What is emotional freedom? Really?
Anyone you ask will give you their own definition; and, eventually, you’ll need to find your own way to define what emotional freedom means for you. What I have to offer you here is my way of thinking about it.
For me, emotional freedom is the ability to CHOOSE how I will (and will not) feel about anything and anyone.
All choice starts and ends in the mind. The body is within the mind and is always responding to the mind.
Our inner environment (especially thoughts and feelings) affects how we perceive and respond to our outer environment. Our outer environment affects how we feel and what we think, to varying degrees.
Choosing to monitor and purposely create preferable inner and outer environments is at the core of all conscious evolution and blissful contentment.
If you’ve ever felt emotionally highjacked by overwhelming feelings that were not enjoyable (and perhaps even unbearable), you know exactly what I’m talking about. It sucks to feel terrible or terrified or angry! It sucks the life energy right out of us and leaves us feeling powerless.
The good news, as hard as it may be to believe, is that we do actually have a choice in the matter. We may not be able to change an overwhelming feeling in the moment; but we can certainly change the amount of power that feeling has over us.
We can make choices that are well-balanced (and the best choices available to us at the time) IF we choose from a place of reasonableness and calm.
Nothing good ever comes from purely emotional choices.
Here are a few techniques you can practice to start increasing your level of emotional freedom. If you find yourself being overwhelmed by a strong feeling (and, sometimes, that includes too high highs), try:
TAKE A DEEP BREATH IN AND EXHALE VERY SLOWLY. Doing so will activate calming messages from your cerebral cortex to the rest of your nervous system. Purposely slowing down your exhales is much like “a sigh of relief” and, notice, your body always relaxes slightly with a sigh of relief.
CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE IMMEDIATELY. Even if you’re not willing to accept any different points of view that come up (new ideas, the compassionate view, the objective view), the act of looking at anything differently engages analytical reasoning. Emotion devoid of reasoning always leads to bad places. Engage your critical mind and the energetic force of overpowering emotion will dissipate.
SIT WITH THE FEELING FOR 5 MINUTES. Feelings are messages. There is a level of consciousness that resides in the physical body. When a feeling becomes overwhelming, it’s your body basically screaming out the message (something you’ve probably been ignoring or just couldn’t “hear” before). Take all of your focused attention and place it into the space of your body where the feeling is most noticeable. “Sit” your attention down in that space and just feel what needs to be felt for 3-5 minutes. Then, put your hand on your heart and say out loud “I know.”
GET GROUNDED IN THE PRESENT MOMENT. Use your senses (taste, touch, sound, sight) to pull as much of your attention as possible into your outer environment. Look for what’s solid, stable, and relatively good in your immediate outer environment and center your attention on it. Feel the ground under your feet. Push a wall. Open the window and smell the fresh air. Take the focus of your attention into what is stable right at that moment in your outer environment. The energy inside you will redirect with your focus.
These are just a few simple techniques to help get you started. Emotional freedom doesn’t happen over night (not for anyone). And it’s an ongoing process to maintain emotional freedom because there is always something or someone to influence how you feel.
It’s worth the effort though. When you have more emotional freedom: (1) You are not emotionally dependent on anything or anyone for happiness, a sense of safety, or a feeling of overall well-being; (2) You feel more self-secure because you’re in charge of managing your feelings; (3) You feel more confident just being yourself because what is outside of you can no longer emotionally dominate you (at least, not for long).
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