On one occasion I can feel positive, motivated and quietly content with the current situation. On the other occasion I can feel distress, anxious, unsafe and uncertain with very little motivation to do much at all.

One of these situations I like and prefer, the other I don’t.

Learning to ride emotional waves is not something we’re taught to do in school. In fact, it’s massively overlooked. Yet awareness of emotional wave riding, coupled with space to experience them, is hugely helpful to our mental and emotional health.

We can’t avoid the waves, force them to stop or just choose the ones we like. We have to learn to surf.

Sometimes these waves grow in size and speed, sometimes they crash and cause chaos. Sometimes they rise and subside with a gentle hump but come to nothing. In our day to day this might show as a queasy feeling in our stomach, a tightness in our chest, tense shoulders or jaw, or even short-temperedness, bouts of crying or an overwhelming peace and calm with the world.

One thing is certain though. They don’t last. Just like waves, they come and go, come and go.

Sometimes our seas are stormy, sometimes they are calm and flat.

Knowing this is one thing. Recognising, noticing and acknowledging our feelings as we are experiencing them is another.

One aspect of mindfulness practice is that we ‘feel’ into our body and get curious about what’s going in inside. There might be nothing, there might be lots but all we do is observe those felt emotions, the physical sensations.

The more we practice, the more aware we become of our felt emotions in everyday situations.

As I write this, I’ve been honouring the background swirl that is residing near my solar plexus. It’s been there all day. This is me riding my emotional wave. I’m taking action to feel happier (a combination of writing this for you, drinking tea and enjoying the sunshine) but I’m not ignoring it. It also gives me a sense of forgiveness and kindness – letting myself off the hook for feeling the and acting the way I am.

Can you relate to emotional wave riding? Have you noticed that your emotions are coming and going, making you feel all wobbly one minute then calmer and more settled the next?

If this is happening for you, then it will also be happening for your children. Like you, they probably have no idea that this is a normal occurrence and that our behaviours and actions are often born from our emotional states. Awareness of our emotional waves is crucial for forgiving and understanding ourselves and each other.

Whatever you’re experiencing right now, give it some attention if you can, forgive yourself, take comfort in knowing it will pass and talk to your children about what’s happening inside.

You can ALL ride the waves and learn to surf.

If this has been helpful to you and you want support to achieve a regular mindfulness practice for you and your family, then visit Learnful Families at https://parents.learnful.co.uk/module/list/learnful-family-membership

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