What an Instagram Filter Has To Do with Feelings

What an Instagram Filter Has To Do with Feelings

Hi, my name is Emily and I am a self-help junkie.  

There, I finally said it.  

Do you know for years I was afraid to even admit that I liked learning about myself.  In fact, I used to sneak into Barnes & Nobles and hide the self-help books inside other books because I didn’t want anyone to see that I was reading about why I was the way I was (I talk about all of this in this week’s Facebook LIVE here).  

I was so concerned with appearing cool and effortless that I didn’t want anyone to see that I actually cared.  And wanted to learn more.  And wanted to be better.

Luckily as I got older I learned not to give a sh*t.  

Now I’m just as obsessed with self-development as I was back then but I’m not afraid to show it.  

So now that the cat’s out of the bag, let’s talk about it!  

This week I want to talk about emotions specifically and why if you hold them in they’ll come back with a vengeance.  

I know this because I’ve experienced it.  

And also because I’m reading Dr. Melanie Greenberg’s book The Stress-Proof Brain.  It’s fascinating.  And if you’re a self-help/self-development junkie like me, I think you’ll totally agree.  

She talks all about how emotions had evolutionary reasons for existing :

  • Fear : to alert us to threat (like on our lives)

  • Anger : to protect ourselves and keep us from harm allowing us to set strong boundaries between ourselves and an attacker

  • Sadness : to allow us to conserve energy so we could grieve

What’s interesting is that we still have a lot of these same feelings (all of them actually) except we don’t necessarily NEED to feel them to the degree we would if a lion was chasing us down a path .. but we oftentimes still do.  In fact emotions play a HUGE role in our day to day lives and we’d be silly if we said that they didn’t.  

Unfortunately people are more apt to push emotions down or away instead of working through them.  

Pushing your feelings down or pretending like you’re not having them might seem like a good idea at the time but in reality the emotion ends up coming back again, either in an unexpected (and untimely) manner or in a much bigger way than the first time (like a snowball turning into an avalanche).  

What’s even more fascinating is that if the emotion gets suppressed too much, it also affects the way we do other things in our life.  

Dr. Greenberg mentions this in a study that was done where two groups of people were asked to talk about a negative life event.  Group A was asked to not think or acknowledge any negative emotions that came up for them as they were doing this.  Group B was allowed to express or acknowledge any and all negative emotions that came up.  Both groups were then asked to remember a nine digit number while talking.  

Wanna know what the result was?

Group A (the ones who weren’t allowed to acknowledge their emotions) struggggled .. and reported an increase in perceived negative emotions, more so than Group B (the ones who were allowed to let it all hang out).  

Fascinating right?

But then the question comes, OK so if that’s true, then what can you do to actually work through the emotion so that it doesn’t snowball, come back at a bad time, or affect the rest of your daily life?

So glad you asked!  Here are two simple ways :

  1. MINDFULNESS: become aware of your surroundings.  That’s really it.  Instead of allowing the situation to dominate your thoughts, allow your thoughts to dominate the situation.  

    When you feel yourself getting tense, become really aware of your breath.  Become really aware of whatever sounds are happening outside your window.  Walk slower.  Take bigger breaths.  Become aware of your feet resting on the floor or you fingers moving across the keyboard.  

    When you give yourself the chance to disconnect from the situation for a moment and connect back to yourself, you interrupt the avalanche making patterns which gives space and attention to something else.  The more you can do this the easier it will be to RESPOND instead of REACT.

  2. UNDERSTAND FILTERS: know and realize that every single person is experiencing life based on their own beliefs, interpretations, values, and experiences.  By recognizing this, allow yourself the room to know that when a person responds to you or you find yourself having an interaction with someone who may be acting or speaking in a disrespectful manner, it actually has nothing to do with YOU and everything to do with THEIR FILTERS.  

    In this week’s Facebook LIVE I talk all about how my sister and I regularly compare “notes” from our childhood because while we often have similar memories of actual events, we almost always have very different memories of the experience of those events.  

    This is true for everyone else on the planet.  Realize and pay attention to the fact that every single person (even those who you grew up with or you feel like have so much in common with you) has their very own unique Instagram-like filter through which they’re viewing life.  When you can recognize this, it gives you the ability to take yourself out of the equation and respond in a more peaceful manner decreasing the overall stress and level of negative emotion.  

    Wanna hear more?  Listen to this week's LIVE right here!

    Questions?  Comments?  Concerns?  Shoot me a line: emily@emilysocha.com

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