How (and Why) to Process Your Feelings


This past week dealt me several shocks, so this weekend I’ll be taking time to process the many emotions that came up.

When my therapist asked me what I was feeling about all that had happened, I mentioned a whole range of emotions, from outrage and shock to relief and gratitude, and more in between.

“That’s a lot of different emotions for your body to process,” she observed. “Each of them is producing different chemicals in your body. You need to make sure you take time over the next few days to intentionally process each of them.” She warned that if I don’t, it could affect my health in a big way.

This of course I knew, from personal experience and working with hundreds of clients on their “heart issues.” Emotions must be processed, because emotions are “energy in motion.” If that energy isn’t processed and healed, it will go into the body and cause havoc.

Still, I needed the reminder to actually take time to process it all.

Years ago, in prayer, these words came to me: “You have to heal it so we (God and I) can heal it.”

However, if you’ve grown up with Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN), you may have no idea how to process an emotion. I’ve learned that while The Healing Codes are great at healing negative emotions, the processing work must come before you actually can heal any negative effects of uncomfortable feelings.

Providentially, this week in a class I was taking, I got a great refresher on how to process an emotion. So I thought I’d pass it on, in case you too can use a little help in this area.

First, a couple of perspectives about feelings, especially unpleasant feelings.

One: they are temporary. Think of them like the sky: it is always changing. Some days it’s sunny, some days it’s overcast, some days there are storms. Accept it!

Two: If you try to get away from an unpleasant feeling, it only makes it stronger, and it will last longer.

How to Process a Feeling Step by Step

Step One: create space and give yourself permission to feel and heal.

This may be difficult if you’ve grown up with CEN and don’t understand the importance of emotions in your life. (Hint: they help you know who you truly are. As Dr. Jonice Web says, emotions are the deepest, most personal thing about you.) It may not be so easy to allow yourself that space or permission, because if emotions were never even acknowledged, you may yourself automatically discount them.

Again, whether you acknowledge them or not, that energy will go somewhere. And different emotions produce different chemicals in the body. The ones that produce stress need to be dealt with quickly so as to not cause permanent harm. Better to process the “negative” emotion, heal it, and extract the meaning and lessons, than to have that negative energy and stress hormones accumulate in your body.

And once you do, you will be able to actually change your feelings, by changing your thoughts. But that’s for another time.

Step Two: Once you give yourself permission and create space (i.e. time) to process, you need to identify the feeling. You may have trouble doing this at first. Here’s a link to some useful charts.

Note: it’s super helpful if you can process through writing. No one will see this. But studies show that writing helps you process things “all the way through.”

Step Three: After you’ve identified the feeling (one at a time is best), get curious about it. Describe it. Get familiar with it. Some questions to ask yourself as you explore it:

  • Where is this feeling (energy) in my body?

  • How intense is it on a scale of 1-10?

  • Does it stay at that level, or does it go down to a 1 and then come back up?

  • Why is this emotion even there?

  • What triggered it?

  • Is this something that is familiar, that I’ve felt before? If so, when?

  • What is it trying to tell me?

Dr. Jonice Web, in her book Running on Empty, gives some examples of what certain feelings might be trying to tell us.

  • Fear tells us to escape or seek self-preservation.

  • Anger pushes us to fight/protect ourselves.

  • Love spurs us to care for spouse, children, others.

  • Passion drives us to procreate, create, invent and improve.

  • Hurt pushes us to correct a situation.

  • Sadness tells us we are losing (or lost) something important.

Very important for this step: Allow yourself to feel it all without judgment. Feelings just are. Allow them to just be. You might even validate them for yourself: It makes sense that I would feel this way, because. . . . Allow your feelings to give you the messages that will helpfully inform your life.

Step Four: Use The Healing Code or prayer or some other healing tool to clear the energy. I like prayerful Healing Codes because I think it clears feelings on the cellular level, while most other modalities just clear the energy block that just comes up when you’re triggered.

If you take these four steps, you will process the emotion and be able to move on.

As humans, we have a panoply of emotions, and that’s what makes us human. Befriend your emotions, and they will serve you well.

Julie Bjelland suggests that several times a day, you put your hand on your heart and ask, “What am I feeling right now?” Checking in often helps you process as you go, and prevents a buildup of unprocessed emotions and subsequent biochemicals in your body.

Now excuse me; my journal is crying out to be filled up with lots of strong emotions….

And if you’d like help in processing and healing your difficult emotions, check out my coaching at

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