• Sarah Ballan

Express Yo Self

One of my personal resolutions for the new year is to not make decisions when I am angry. Like I said in my previous post, acting in anger never leads to positive progress. However, if and when you are angry, and let’s face it, we all get angry, is is important to FEEL. As human beings we are not supposed to be content 100% of the time; we experience ups and downs. Pain demands to be felt and dealing with it is a part of life. If you ignore negative feelings and brush them aside, it only puts off the inevitability of them catching up to you, and will destroy you in the process. Appreciate your ebb and flow of emotions and ride them like a wave. You will not be on cloud nine forever, but you will not be down in the dumps forever either.

One way to deal with unwanted emotions is practicing meditation and mindfulness. One might think that in order to meditate you must clear your mind, but that feat is nearly impossible, unless maybe you were a buddhist monk with decades of silence and practice…

Mediation is about being present and becoming aware. It’s about mindfulness, or being present in the moment.

Try slowing down your breathing and focusing on where you are and what you are doing RIGHT NOW. Breathe deeply in through your nose and hold it for 5-10 seconds, then exhale out through your mouth to get in the zone. This controlled breathing can physically calm your nerves and bring you back to equilibrium, which in turn puts things into perspective. If you hear the sirens blaring in the background, that’s ok. Notice them. Be mindful and aware of their existence then try to transcend into your feelings. How does you leg feel? Your fingers? Are you comfortable sitting on your chair? Your mind may start to wander, but as long as you notice, try to bring it back to the moment.

Ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, once said:

“If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

TBH I read this on a meme once and it totally stuck with me because its the damn truth! With a clear(er) mind, you can more readily let go of the “all or nothing” mentality and to be open and willing to solving problems and communicating with others to maintain or establish peace. This mental exercise of will diminish your anger because it will force you to hyper-focus on the basics.

It helps to talk about your feelings, and that is why communication is so so SO important. Surround yourselves with people who understand you. People with which you feel comfortable opening up to and sharing both the good and the bad. Say what is on your mind, after you cool off a bit, because if you are angry and you shout at someone they will most likely clam up and shut you out. Be direct and effective and explain yourself rationally in a calm manner. Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to go to therapy. It’s time to break that stigma - I have a therapist and I f*cking love her. We all need to talk to a third party outside of our bubble sometimes.

Whatever you do, do not push those feelings of sadness or anger or frustration to the side and pretend that they don’t exist because that will bite you in the ass. I’m not saying you should sulk and throw yourself a pity party. Instead, throw yourself into something you love and thoroughly enjoy. Find your passions. The things that make you forget about everything else in the world and allow you to just BE. For me, it’s writing and exercise.

When I write I become one with the paper and pen; a fluid stream of consciousness from my brain to my fingertips to the page. Do I lie on paper? Absolutely not. Honesty is pure and appreciated. My journals are my unfiltered safe haven. In my journal I can be as vulgar as I want. It helps me to write out exactly what I’m feeling, free of judgement. Although I do not share my deepest feelings on the internet, I am certain I am not alone in them. After all, we can all connect with imperfections and let downs. No one’s  life is completely friggin perfect.

When I instruct my spin classes I am 100% focused on my riders and my music and try to connect with my breathing; notice how my muscles are feeling. How my heart is pumping blood faster, and how the room, myself and my riders, are getting stronger. I deal with anxiety and some days it can be crippling. My body physically shakes and I get that fight or flight feeling seemingly out of nowhere: The thudding of my heart in my chest. The stomach drop you get on the steepest of roller coasters...

Being present in my class does not mean I plaster on a smile and pretend everything is ok if and when it isn’t. It gives me a chance to be honest with my peers and a deeper opportunity to connect with the room. People come to my classes because they enjoy my realness. If I’m upset or frustrated I remain in the moment but I share to the class what I’m feeling. If I’m having a bad day, I let them know. Odds are someone else connecting with my raw emotion. Once I have noticed and accepted my feelings, I focus on the task at hand. Despite what goes on outside before or after class, during that 45 minutes I choose to be in that moment.

Make the choice to live in the now.

Think about what your “thing” is go do that sh*t because it will allow you to express yourself and your emotions in a healthy way.

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