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Sometimes I am in a bad mood. I become angry, sad, lonely, or scared and then instead of becoming aware of what I am feeling I decided it is too painful to feel these emotions so I ate, went shopping, went on social media, even sometimes text my ex to avoid feeling. Then, of course, I would beat myself up for all of it, and if anyone has noticed their inner negative voice it is not nice! Mine can be downright mean! I continued this cycle for as long as I can remember.

I started to break this cycle with food a couple of months ago. I was using food instead of feeling stress. I would eat whatever I was craving whenever I wanted it and thirty pounds later I was hating myself. Thankfully by becoming aware of my eating and deciding why I was eating has helped me tremendously. I know intentionally eat my food with awareness and enjoying each bite until I am full and then I stop.

However, I never realized I could do the same thing with my emotions. This week I was feeling cranky and sad and when I became aware of it I instantly started to beat myself up for it. I would say things like “how could I be sad I have done all this wellness work and here I am still sad!” I don’t want to be sad or angry so I try to force myself to change my mood. Well, of course, this doesn’t work! We are humans and we are created to feel all emotions. Forcing yourself or beating yourself up for your feelings isn’t going to get you in a better mood. I realized this is something that I have been doing to myself for a long time and I wanted to figure out a way to change my behavior.

That is when I decided, how about instead of fighting with my emotions I accept that I am feeling them? This was a great step forward for me. Once I accepted that I was feeling sad or angry I started to be able to move through those periods more quickly. However, I still felt like I wasn’t fully expressing my emotions. I kept reading in articles that I needed to feel my emotions, but I had no idea how to.

Then the other night I was listening to a wellness workshop about relationships through Mind Body Green called “How to Find True Love in the Modern World” by Megan Bruneau. Megan was discussing awareness & practicing self-compassion when she said the word refrain. Something inside my mind clicked! To refrain means “to abstain from an impulse to say or do something.” She went on to talk about practicing refraining in life. This means when you are feeling sad and you feel impulsed to shop, eat, drink, or text an ex instead pause and sit with that sadness for a little bit. Become aware in the moment, what emotion are you trying to suppress?  Ask yourself what you need, you may find out you need to go for a walk to relax or call a friend for support.. Giving yourself the compassion in a nonjudgmental way to feel through your emotions and then actually do something that will feel healthy. When you continue to practice the art of refraining you start to build resilience.

The definition of resilient is “a person able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” The more you practice saying no to the unhealthy behavior & impulses the quicker you will start to feel through your emotions. Once you feel through your emotions you can replace your impulse with something healthy. The periods of sadness won’t last as long because you have to build healthy coping skills and are able to handle those situations with more awareness and compassion.


Ellie Curry




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