Once you get all the answers to those questions, embrace the part of you that the answers reflect to and love your wholeness like you have never loved. Feel the toxicity of the emotions melt away and shift into something positive.
Remember. Loving yourself more, even the part that is feeling negative emotions is the most important key.
Now You Are Ready to Face Your Toxic Patterns
Let’s go back to the first scene.
Somebody or something pushed your button. This time, you are loaded up with these fun ways to face the emotions.
You might even feel excited because you get to have some fun, healthy or creative moments.
If you like to move your body, you can jog it out or dance it out.
If you are an artsy person, you can paint it out and might end up with an amazing painting for your wall.
You can feel, observe and dive in those toxic emotions without getting trapped in your old patterns. With these practical and creative ways, you could conquer your monkey mind better and love yourself more from the bottom of your heart.
Over to you –
What are your experiences with your toxic emotions and patterns? If you have your own creative ways to deal with them, please share them with me and the community in the comment below.