Tips to Boost Emotional Metabolism
Have you ever felt emotionally blocked or constipated? Or like so much has happened in life you just can’t process it all?
According to Ayurveda we are actually ingesting all the experiences of our life, and just like ingesting food we also need to digest. This ability to digest the experiences of our life I’m going to call our “emotional metabolism.”
In my last blog we learned how to stoke digestive metabolism. In this blog we’ll take the same Ayurvedic principles and apply them to emotional digestion — our capacity to process and integrate all that we experience.
Digestion is a Fire
As mentioned in the last blog, Ayurveda looks at metabolism as a fire called Agni — and that fire can be dampened when too much is put on it.
With regards to life experiences and emotions, when we keep adding more to the fire without giving it time to burn through what’s there we smoother it out, and we’re left feeling overwhelmed and unable to deal with all that life is throwing at us.
Unprocessed Emotions Become Toxic
The Ayurvedic system recognises a simple and basic truth — what ever we don’t digest becomes toxic.
If the experiences and/or traumas of our life remain unprocessed they eventually become toxic and can have seriously negative impacts on our life.
That’s why when I lead yoga detox programs I always emphasis not only detoxing of food, but also of experiences , environment, thoughts, emotions and our whole life (next Yoga Detox for New Year starts Jan 31).
Both the Yogic and Buddhist philosophies refer to these unprocessed experiences or beliefs as ‘samskaras’ and suggest that the path to liberation is one of systematically releasing and processing our samskaras.
Sometimes life puts more on our plate than we asked for, and other times we ourselves keep putting more and more on our plate. Either way, we can do some things to help stoke the emotional digestive fire and make processing everything a little easier.
Below you’ll find some of my favourite tried and tested ways to improve emotional digestion.
Tips to Stoke the Emotional Digestive Fire
- Give Yourself Time & Space, Do Less
Digestion takes time, if we keep taking in more before processing the last thing we are guaranteed to feel overloaded and overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling this start taking stuff off your to do list and schedule, prioritise making time simply to be, even if that is just 10 minutes a day to sit, be still, day dream or nap.
I know for myself I sometimes do the opposite as a way to avoid all the emotions bubbling below the surface, but I also know that each time I’ve tried to push them down by distracting myself with being busy it all ended up exploding in my face. Creating more space in life will naturally lead to processing and release in a more gentle way.
- Free Write Journalling
Free writing is a fantastic way to process thoughts, emotions and internal debates that can block our system. It doesn’t have to sound pretty and poetic, in fact, don’t worry at all about how it sounds, just start to write in a stream of conscious way. Keep writing for at least 10 minutes about what ever is getting to you and don’t stop even if you’re repeating things and creating the biggest run on sentence of your life! It should be a cathartic, processing tool, not something you need to present to someone. In fact, plan to burn it after if that helps you write more freely and let it all out.
Meditation is one of the most traditional tools for releasing our samskaras, tested over thousands of years through countless traditions. There are many meditation techniques, but at the core of them all is the idea of closing our eyes and being in silence with ourself for a period of time. And yes, being in silence with ourself often means the internal dialogue suddenly gets even louder and we see the manic craziness of our mind. But it is in seeing ourself that we tap into a consciousness greater than the mind, the Observer. And it is this observer mind that can allow feelings and sensations to come and go without reacting. The observer reminds us that “this too will pass” and allows us to feel the steady and spacious ground of being below all things…even the most messed up and painful parts of our life.
- Sleep More
Sleeping is a time when we process the experiences of the day and so much more through our subconscious dream state. If we’re sleep deprived it also means we’re not getting our daily dose of subconscious digestion time. And if we are in the midst of heavy emotional life experiences we need to prioritise sleep more than ever.
If you’re struggling to sleep due to the emotional overload I recommend listening to yoga nidra recordings, proven to take us into Theta brain waves, similar to that of sleeping, and access subconscious processing and release.
- EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique
Commonly know as tapping, EFT is a technique I’ve absolutely fallen in love with over the past few years and has helped me process deeply held emotional traumas as well as given me a tool to deal with short term emotional upsets. I recommend working with a practitioner if you’re experiencing intense or long term emotional blocks. But I also really recommend learning this as a tool to use for yourself to release the smaller stuff on a regular basis — remembering that it is the holding onto things and not digesting them that makes them toxic. Learn more about EFT here and how I work with you as a certified practitioner.
- Embody Your Feelings
Emotions are often used synonymously with the word “feelings.” That is because emotions are felt in our body in a tangible way. We say things like “heart break,” “butterflies in the belly,” “thats so heavy” and so much more because we’re describing the visceral experience of emotions.
So often we try to process our experiences in a purely cerebral way, but the world of emotions is much more fluid, elusive and less logical. Identifying the physical reactions to our emotional state and then working with shifting the physical state can be a tremendously powerful way to process.
That is so often why people feel better after a yoga class, run, walk, workout or dance…or even why suddenly you might feel emotional after holding a deep hip opening stretch for a while. Let yourself move the feeling state through your body, we don’t always have to analyse or understand cognitively to heal ourselves.
I’d love to hear from all of you some of your favourite tools to support emotional digestions, please share with the community below!
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of body, mind and soul
this New Year.
New Year Yoga Detox
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