Riding the Wave of Emotions…

This week I’d like to share with you a very interesting excerpt from a book I recently completed.

Every day we are confronted with negative emotions that we may or may not want to deal with. A lot of our memories are associated with how we encountered these emotions as children – was the experience a pleasant one, or one that left us traumatized for life.

A recent study discovered that no matter how complicated or complex, it is always better to recognize our emotions, rather than evade them. Becoming aware of our emotions helps set us free from looking for ways to hide behind unhealthy addictions or behaviors, substances, technology, or self-harm. Instead it opens up the possibility of living a full, rich, and fulfilling life.

In her book, 90 seconds to a life you Love, Dr. Joan Rosenberg offers a tool that allows us to experience unpleasant emotions in the safest of ways. She mentions a simple formula referred to as the “Rosenberg Reset” – one choice, eight feelings, 90 seconds.”

“If you can make the one choice to stay aware of and in touch with as much of your moment-to-moment experience as possible, and you are willing to experience and move through one or more 90-second waves of one or more of eight unpleasant feelings, then you can pursue whatever you want in life.” – Dr. Joan Rosenberg.

Sounds confusing? Let me break it down for you.

So first, you have to pay real close attention to how your day spans out. Pay attention particularly to the little things that go on during your day and notice what thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations you experience during these times. Tuning into your emotions allows you to stay connected to the present moment.

Next, as you notice and experience these emotions and sensations, Dr. Rosenberg suggests moving through one (or more) of eight unpleasant emotions that you may have experienced during the day. These could be: sadness, shame, helplessness, anger, embarrassment, disappointment, frustration, and vulnerability. We can all identify the physical sensations these emotions tend to bring up, and we often try to avoid these. However, by identifying these sensations and moving through the emotions you avoid the biochemical reactions that are linked to the intensity of the physical sensations tied to the emotion.

And finally, Dr. Rosenberg advices, that being present with each emotion you experience, and its “physiological” manifestation, for up to 90 seconds, allows your body to flush out these biochemical reactions, causing the physiological feelings to subside. This is what is referred to as a “Wave of Emotion”.

Simply put, “Riding the wave” is a psychological practice of surfing your own powerful and negative emotions. Fighting emotions such as sadness and anger delays the acceptance of these emotions. Riding the wave is about allowing your emotions to be with you without acting inadequately.* When we are able to stay present and with the emotion, we end up “surfing the wave” and just like the waves of the ocean, they always subside.

Like any practice, the skill of “riding the waves of emotion” takes practice. Each one of us has our own style and way of becoming more proficient at this. And, as Dr. Rosenberg emphasizes: it is a skill that offers a true path to authenticity and freedom.

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