Diary: The Importance of Breathing

A few days ago, I started drafting a diary entry after a couple of incredibly frustrating days happened in my life. It was a very spur-of-the-moment kind of thing; I ran out of steam several paragraphs later, clicked save draft, and left it to fester in my WordPress dashboard.

Opening this up again, I’m reminded once more of one of the biggest life lessons anyone could ever learn: always, always, remember to take a step back… and just breathe. Sometimes that’s all you need for a little perspective. Let the initial firebrands rage and die out; cooler heads will eventually prevail.

This is what I wrote that day in the middle of a, let’s say, not-so-great emotional state. Always remember: things are never as bad as they seem. Especially when you’ve been drinking.

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Humans have a litany of emotions, far more than what anyone can reasonably list. Most of the time, we’re satisfied with describing our thought processes in the simplest of adjectives: sad. Happy. Annoyed. Flustered. Angry. Joyful.

99% of the time, those simple words are more than enough to express ourselves. I’m happy because I got paid; I’m angry because I lost my job. For day-to-day activities, you really don’t need anything more, and we tend to forget that emotions are powerful things as we box them into convenient words that we can use without thinking too hard.

But sometimes, though, you run into a situation that falls into that other 1%. Times when even you don’t know what exactly you feel. Times when you just want to curl up in your bed and take a long nap until you can feel something that you can easily describe again. Times when you feel, but you just can’t seem to describe it, so that only makes you feel whatever you were feeling… more.

I had that 1% moment recently. And for someone like me – who’s always been better at expressing myself via words and print rather than aloud – it was very confusing, slightly hurtful, and made me afraid of the emotions that I felt.

Because, for all the times when we can idealize our notions of emotions – in an age where we use smiley faces as part of everyday conversation – they’re still very complicated things, perhaps the most difficult-to-understand things that our brains do for us.

Difficult emotions tend to happen, I think, when life begins to take strange turns that you hadn’t anticipated. Your brain constructs these ideas of events and the potential emotions that could surround them, so that when things don’t go your way, the resulting 180-degree change between expectation and reality is that much harder to grasp – and that much harder to understand.

 

 

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