How Embracing Depression Creates Joy
Who wants to feel angry, fearful or depressed?
No thank you!
However, embracing your emotions is one of the surest ways to allow energy to move through your body and create health, vibrance, and even… joy.
Of course, we really just want to feel joy. It’s one of the things that can make us feel so incredibly alive, and has even been shown to reverse diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
However, joy really isn’t something we can try, work, or fight for. When we’re feeling bad, we can’t just wish ourselves into feeling better. Joy is our natural state, but more joy only comes when we make room for it. To embrace more joy, we must embrace those “lower-emotions” such as depression, anger, pain, and fear. The emotions we work so hard trying to get rid of!
Joy comes from when we embrace ourselves fully.
The other day I shared a story about Dr. Cynthia Glickman, “The Joy Doctor” – a #1 best-selling author and my dear friend. Cynthia found herself at a healing retreat and was filled with sadness and anger for the first day there.
Instead of pushing this away, forcing herself to “cheer up” and insisting that her body feel joy, she instead embraced all of these emotions, spent time with them and gave them her loving attention. This allowed her to later release them, and she found herself laughing joyfully with new people who told her: “How is it that you’re so filled with joy?”
I get asked the same question so often, and even more often asked: “How do you have SO much energy??!!”
It’s not for the reasons most people think. The day after posting that video I was feeling down. I don’t know why (and I don’t always need to.) My husband noticed. “You seem upset. What’s going on?” he said gently.
I responded and shared my emotions with him. “I feel kind of sad and frustrated, and there’s some fear…actually, there’s really a lot of fear. What I want to feel is ease, lightness, and freedom, and I’m going to just breathe big through this and let it be. It feels overwhelming to try to change it or figure it out.” -and I really did that. I just let it be and let it go. Thankfully, he didn’t try to fix me either.
Instead, he looked at me with awe and said: “I’m so proud of you for practicing what you preach.” It was a wonderful moment not only to be accepted for my emotions, but celebrated for expressing them.
In the coming hours, the fear dissipated. Actually, over the next days I experienced a huge transformation (which so often happens after I enter deeply into the emotions of fear or despair!) I felt a huge amount of compassion for myself, and opened to an entirely new experience of wellbeing. It wasn’t that joy and exhilaration came flooding in, it was something deeper and more lasting. A sense of serenity.
This is what comes when we embrace our “lower emotions” (anger, frustration, hopelessness) with love and compassion. Just giving them attention without trying to fix them does this. Imagine if all doctors treated their patients with that level of compassionate attention without trying to fix them?! I’ve literally had patients heal before my eyes from years of depression through this process of listening.
It’s not magic. It’s our nature.
Embracing your lower-emotions with a sense of ease, allowing, and compassion for yourself allows room for joy.
I am so fortunate to have people in my life who love and accept me so fully. It is through having accepted myself (and my emotions) so fully that I now have so many loving, accepting friends who also have the space for “all of me.”
In painting with all the colors of your emotions, without resisting, without judgment, and without trying to fix the problem… you become free.
We are so often ingrained to run away from the lower-emotions or to try and “fix” them, but that’s the very thing that creates disease. It increases cortisol, the stress hormone, and increases inflammation. Both of these are part of the chemistry that causes diseases like obesity, diabetes, and even cancer.
This resistance to our own energy, our emotions, is the very thing that holds us back from experiencing the full capacity of the joy that we’re here to live. It can literally kill you!
That’s why the most important skill you can develop to be a healthy, successful person is the ability to feel your body, and allow your emotions to flow. They want to move! That energy that feels stuck wants to flow. It’s only your judgment that is keeping it from doing so.
Take a moment and ask yourself: “For the purpose of embracing more joy, would I be willing to allow myself to meet all of my emotions with love and with compassion?”
Get present to your body. Feel your body. Allow it to be just as it is.
Here’s your MindBody Prescription for this week:
- Get really present in your body. Become aware of how you’re feeling, and bring your awareness into your body. Set your alarm for 15 to 20 minutes during a time that you know you will not be disturbed, close your eyes , and just become aware of how you are feeling.
- Feel it! Without judgment, without trying to fix it, without resistance; just allow yourself to feel whatever is coming up. Tune into your body while giving your body love and compassion. Tell your body that you love it and that you’re ready to feel whatever is going on inside it. If you are having a problem feeling your emotions, start with feeling things physically first (ie. pain, stiffness, aching), and then start feeling into what is emotionally going on.
- Allow. Release any judgment and resistance, and allow everything to fully come up. Even turn up the volume on what you’re feeling to deepen your experience of it. State to yourself: “I accept all of this. I accept my depression, I accept my despair, I accept my feeling of powerlessness.”
Be sure to breathe fully into all of those emotions that are in your body and allow this energy to move.
E-motion is Energy-in-Motion; if it’s stuck, it’s going to make you sick.
Emotions that are stuck prevent nutrients and oxygen from filling your body completely. This exercise is like a detox – a kind of “clearing out” – and it will allow you to make more space for your natural state of joy and vitality.
Share this blog with someone you know who could use more joy in their own life. We could all use more joy:)
P.S. What is holding you back from expressing your emotions fully or experiencing joy? Is there pain, anger, resentment, depression…?
Share and I will support you!