A client states, "I wish I had an instruction guide on how my feelings are supposed to work so I don't lead people on and waste their time. "
I consider myself a bit of an expert on feelings and how to be emotionally intelligent; meaning, how to manage one's own feelings and the feelings of others. Here are some rules that you may find helpful.
1.) All feelings are OK. There is no such thing as a good or bad feeling.
Some feelings are pleasurable, like love, gratitude and praise. These emotions are energy and vibrate on a very high frequency. Other feelings are very uncomfortable, even interpreted as painful, like despair, guilt, shame. These emotions are among the lowest frequencies.
They are all perfectly fine emotions, neither good nor bad, just some are experienced as more comfortable than others.
2.) Humans have a right to feel whatever they feel.
There is no such thing as "supposed to". You just feel what you feel and it is OK. Neither good nor bad, just perhaps comfortable or uncomfortable. You have every right to feel whatever you feel in any given moment just as, the other person has a right to feel whatever they feel in any given moment.
3.) We have the power to choose our feelings, even though it often does not seem this way.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can teach us how.
A very important rule to remember is this:
4.) Only YOU are responsible for your own feelings.
Other people are only responsible for their own feelings. None of us are responsible for other’s feelings. Yes, what we say and do can influence the feelings of others, however, ultimately, they are capable of choosing their feelings. No one person can ever make another person feel a particular way. If this were the case, I would be waving my magic wand and putting everyone in a state of loving bliss. But this is just as impossible as making someone miserable because your feelings are different than theirs/
Sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe and that my heart starts racing, like I want to scream or that I’m going to pass out. I’m tired of feeling like this all the time and don’t know what to do
Answered on December 3, 2020
If you have been to a doctor and ruled out any health or heart problems, then the answer may lie in treating symptoms of anxiety.
You had said that sometimes you feel like you can't breathe, and your heart starts racing. Right? That sounds like a rush of adrenaline. Like how we would feel if we were on a rollercoaster. In which case it would make sense to want to scream and release some of the energy. However, it must be very frightening to suddenly feel this way when you are just trying to live a regular life. Some people struggle with this dilemma and have found that doing jumping jacks to release energy can be very helpful to make the symptoms pass. Putting ice on your face and neck can be very helpful to halt the symptom. The feeling of wanting to pass out most likely comes from shallow breathing that accompanies the feeling of being upset or scared. The best defense for this, is to tell yourself, it is only a feeling and will change. Then start taking in a deep long breath to the count of four. Hold that breath and count to four, then exhale to the same count of four and finally pause for four count before inhaling again., repeat until the symptom subsides. The body is incapable of being upset and breathing deeply at the same time. This is called square breathing. If you find it difficult to breath to a count of four, just start by consciously slowing your breath the best you can. But counting helps distract your mind so try to see if you can keep track of your breath with a count.
Your answer as to why this happens may lie in observing the thoughts that you think just before the symptom occurs.
Everything starts with a thought. This platform would not exist if someone had not thought of it first. Our thoughts affect our feelings. As a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, I would ask you what was going on right before you felt this way? What automatic thoughts do you have? Do you take things too personally, for example? Or perhaps some "Should” and "Must" thoughts lead to feeling trapped. Do you worry about what others think of you, or perhaps jump to conclusions and predict a catastrophic future that is extremely worrisome? These are examples of some common ways that many if not all of us think from time to time.
These thoughts can be habitual and automatic, and we may not even realize how we are talking ourselves into feeling guilty, scared, angry, or desperate. Once you have identified the thought, ask if there is any evidence to support the statements that you say to yourself? Next, ask, "Is there any evidence to the contrary? " Finally, by combining the evidence on both sides, create a more realistic statement. I like to use these statements like mantras. Whenever the uncomfortable feeling arises or I notice the automatic thought, I simply replace it with the mantra. I repeat it over and over until the thought and feeling subsides. This creates new neural pathways and literally changes the way I think, therefore, changing the way I feel.
I hope you found this helpful. Thank you for your question.
Allison Grace MSW,LCSW
3636 S. Geyer Rd. Ste 100 St. Louis MO 63127