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Crying is Healing: Feeling the Feels

Increasing Capacity to Feel more Feelings

- Name your feelings: ' I am feeling sad', 'It is okay that I feel this way right now' and 'I am safe'. Kristen Neff* says "Name it and you'll tame it", when we name our emotions we create space between it and ourselves to enable us to see it for what it is. Research has also found that when an emotion is labelled there is less activation in the Amygdala (part of the brain that registers danger) and therefore less likely to trigger a stress reaction in the body.

- Ground yourself when feeling big emotions coming: Breathing gently in and out whilst relaxing the shoulders, unclench the jaw, if standing feeling your feet firmly on the ground. Keep your eyes open or soften your gaze. You can do this for 6 cycles of breaths (or as many cycles as you need).

- Normalising Crying: Normalising crying as a basic human behaviour, it has no moral value. It is just what humans do, like eating and sleeping. This may take some time especially if there has been punitive narratives about crying

- Get Curious: Do some journalling and get curious about what's happening for you. Here are some prompts: 'if I were to cry, what would my tears say?', 'what are my tears telling me about this issue' or 'If a friend was in this position, what would I say'.

- Be Gentle: Above all, be gentle and patient. This is already challenging as it is, no need to make it harder by being harsh on yourself. You're a human being, learning and unlearning, take it slow as if you're learning a new skill or language.

*Kristin Neff is one of the leaders in the field of Mindful Self Compassion. Link here for more information on Mindful Self Compassion


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