Don’t Ignore the Warning Lights

Often people will describe living with difficult feelings. They might not have them all of the time, but they experience feelings that recur and that make their lives difficult. These might be feelings of anxiety, fear, stress, loneliness or anger. One solution is to try to ignore the feelings ‘ostrich style’, but another is to try to develop a different relationship with them. Clearly the feelings are difficult and it would be preferable not to have them. But, if you are someone for whom that is not an option, then you might benefit from finding out more about why you are having them.

A difficult feeling is suddenly set off that can’t be ignored and which makes your life uncomfortable. It is hard to make sense of the feeling and it gets in the way of having satisfying relationships and delivering your potential at work. It may bring on other lifestyle problems, interfere with sleep, lead you to drink too much, or develop other inappropriate ways of living. Ignoring it is probably not helping. But, it’s possible that these feelings might be thought of as a call to action. They are telling you that something is not working properly and needs attention, like a warning light on a car dashboard telling you to pull over now, something needs attention.

In my clinic I work with people to help them identify the routes of such feelings. To understand more about what triggers the feelings, and to help people develop more productive ways of living with them rather than the self-destructive habits that can develop through ignoring them.