It’s doing something to relieve the discomfort of whatever negative feeling we are experiencing in this moment. We do not want to feel this feeling so we do something to relieve it.
We know it’s buffering because the action does not improve the situation and often makes it worse, but we feel better in the moment.
You get the idea.
Some things happen we cannot fix. We want to feel better so we buffer our feelings with food, alcohol, online shopping, yelling at the kids, taking drugs, chewing our fingernails, etc.
Buffering is doing ANYTHING that relieves the negative feelings in the moment in order to feel better. The problem is, it doesn’t fix the original problem even though we feel better in the moment.
Often, it makes the problem worse because we still have the original problem and have just added another problem by buffering.
We overcome buffering by allowing ourselves to feel the feeling that was caused by the original problem. This is where the answer lies for all buffering problems. We have never learned how to do this. Our society offers us a thousand ways to avoid our feelings and buffer instead.
Feeling our feelings is not easy or fun but it sets us free from compulsive buffering that keeps us stuck. And it’s never as bad as we imagine it will be. Human beings are meant to feel our feelings. It’s why we have them!
We have never been taught how. And sometimes our feelings are confusing and overwhelming so we just try to avoid having them altogether. THIS is the crux of the problem.
To get what we’ve never had, we must do what we’ve never done.
How to feel a feeling: sit quietly alone and take a deep breath. Close your eyes if you want. Allow the thoughts that created the negative feeling to flow through your mind. Don’t hold anything back. Keep breathing and feel where you feel it in your body. Is it in your chest? Is your breathing constricted? Your neck stiff and tight? Keep breathing and paying attention to your body. Is your stomach upset? Your shoulders tight? Is it hot or cold? Keep breathing with awareness of your body. Does it have a color or shape?
That is normal. This is a new experience. Give yourself compassion. No judgment. Allow yourself to truly feel all the feelings.
When you are done, it’s helpful to sit quietly and allow yourself to feel the release and calm that comes after processing feelings. If you have trouble accessing the feelings to begin with, it’s helpful to write all of your thoughts down on a piece of paper or in your computer.
Clearing out our minds of all the thoughts is helpful to understanding where the feelings are coming from. This is called a “Thought Download”. Our brains hold onto things and they come out in ways we may not like when we don’t clear them out frequently.
Doing this daily Thought Download is a great way to stay clear about what goes through our brains and manage it before it becomes a problem. It’s like turning on the light in a dark closet. Then we can SEE what’s in there!
Has this process been helpful for you? Would you like to learn more? I would love to connect with you! Feel free to send me a message and we can do a free 30-minute Discovery Chat to help you with any problem you might be struggling with.