Your feelings are part of an ingenius and powerful communication system designed to get your attention.
You never want to be trapped, controlled, or incapacitated by your feelings. You do, however, want to recognize what is happening with your feelings, so you can assess what is taking place in your life and choose how you wish to respond. This allows you to leverage your feelings and be empowered by them.
As you strive to become more attuned to your feelings, here are 7 feelings you should never ignore.
1. You feel drained.
Are you suddenly feeling tired, drained, or exhausted? If the answer is yes, it's worth taking some time to determine why you're feeling this way. Aside from factors like diet, sleep, physical activity, and physical health, situations in life and relationships can also impact our energy level. Specifically, unhealthy situations and relationships can leave us feeling physically and emotionally drained, sometimes in a very dramatic way. Take note of your energy fluctuations and make an effort to pinpoint whatever (or whomever) is depleting your energy.
2. You feel burdened or a sense of heaviness.
Sometimes what we're feeling isn't so much a lack of energy, but a sense of heaviness or being burdened. We feel as if there's a weight bearing down on us that we just can't lift or shake off. This feeling can arise from current circumstances in our lives, but it can also come about from something we're carrying around from the past. If you find yourself feeling this way, try to narrow down where this feeling is coming from and what you can do to address it.
3. You feel more tense or stressed than usual.
Stress is part of life, and it isn't necessarily harmful if you know how to manage it and keep it in check. But are you feeling more stressed than usual? Are you experiencing more tension throughout your body than what you're accustomed to? Sometimes we don't realize that something is amiss in our lives, until our body alerts us to it, through feelings of heightened tension and stress. Take heed of what your body is alerting you to, and identify what it is that has you feeling more tense and stressed than usual.
4. You feel conflicted.
Nothing is worse than feeling as if you're of two minds, being pulled in two different directions. When you find yourself feeling this way, don't get trapped in a loop going back and forth. Avoid "either/or" thinking; instead, aim to be creative in finding a satisfactory solution to your dilemma. If you're willing to be open and flexible, new ideas are likely to emerge. Talking things out, brainstorming, and journaling are useful tools that can help you view things from a fresh perspective.
5. You feel pressured or coerced.
Are you making a decision or going along with something because you truly want to, or is something else going on beneath the surface? Sometimes we think we're pushing ourselves, when in fact we're being pushed by someone else without realizing it. Likewise, someone else's "encouragement" that we pursue a certain course of action may leave us feeling as if we don't have any other choice.
Even when there are consequences or repercussions for your choices, it's still up to you to make those choices. If that right to choose is being taken away from you and you feel pressured or coerced in any way, something is wrong. Be honest with yourself about what is happening, and then take appropriate action to deal with the situation, which may involve seeking outside help or input.
6. You feel unhappy, joyless, miserable, or depressed.
For many of us, our initial impulse is to run from unpleasant feelings; we ignore them or try to cover them up. Instead, stand back and examine these feelings less with judgment, and more with curiosity. Why are you feeling this way? Have these feelings emerged suddenly, or have they been growing over time? What's been going on in your life recently as these feelings have been developing? If we're willing to ask questions and be honest with ourselves, we can often track down where these feelings are coming from, and where we need to start making changes in our lives to turn things around.
7. You feel a sense of fear, dread, or foreboding.
Far too often, we continue marching forward even though we feel a clear sense of fear, dread, and foreboding. We are blessed with these feelings for a reason; they alert us that something going on around us isn't right. Once you stop and assess the situation, you can determine whether your fear is warranted, whether you need to work on overcoming it, whether you need to reframe things, whether you need to back away from a situation and get help, etc. The key, however, is that you need to acknowledge what you're feeling and stop long enough to assess what's going on.
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