Emotional regulation, self-soothing, safety
Yesterday I came very close to having a near-perfect day.
I went on an early morning walk of nearly 6000 steps. I had a couple of deep work sessions in the morning followed by a peaceful afternoon nap. I was feeling great by the end of the evening.
It was also partly due to Navratri fasting where I am having only one meal in a day for 9 days.
So, I had expected to feel lighter. But I was not prepared for what came next.
When it came time to sleep, within 15 minutes of hitting the bed, I was hit by a barrage of negative thoughts. The thoughts of overwhelm, grief, and fear engulfed my entire being. I felt tears streaming down my face, my throat choked, and I was sobbing in no time.
My usual response in these situations is to pick up my phone or open my laptop to distract myself. I almost reached out to my phone but then I stopped.
I got up but remained seated on my bed. I decided to let everything in – thoughts, feelings, memories, negative visions for the future, overwhelm, and grief for my younger self. I took a few deep breaths. I tried to feel them as if they were happening in my body. I sobbed some more. My hands automatically got into a self-hug position as if I were soothing myself. I rubbed the back of my hands while being in that position for a few minutes.
It was as if after walking in stormy weather and torrential rains, I had found an umbrella to protect myself. The rain was still there but I was no longer getting drenched. I was safe.
I realized two things.
First, when you start making positive changes and cutting down on things to make space for a new future, you create space for the older, negative energies too.
They rush towards that space immediately after being suppressed for years. As long as you let them take that space by being in the moment and finding ways to soothe yourself while you are in that phase, you can begin to release them eventually. It is part of the process where you learn not to suppress them anymore.
Second, I saw what it is like to self-soothe oneself and be there in the moment without seeking an escape. I learned a different way to regulate my emotions and arrive at a place of emotional safety when I feel threatened by thoughts of a fearful future.
Of course, it is not like everything is sorted immediately.
I was able to sleep for a few hours after that experience. It was not a good sleep. I woke up feeling drained. I decided to take an off from work today and almost stayed in bed the whole day. In the evening, I finally pulled myself together for a home workout session followed by meditation.
Now, I am writing this edition and reflecting on what happened in the last 24 hours.
I feel it might not have been a perfect day but it was an important one. 🙂
That’s all from me this week folks,
Until next time,