What’s your least favorite emotion?
Mine is anger.
Don’t get me wrong – anger can actually feel good at times. But other times?
Not so much.
My least favorite time to experience anger is in the presence of an authority figure. Especially if my anger is directed at the authority figure. In those cases, I tend to dissolve into a puddle of tears.
I’m not sure how my anger manages to morph into small pieces of water pouring out of my eyes, but anger is a tricky emotion. It has its own way of doing things.
Which brings me to this really cool technique I learned.
Here’s how it works:
Let’s say you’re experiencing a difficult emotion. Take a moment to get quiet and locate the place in your body that you feel this emotion. Then take a deep breath and allow yourself to make a sound that embodies this emotion.
That’s all there is to it.
It’s a really simple – and really effective – way to move emotions through your system without damaging yourself or others.
In fact, the only possible harm that can come from this technique is to your pride. Especially if you attempt this exercise in front of anyone else.
For that reason, it’s best to start out this technique alone: In the car. In the shower. In the bathroom. Wherever you can take a few seconds to make some funny noises and clear yourself of difficult emotions.
To make it even more effective, I like to add movement to the sound. This allows me to embody the emotional release more fully.
Plus it makes me look really silly, which is part of the fun.
I had a recent experience with this technique that reminded me of its power.
I took a week off at the end of the year to tackle a list of chores I’d been putting off for ages. For some reason, whenever I have a list of items to accomplish, I tend to get a little crazed.
As I’m moving through the list, I slip into something I call the Shangri-La Syndrome.
The Shangri-La Syndrome goes like this. As I’m accomplishing the tasks on my list, my mind starts to chatter. And not just any chatter. Oh no. The chatter sounds like this:
When you finish everything on this list, you will feel great! Your entire life will be in order! But only if you finish everything on the list!
As you can see, it’s a cruel and vicious game.
The Shangri-La Syndrome prompts me to work harder and faster to finish everything on the list. It tells me that if I do so, I’ll have an awesome payoff when I’m done.
Only the payoff never comes, because I’m so crazed to finish everything, I push myself too hard and make myself miserable. Even if I finish the list, there’s no relief. Shangri-La is nowhere in sight.
My recent bout of the Shangri-La Syndrome was no exception.
After a few days of subjecting myself to its terrors, I’d had enough.
I was miserable. I was frustrated and angry. Why was I pushing myself so hard? Why wasn’t I feeling more satisfaction with all the projects I was getting done?
It was at this point I heard a little voice in my head. A quiet counterpoint to the voice that was telling me to work harderfasterbetter. This voice said: Try the Hathor technique. It will help.
So I did. Right there in the middle of our kitchen. I flailed my arms around and made a noise like a manic cat with a hairball.
It wasn’t pretty. But did I feel better when I was finished?
You bet I did.
Way better. Shockingly so.
After a few minutes went by, I did it again and felt even better.
In fact, the technique worked so well, I was inspired to tell Melissa about it and we’re incorporating it into our nightly routine.
We each take a few seconds to do an emotional release before sharing our list of things we’re grateful for.
Yes, it looks silly. Yes, we make noises that sound like they’re coming from mentally-disturbed animals. But we feel better when we’re finished.
Not only that, it only takes a few seconds. Which, for my money, is a really short amount of time to release those pesky emotions that can fester inside us, causing trouble.
Which is not to say the Hathor technique only works on difficult emotions. It can be a great way to express the so-called “positive” feelings as well: joy, excitement, surprise, elation.
Whatever you’re feeling, this technique is a bizarre and amazing way to express your emotions.
And once you’ve mastered the art of venting alone in the privacy of your own home, you can try this process out in public, but in a quieter and more subdued fashion.
Unless you like a lot of attention, in which case: Show the world just how freaky you can be!
What’s your least favorite emotion? What’s the most effective way for you to express it?