Regulating Emotional Metabolism

Yesterday was a sad day for me. I had to say goodbye to my beloved grandmother. Although we knew her time was near, it’s still some what of a shock to hear the passing of a family member. As a mother, my first thought was I need to be strong for my boys. I need to push some of these emotions down for a later time so they couldn’t see their mom sad or hurting. At 10, 8, and & 7 years old, they don’t quite fully understand death and I didn’t want them to worry about me. As sad as I was, I would go about my day. There was housework to do, kids to pick up, homework, and soccer practices.

But then I realized I needed time to mourn. To do absolutely nothing but feel the pain. I needed to digest my emotions. Part of what I do is teaching people about our “Emotional Metabolism “and how we need to start listening to our emotions and digesting them so that they don’t become stuck in our body. For some, digesting and assimilating their emotions is easier than others. We digest and assimilate  almost everything we come in contact with. The air we breathe, the food we eat, our environmental surroundings, but we often don’t give ourselves permission to truly feel and digest all our emotions. Often life gets in the way and its easy to push our feelings aside or bury them deep down.

I gave myself permission to take a day. To mourn the loss of my Grandmother. To feel the pain. To cry and let it all out ,to let my body digest what it was feeling. And to not be afraid to let my children see that mommy was sad and heart broken. Death is part of life and we can’t avoid it. I want them to see that when you feel something you need to allow yourself to fully experience that emotion. To relax into the uncomfortableness of it all, so you can heal. I was never one to tell my children to “Stop crying”. I thought that was another way of saying , “Stop feeling”. It’s important for us to be present with our bodies to feel all of the emotions whether it be anger, depression, anxiety, sadness, jealousy or disappointment. When we do this we regulate our emotional metabolism which is just as important as the physical one, If not more. By regulating our emotional metabolism, we fully embody and become present and only then will we understand the message that can accompany our emotions. Had I gone on about my day and tried to hide those emotions they could’ve become stuck inside me to later create emotional chaos.

So I gave myself permission to relax into my sadness and let my body experience what it needed to. It wasn’t easy. I was quiet, and lots of tears were shed. Had I just told myself  she’s in a better place and did my best to go on with my day I don’t think I’d be feeling as I do today. And the same goes for my boys. Seeing me experience my emotions brought up great conversation and a great learning opportunity for one of life’s lessons.

We’re human and we have a range of emotions that we are constantly metabolizing.  We are biologically built to become present to the regulation and experience of our own feelings. For when we don’t they can take over causing many unwanted health symptoms.

LOts of LOve,


6 thoughts on “Regulating Emotional Metabolism

  1. Absolutely right on Lauren. Grieving is part of life. When a loved one passes we will never forget the pain. We just manage it better as time goes on. But let it out. The person that passed loves you and would never want you or us to suffer in silence or compound the hurt by keeping it inside … When Chikdren see you grieve they know you loved that person. This is natural. This is acceptable. They will understand. They will learn to help family members during this process because it was not hidden. Excellent phycology on your part. Sickness can come from many sources and hidden hurt is one of them. Thanks for your healthy thought and input. Be well


  2. What a great tribute to Nanny.
    You insight into the emotions is amazing and teaching your children At such an early age will
    Help them grow confident to face emotional issues without burying their feelings and standing up when faced with conflict. Mom


  3. I was finding myself doing a little of the same thing. Not giving myself permission to feel grief , pain, loss and sadness. Then…Last night, (it really took about two days to all sink in) as I sat, crying and feeling Nanny’s loss, and at the same time grieving the loss of my very good friend Alan almost four weeks ago, I felt totally alone. I wondered what was happening in me, versus what was happening on the outside of me, that my children could see. What is this “grief” what am I feeling and why? A few weeks ago I was feeling so all over the map with the loss of Alan, the emotions felt uncontrollably and last night as I read on this, I finally realized what was happening. I was not grieving but mourning, the loss, hurt, sadness and anger unknowing moved from totally internal to external, it came out in some unhealthy ways as anger and frustration towards innocent bystanders (family and friends) some very much understood, and others didn’t, but to deny the significance of mourning would be to believe that there is something wrong about loving. I truly believe our greatest gift from God is our capacity to give and receive love. Likewise, it is a great gift that we can openly mourn our life losses. I noticed that people tend to use the words “grieving” and “mourning” interchangeable. I think maybe as humans we move toward integrating loss into our lives not just by grieving, but by mourning as well, it doesn’t always come out clear, it’s confusing and random. I can move toward “reconciliation” not just by grieving, but through active and intentional mourning. I’m trying to find the difference, in death and relationships Grief is the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings we have when someone we love dies. A co-worker I work with each day is a therapist, he said “grief is the container. It holds your thoughts, feelings, and images of your experience when someone you love dies, a relationship fails, or other types of loss”. In other words, grief is the internal meaning given to the experience of loss. Mourning is when you take the grief you have on the inside and express it outside of yourself.
    I could explain my bad weekend as “grief gone public” or “the outward expression of grief”. Perhaps there is no one right or only way to mourn. Talking about the person who died, crying, expressing your thoughts and feelings through art or music, journaling, praying, and celebrating special anniversary dates. Like your permission to grieve or be sad I give myself permission to mourn. I’m seeing the choice to not just grieve but authentically mourn is giving me the courage and confidence to integrate the death of someone, relationships, jobs, and other major things once integrated to my life.
    I’m not sure exactly how to do this, but the wisdom and awareness I feel is the beginning of healing. In a physical sense for me…perhaps less fatigue, headaches, and sleeping better will come from figuring out how mourn loss without the anger, frustration and sadness eating away at me. Perhaps the outward expression is directed into writing and music, and physical exercise. And by expressing I mean openly and honestly expressing your thoughts and feelings from the inside to the outside-no pretense, no repression, no inhibitions.
    So as I figure this out, I am giving myself permission to authentically mourn. It feels weird at first, because I realize response following loss is instinctive and organic.
    I feel befriending such emotions is what makes it possible to experience, eventually, a sense of renewed meaning and purpose in your life. Yet the emotions you sometimes most want to avoid are the ones you most need to attend to.


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