The Trick to “Meh” Emotions? Feel Bad to Feel Better

I’m going to keep it real with you: this morning was rough.

I woke up early, after only getting a few hours of sleep.

I felt exhausted, cranky, and burnt out.

My head was pounding, my throat ached, and I felt on edge. Like, I want to punch a wall on edge.

My mind swirled with thoughts like “Why is this happening?” and “What is wrong with me?”

I started judging and making myself wrong for the way I was feeling, which only spiraled into more frustration.

Maybe you’ve experienced a situation like this before, too?

Somewhere in between my tornado of self-judgment and glass of lemon water, the words of a mentor came to mind:

Feel and Release.

I noticed myself trying to push my feelings away, and in that observation, started to allow and embrace them.

I breathed, repeating “feel and release” with each inhalation and exhalation.

As my mind calmed down, “I am on edge” transformed to “I am experiencing edginess in this moment.”

I stopped trying to fix and make my emotions wrong, and began trusting that they would pass.

They did.

A few hours and a nap later, I’m feeling giggly and centered again.

From past experiences though, I know this pattern could have persisted all day had I not allowed myself to feel the discomfort.

Today I’m reminded that the path to feeling better is allowing ourselves to feel bad.

Rather than waging war with our feelings, freedom comes from facing all emotions with what my friend Shauna calls “kind attention.”

The cycle of beating ourselves up for how we should or shouldn’t feel only traps us. We fall into a pattern of shame and blame, and we stay stuck.

Instead, when we allow our feelings to be felt, they lose power over us. They pass. We move through them. Just like a weather pattern.

Discomfort is a natural part of life and growth.

So wherever you are right now, embrace it.

Allow it.

Feel it.

Practice noticing your emotions with kind attention, and treating yourself like you would someone you love.


If you’re filled with angst, that’s wonder-full.

If you’re filled with joy, that’s wonder-full.

If you’re filled with sadness, that’s wonder-full.

If you’re filled with confusion, that’s wonder-full, too.

Feel and release. Feel and release.

And, remember: The way out is through.



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