You’re lucky to feel sad, mad, scared

A couple of weeks ago I saw a YouTube clip of comedian Louis C.K. describing how ‘lucky you are when you let sadness hit you like a truck.’ To my surprise, he goes on to describe and promote what I’ve been calling Emotional Medicine! C.K. encourages you to look for sad moments, to let yourself feel sad and cry ‘like bitches’ because your body has what he calls ‘antibodies of happiness’ that come rushing in to meet the sadness. Wise man, C.K. Here’s the 4 minute clip:<>

Sound familiar? This is what my book Emotional Medicine Rx is all about! LA Times columnist Meghan Daum called C.K. a modern day ‘holy man’ and proposed that watching clips like his is a form of secular church going. If that’s the case, EMRx is a bible for learning exactly how briefly experienced sad, mad, scared emotions can be delivery systems for ‘true, profound, happiness’. (And when I say, brief, I mean typically 3 minutes or less).

My lifes work is to help people know that feeling emotion is safe and natural. I second C.K.’s (e) motion about being lucky to feel sad (and I would add mad and scared). You are lucky because when emotion courses through your being, you are given power to take healthy action for yourself and your world (big and small). Your entire bodymind is affected positively by emotions moving briefly through your body systems enabling you to breathe better, think better, move better, work better, poop better, play better, and love better.

The challenge is that emotion doesn’t typically hit us like a truck. For many, emotion doesn’t show up at all. What you often feel instead is numbness, flatness, depression, anxiety, or myriad physical symptoms. The reason my book is 280 pages and C.K.’s you tube is 4 minutes is because he was ‘lucky’ enough to get hit by a wave of sadness and more importantly wise enough to stop what he was doing and allow that wave to crest and roll on by.

When you’re not that lucky, or have trouble riding waves of emotion, you may need to heal inner wounds that have left you numb, fearful or resistant to emotion. If you are seriously numb or fearful of emotion and have many somatic complaints, get professional help to thaw out and feel again. No blame!

Even though what C.K. did sounds simple on the surface, he obviously had a world view in which he valued and welcomed emotion. He was willing to brake (literally) for emotion. He found a way to safely and responsibly cooperate with a wave of sadness until profound happiness came rushing in.

In any case, the first thing you can do to make yourself a more likely candidate for an influx of happiness is to make your own decision to brake for emotions. This means deciding to stop, notice, and experience the signals your body is sending that emotions are present and about to roll. These signals may vary from tearing up, sighing, clenching teeth, making a fist, to feeling sobs rising in your chest. Ask inside if you are sad, mad, scared. If you feel safe and comfortable, allow emotion to move briefly through your body. Set the timer!

Remember, even a homeopathic dose, like a single tear, if consciously experienced and welcomed, can start shifting the biochemistry in your body so you begin to feel relief. Perhaps more importantly, the next time a big set of emotion appears you’ll be able to ride its waves and experience the wonder of how feeling so bad can change into feeling so good…so fast.

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