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Don't fight it

Have you ever heard your partner say, “I just wish I could figure this out!” Or perhaps, “Why am I so stressed all the time?!” Maybe it’s more like, “I shouldn’t be this irritated.” It’s all different versions of the same thing: I shouldn’t feel this way!

It’s often understandable for someone to say that. I’ve said it. You’ve probably said it before at some point. Our emotions – especially stressful emotions – won’t leave us alone, and we’re just so frustrated with ourselves that we can’t quell that turbulence.

The counterintuitive secret to all this, however, is this: Resist the urge to fight your emotions.

Let me clarify: It is always important that we control our actions, however we may feel. But fighting against our emotions is a fruitless and often damaging exercise.

Think about it. If you’re feeling stressed out, and you’re frustrated with yourself for feeling stressed, does that frustration make you feel any better? Hardly. It only adds to your stress! Now you’re not just stressed about work, you’re stressed because you can’t seem to manage your stress which is STRESSFUL.

Phew! It’s exhausting just writing that sentence.

Instead, don’t fight it. The reality is, you feel stressed. Don’t punish yourself for feeling that way. Accept that’s the way you feel. Observe how your body is responding. Implement any self-care strategies you have to counteract that stressed out response: deep breathing, sleeping longer, hot shower or bath, aromatherapy, talking to a friend, journaling…whatever has worked for you in the past, do that. That’s controlling your actions. That’s where we can focus our energy.

But if we try and just angrily will ourselves to stop feeling a certain way, we are doomed to fail. Emotions just don’t work that way.

So have a little grace with yourself, observe and accept your emotions, and adjust your actions accordingly.