Hi everyone and welcome to Soul Food Episode number 5.
We are currently talking about stress, with a specific focus on internal stress – the stress we carry on the inside of us. It’s one of the most subtle but dangerous types of stress.
Internal stress comes from a variety of sources. One of those, which we talked about last week, is something called unrealistic expectations.
Another source of internal stress is emotions that we ignore or that can sabotage us if not responded to appropriately.
Emotions are a bit like the weather – they come and they go and each of us has a huge range of emotions on any given day. Many of our emotions are what we could call ‘positive’, but feelings of anger, worry, fear, resentment, discouragement, hatred, guilt, jealousy, and sadness are also part of what is means to be human. Sometimes we can view emotions such as these as ‘negative’ and think that we shouldn’t have them. We then try to ‘fix’ them or eliminate them as quickly as possible and start thinking more ‘happy thoughts’.
I like to see emotions are indicators. They tell us what is going on beneath the surface. If you are driving your car and a red light starts to flash on your dashboard, you don’t get a hammer out and smash it, yelling “Stop bothering me!” No, the red light is your friend – it is letting you know that something needs your attention.
In the same way, we don’t want to allow emotions to dominate our life stories and what we hope and dream for, but we also don’t want to ignore them or suppress them. Pay attention to your emotions. Feel them fully. Consider what your emotions are trying to tell you. If we ignore our emotions or push them down, then they can create ongoing internal stress inside of us.
I was shopping the other day and got a shopping trolley with one wheel that didn’t work. How annoying is that! It was squeaking and was squealing. It’s very draining! One emotion having a negative affect inside of you is just like that. It saps your energy and causes internal stress.
Once we have noticed and acknowledged our feelings, a helpful way to process our emotions is talk to a safe person about what we are feeling. The very act of externalisation helps us to unpack and better understand our emotions. As we hear ourselves talk about our feelings, we often gain insight about what is going on inside of us.
That’s why counselling and coaching can be so helpful in our life’s journey.
So if you are stuck dealing with draining emotions, then have the courage to ask for help.
A funny story – a few years back my wife and I were driving on a gravel road out near the Cardinia Reservoir. As we were driving along we saw some emus. So we decided to stop and take some photos. I stopped our car, began to reverse and pull to the side of the road. Unbeknown to me, there was a huge ditch at the edge of the road and the car started to slide down it. Nicole got out and directed me. We went forward a little – and slid down further. We went back a little – a slid down further. We were stuck?
Who do you call? Not Ghost Busters! The RACV. So, I got on the phone and made the call. About 30 minutes went by during which Nicole and I had some ‘intense fellowship’ about my driving skills. Eventually, a beat-up 4-wheel drive came around the corner and stopped next to us. I proceeded to tell the driver, who had a few teeth missing, that we were waiting for the RACV. He said, “I am the RACV!” Anyway, he got his rope out and before we knew it, we were out of the ditch and on our way.
What’s the point? It was pretty embarrassing for me to call for help. But if I hadn’t, we’d still be stuck there.
So if your emotions are making a lot of noise, are constantly interrupting you, or are wreaking some havoc inside of you, please don’t ignore them. Listen to them. Give them your attention … and, if necessary, have the courage to make a call. Talk to a counsellor or a safe person who can help you process what you are feeling … so you don’t stay stuck.
Let’s recap our main points:
That’s all for today. Once again, I’d love to hear some comments back from you and why not talk about this your emotions with your family and friends today.
This has been Soul Food with Mark Conner. See you next week when we continue talking about dealing with internal stress. See you then!