COVID-19 UPDATE: my Midtown Manhattan office is currently closed. I am available for online therapy sessions (for NY residents only) via a secure video platform.

Whether you’re in the middle of a tough transition, or just moving through a regular week in your life, feelings are everywhere. In any given day, we may feel frustrated, pissed off, jealous, sad, scared, ecstatic, hopeful, content and more. But how many of those feelings do you actually let yourself feel fully?

You may have gotten messages about expressing your feelings as a child – whether those were “put on your happy face” or “Stop crying or I’ll give you something to cry about”. Women often shoulder the dual burdens of making sure everyone else is happy and always “having it all together”. It can be really hard to let ourselves feel our various feelings, and be okay with not always being okay.

Feelings are a package deal. If we can’t be okay with sometimes being sad, ashamed, jealous or (insert your least favorite feeling here), then it will be really hard to be able to fully experience joy, happiness, pleasure, or pure contentment.

Here are 3 ideas for how to sit with the bad (& ugly) and fully experience your good feelings.

1) Name it. How often have you said to someone (or yourself) “I’m fine” or “No, I’m good” when you felt anything but fine or good? Try this – the next time you come up against a feeling, name it. See if you can finish this sentence “Right now, I feel ____”. Say it out loud, write it down, say it to a friend. Try to be as authentic and judgment-free as possible. See what comes up.

2) Move it out. Feelings will stick around in our bodies and our energies. Once you’ve named the feeling (or even if you have no words for it), how can you let it out? Paint. Draw. Dance. Stretch. Yell. Do something that feels authentic and real for you. It doesn’t have to be pretty, it doesn’t have to make “sense”. Cover a piece of paper in brown crayon, dance wildly to Florence + the Machine, sit quietly and hum.

3) Celebrate like a kid. When something good happens, how do you respond? Obviously jumping up and down in excitement may not be appropriate for the office, but how about at home or with your friends? How did you celebrate good news or just revel in happiness as a kid? What made you feel purely happy? I have been known to walk on low walls whenever I encounter one, simply because that made me happy as a kid – and it still makes me happy now. Take a moment to remember what made you feel happy and free as a kid. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you celebrate like a kid!

If your feelings overwhelm you or you feel disconnected from them – I can help. As a licensed music psychotherapist, I help women improve their relationships and feel happier through the power of creativity, play, and mindfulness. Please contact me directly to get started today.