Gratitude For Feelings
Did you know that there are (at least) 27 different human emotions, and that these emotions live on an interconnected spectrum? From boredom to joy, fear to confusion, the human experience is a vibrant mess of dozens of emotions. Our experience with these emotions can vary widely; perhaps one day you’re stuck in the same emotion, and the next day you experience several at once.
Given the wide range of feelings we can have at any given time, it’s important to be able to make space and have gratitude for the multitude of human emotions we experience now and have experienced in the past.
When we discussed the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reaction that occurs when our sympathetic nervous system is activated, we introduced a scenario where our fear or excitement or anxiety emotional response has been activated. When we are in this state, our body is naturally reacting from a need for survival—whatever we do in response is a result of those emotions. Perhaps we have some painful memories associated with these reactions; maybe we didn’t react in a way we’re proud of, or our reaction had some sort of negative consequence.
This is the perfect chance to learn to have gratitude for our feelings. Instead of looking back on the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn situation with regret, we consider that our body was just trying to protect us by feeling the way it did. Whatever happened triggered a survival instinct, as many emotions do. When we allow ourselves to reframe a situation and see it as our heart and mind just trying to take care of us, it helps us release some of the anxious and regretful feelings around it.
And this practice is helpful to take into any emotional experience we may have. Rather than beating ourselves up for the way we feel about something, we make space for the feeling, give ourselves gratitude for just trying to protect ourselves, and then release the feeling. We began this when we discussed observing emotions with non-judgement, and by applying gratitude for the feelings, we’re one step closer to letting go of the feelings that don’t serve us and keeping the ones that do.