How to Transform Unpleasant Emotions with Mindfulness

Photo Credit: Naira Babayan, Unsplash

Life includes a range of emotions, some pleasant and others challenging. We often feel the urge to resist or suppress challenging emotions, but doing so intensifies them over time.

Instead, mindfulness offers us practical ways to transform challenging emotions and enjoy inner peace. By developing this valuable skill, you can navigate difficult emotions with grace and enjoy greater emotional balance. Here’s how:

Become Aware of Your Emotions

Becoming aware of our emotions is the first step in effectively managing them. Check in with yourself during the day and become aware of the emotions you are experiencing. Recognize when challenging emotions surface so you can address them promptly before they escalate.

Identify The Emotion

By naming an unpleasant emotion, you can work with it more effectively. Does it feel like anger, stress, fear, overwhelm or anxiety? When you zero in and name the emotion, it brings more clarity to the way you feel.

Observe, Accept, and Detach

Simply observe the emotion without resistance or suppression. Recognize emotion as a natural part of the range of human experience. As an impartial observer, you can watch the emotion without losing yourself in it.

Externalize the Emotion

To externalize the emotion, visualize it as a color, shape, or tangible object. When you do that, it becomes more manageable and less overwhelming. You could visualize anger as a fiery red sphere, anxiety as a swirling cloud, or sadness as a heavy weight.

Consider the Source of the Emotion

Take a moment to reflect on possible triggers or causes for the emotion’s emergence. Understanding the source of the emotion can give you insight into how to avoid it in the future. Are you angry because you are hungry? Did someone’s actions trigger memories of old trauma that needs healing? When you understand how an emotion was triggered, it empowers you to do something positive about it.

Remember the Emotion’s Transient Nature

Emotions are transient, similar to clouds passing through the sky. Through patient observation, you’ll notice the emotion gradually losing intensity and dissolving, just as clouds dissipate in sunlight. You are not your emotions; you are eternal consciousness observing these transient emotions.

Return to Balanced Breathing

After processing a difficult emotion, you can regain calmness by focusing on your breath. Take a few deep breaths, keeping count on the inhalation and exhaling for the same count. Let your breath serve as an anchor, bringing you back to the present moment and restoring your inner sense of equilibrium.

When you handle emotions this way, you’ll access your emotional intelligence and restore inner peace, no matter what arises. Even more importantly, you’ll embody the presence of higher consciousness in which all forms of life can evolve.

©Copyright Ada Porat. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached. Ada Porat is an energy kinesiologist & pastoral counselor with extensive international teaching & clinical experience. She uses body/mind/spirit techniques to help clients make optimal life choices. For more information, visit

Authentic Spirituality

Authentic Spirituality

Want to get enlightened fast? Here’s a reality check: True enlightenment is not going to happen fast; if it does, it is not authentic. True, authentic spirituality is a slow, organic process of growth.

It follows a cyclical rhythm, the way life flows through seasons and patterns. And it looks less like a body-builder on steroids, and more like a homegrown strawberry.

So much of what passes for spirituality today is actually about selling seekers on a package that looks good, but does not lead to authentic spiritual transformation. It represents spirituality on steroids – and while every package promises to be the magic tool, it places appearance and performance above inner transformation.

This consumerist spirituality is all about selling us an image. Master these yoga asanas and you’ll reach enlightenment… or wear these clothes and you’ll be transformed faster… or visit this sacred site and you will become more spiritual.

In this steroid-driven spirituality, the pathway becomes the goal. Its to-do list may look glamorous: a meditative state to attain, a transmission to receive, a workshop to attend; yet the promised result remains just out of reach while we are sold the latest ‘guaranteed’ way to reaching it. You see, it’s based on a flawed principle that we are somehow lacking something we need to strive for.

In truth, authentic spirituality and enlightenment is not a goal we reach out there; it is something we become. The entire Universe operates on the principle of emergence and our spiritual nature is no different: it unfolds when we remove the obstacles to its emergence.

The authentic work of realizing our true identity needs no fancy interventions: it simply requires basic conditions that sustain all forms of life on this planet.

The strawberries in my garden can attest to that.

Strawberries will grow from a tiny seed to a beautiful plant that bears prolifically if you give it the right environment. It needs nutrients from the soil, sunlight and comfortable temperatures. When it gets these basic ingredients, it grows abundantly in full harmony with its own genotype and bears beautiful, juicy fruit in due season.

When we alter the nature of strawberries with genetic engineering and chemical steroids to boost production, the fruit will turn out big but tough and tasteless. They may look good on the surface, but one taste will tell you the difference between scientifically manipulated fruit and a juicy homegrown strawberry.

It’s the same with commercialized-spirituality. While promising instant miracles and results, it robs each individual of their unique journey to become the magnificent soul whose potential they’ve carried all along, and it renders them weak and tasteless.

While it makes bold claims of miracles, power and peace, commercialized spirituality sells us an image of who we think we need to be to qualify, lures us away from the very life we have by promising us something better, and tempts us to strive for spiritual success by doing more while in the process losing our most precious connection to our inner selves.

Thankfully, the way to authentic spirituality is always open to us.

Authentic spirituality puts an end to the lie that we need to be anywhere other than where we find ourselves right now. It gives us the freedom to grow right where we are, to harness the nutrients of the life we are already living, and to allow our inner guidance to produce delicious, juicy fruit to share with the world.

Here are four important principles of authentic spirituality:

  1. The answers already await inside you.

Whatever the question your life is asking you right now, the answer lies in the truth of who you already are. Why? Because you are a limitless spiritual being, experiencing this duality-based earth life to grow, evolve and realize your full potential.

Learning to distinguish the authentic voice of your soul from the noise of culture and conditioning is a journey—and it’s not necessarily easy. But it’s simple, and that is important. Whatever response is called for, you can relax and ask yourself, ‘How could this be useful on my path?’ then listen for your soul’s whisper to guide you. Learning to recognize the voice of your Higher truth will set you free from the confines of your limitations.

  1. Your body is the perfect spiritual vehicle for authentic spiritual growth.

Instead of bypassing the body’s messages or judging it as a faulty tool that needs to be fixed, authentic spirituality embraces the body as a vehicle that continually communicates with you. When you are at home and grounded in your body, you have the best chance of healing, learning, growing and becoming.

The physical body is not optional in this life and it is not a problem. It is a temple not made by hands; a sacred vessel for the presence of Spirit in our lives. The more we become present to our embodied experience, the more we are able to harness all the energy of Spirit we can contain to heal, transform and fulfill our potential.

  1. Your life is always speaking to you.

Right now, your life is speaking to you through events, metaphors, symbolism and other messages to guide you. Instead of resisting, try listening to it with an open heart. When we listen to our lives, we get precious information that is customized just for us.

It is by learning to love the life you have, that you can begin to choose a life you love. Your own direct experience needs to be the authority in your life rather than any external program, guru or person. Over time, listening to your life in this way is how you’ll learn where you grow best and what conditions allow you to bear the greatest fruit for your community and world.

  1. Your emotions aren’t a problem.

Most suffering in life is caused by the unwillingness to feel what we are actually feeling. Instead, we create elaborate avoidance strategies and masks to hide behind, causing endless suffering.

When you allow yourself to feel your emotions as they come and go, you’ll find peace. There is no story to tell around it; there is simply the being present in each moment, and the awareness of the emotions passing through your awareness like clouds in the sky. By observing your emotions without resistance, you’ll find them passing through your awareness while you continue to stay identified with your consciousness as the core of your true Self.

Authentic spirituality is a path of inner, direct experience that gradually unfolds at your unique human pace and produces practical enlightenment – the kind that serves instead of enslaves.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Six Ways To Move Past Hopelessness

Hopelessness, worthlessness and overwhelm… emotions that nobody loves, yet everyone experiences from time to time. How can you manage these emotions so they don’t paralyze your life?

When you feel hopeless it’s not because there is no hope at all in your life. It’s because you feel there’s none. Same with worthlessness. No one is worthless. Our lives are all worth something. Same with overwhelm: It is not a fact of life; it is your emotional response to life.

Have you had times when you just felt like giving up? Do you feel backed into the wall with nowhere to run and no reason to move? If you find yourself saying, “Why bother?” or “It’s useless” you may be experiencing hopelessness.

Negative self-talk feeds hopelessness, worthlessness and overwhelm. Some of the thoughts running through your mind may include:

  • Why bother? Nothing works.
  • I’ll never be happy.
  • I’ll never get what I want. What’s the use in trying?
  • There aren’t any good people left.
  • I’m too old (or fat, ugly, poor, boring…)

When feeling hopeless, you may stop seeing friends; you may isolate yourself, stop exercising and indulge in unhealthy behaviors such as overeating or overdrinking. You may avoid anything new. And that just adds a sense of worthlessness and overwhelm until you spiral down into a quagmire of hopelessness and depression.

When you find yourself spiraling down this way, the single most important issue to address is your feeling of hopelessness. You see, when you are convinced that life is hopeless, you won’t do anything to help yourself. No matter how hopeless it seems, there are always things you can do to find a way out. Here are six things you can do to break free from the downward spiral of hopelessness:

Challenge Your Hopelessness

If you’re feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, you’re bound to have thoughts like: “It’s useless, so why even try.” Because of this thought process, you won’t do anything, and you’ll remain stuck in hopelessness. This circular thinking then turns your feeling of hopelessness into a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Why not try something different? First, make the decision to doubt your hopelessness. Simply entertain the notion that you could be wrong. You’ve been wrong before about life; maybe you’re wrong now.

And then, with that inkling of doubt, decide to act against your hopelessness and as a champion for yourself. Act as if things aren’t hopeless by taking initiative, experimenting with optimism (‘I might as well try to make the best of this’); do things the hopeless part of you doesn’t feel like doing but research shows can make things better—exercise, see friends, get out of your shell. Prove your hopelessness wrong by acting as if things are already better! This type of self-discipline is not easy, but it can make a world of difference to your emotional state.

A big part of depression or anxiety consists of thoughts in our heads that tell us things are bad, we are hopeless and things won’t get better. The simple exercise of challenging those thoughts can do wonders for our state of mind. If the thought in your mind says that things are never going to get better, then dig deep and remember a time when things were bad but did improve! That is the truth you need to hang onto until your emotions shift.

Consider The Path Not Taken – Yet

Hopelessness will tell you that you’ve already tried everything to make things better, but nothing has worked. Let’s be serious, in a multiverse with limitless options, no one has tried everything yet! Maybe you’ve tried five or ten things things—changing some behavior, therapy, medication, resting, prayer, etc. When none of these things turned out to be the magic bullet that dramatically changed your life, you concluded that it’s all hopeless. Now would be a good time to keep looking, because there is an answer or (even many) for every challenge you may face.

You can try different kinds of therapy, different techniques and combinations of different approaches. You can choose to reframe the way you are looking at the challenge and instead of concluding that your situation is hopeless, you can ask instead, ‘How could this be helpful?’ or ‘What can I learn from this?’

You could consider giving up on ways of thinking and acting that haven’t worked: worrying, complaining, avoiding, isolating and taking things personally. Every time you catch yourself doing one of these things, remind yourself that there’s a better way, and then choose instead to do other things that may work: accepting, tolerating discomfort, practicing patience, or doing what you don’t want to do but what could actually be good for you.

Instead of focusing on what you can’t change, look instead at the wide range of things you can change. Let’s say your relationship really is a lot cause: You’ve broken up and there is no going back. That relationship really is hopeless now. OK, but how about all the other things in your life you can change—things you can do? Stop banging your head against a wall that won’t move, and walk through the door that is wide open for you.

Realize Your Happiness Does Not Depend on Just One Thing

Nobody says, “Life is hopeless because there’s a cloud in the sky.” Of course not! If we don’t treat the cloud as an essential part of life, we are not going to sweat it. When you feel hopeless, it is because you are telling yourself that the thing that won’t change is essential: “I can’t live without it.” Why not? You lived before you had it. Even if the relationship or job really turned out to be hopeless, weren’t you living a life before it? Start living again…like you did before!

Appreciate this Present Moment

Stop and think about what is happening right now. Is this moment hopeless? Sit quietly, noticing your breath, letting it in and out, watching it come and go. Feel your feet against the floor. Hear the sounds around you. Peel an orange and smell the tangy skin. Listen to music and feel the notes run through you. The present is here, every moment, every day. When the future and the past are pushed aside so you are fully alive here and now, you put an end to hopelessness. Appreciating this present moment and making it a sweet one, will help you forget the hopelessness.

Take Good Care of Yourself

It sounds so simple, but little things like getting enough sleep and eating as healthy as possible can make a huge difference on how we feel emotionally. Lack of sleep alone can cause depression and anxiety. Exercise has been proven to significantly reduce symptoms of depression, and by this I don’t mean slogging it out in the gym for two hours a day. Be kind to yourself! If you’re feeling down, stuck or overwhelmed, take a walk in nature, do some gentle yoga, or go for a bike ride to help lift your spirits.

Practice Moderation

When we feel hopeless, it is easy to self-medicate in unhealthy ways: overeating, oversleeping, overdrinking or indulging in recreational drugs. We all know that doing these things actually make us feel worse in the long run! Moderation is important in all aspects of our lives. When feeling hopeless or overwhelmed, wisdom urges us to say “no” to certain activities because we know that our boundaries are weaker than normal. Overindulging as a form of self-medication comes with a price that is just not worth paying.

About the Author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

Shadow Dancing: Integrating The Shadow In Our Personal And Collective Psyche

Deep beneath the social masks and happy faces we present to the outer world, lurks a hidden shadow: an angry, wounded, fragmented or isolated part of us that we tend to bury or ignore. Integrating the shadow is essential for a balanced life.

The shadow compounds all the dark impulses—hatred, aggression, sadism, selfishness, jealousy, resentment, sexual transgression—that are not socially acceptable and thus hidden out of sight. The name originated with Carl Jung, but its basic origin came from Freud’s insight that our psyches are dualistic, sharply divided between the conscious and unconscious. Socially accepted norms require that we suppress our unconscious side, but what hides in the shadows will attempt to come out.

Whatever qualities we dare not face within ourselves, we tend to project out onto others. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is integrated in a person’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. The work of becoming spiritually conscious requires us to face and integrate the shadow, or else it will sabotage our best intentions.

Put another way, one does not become enlightened by imagining light, but by making the darkness conscious so it can be integrated. Rampant shadow projection is a hallmark behavior of the spiritually unconscious.

The shadow always wants to be heard – when ignored, it turns ever more mean and nasty. Resisting the shadow simply solidifies it, causing suffering. This arrogant behavior causes pain and suffering in anybody who has suffered because of the shadow’s cruelty, either in themselves or others.

And herein lies a great gift. Whenever the shadow projections out there trigger an emotional response in us, it means that there is a need for forgiveness, healing and acceptance. This emotional charge is a dead giveaway that we need to do some healing within ourselves so we can become neutral to the shadow projections out there.

In other words, we’re able to recognize the shadow projections out there because the same potential exists within each of us, whether we act on them or not. Most of us are uncomfortable with this truth, which causes us to further suppress and project our own shadow. In truth, the enemy is not out there but in each of us.

The enemy is in the White House, but the enemy is also Muslim; the enemy is a Jew, the enemy is a terrorist or a non-documented immigrant; the enemy is the person we choose to blame for our own situation, and the refugee from whose needs we recoil… the enemy is in all of them, and also in you and me. In truth, the enemy is really not an enemy at all. It is but a dark reflection of the shadow that resides in each of us and gets projected out there onto whomever we choose to judge and condemn. This enemy is an orphan, cast out of our consciousness and wandering the dark alleys of our collective unconscious as the shadow.

We cannot fight the shadow with more shadow, for that simply escalates issues and increases suffering on all sides. Instead, we need to heal the shadow by bringing the light of consciousness to it. The wounds in consciousness can only be healed through consciousness.

Bringing shadow material into consciousness drains its dark power, and can even recover valuable resources from it. The greatest power comes from having accepted our shadow parts and integrated them as components of ourselves.

The shadow can be a source of emotional richness and vitality; and integrating these orphaned aspects of our being can lead to restoring personal wholeness and leading more authentic life. We start this process by recognizing the shadow existing in us, forgiving ourselves for our fear and aversion of it, acknowledging it for what it is, and learning to use its powerful energies in productive ways.

In their book, Romancing the Shadow, authors Connie Zwieg, Ph.D. and Steve Wolf, Ph.D. share effective ways of decoding the messages of the shadow in daily life to deepen one’s consciousness, imagination, and soul.

Integrating the shadow takes honesty and courage, but the rewards are immense. First, the suffering stops. This is the surest sign that we have chosen the right path again: the unnecessary suffering stops.

More importantly, new possibilities emerge everywhere in life. Author David Richo calls this work “shadow dancing” in his book, Shadow Dance: Liberating the Power and Creativity of Your Dark Side. Changing our relationship with the shadow allows us to discover a critical shift in our viewpoint: Where everything seemed sterile and barren and there seemed no possible answers before, now everything seems possible.

How to manage the shadow currently rampaging through society? A few things come to mind.

  1. Become part of the solution. Instead of cursing the darkness, align with the light by consciously changing your tribal attitudes, words, and actions. Refuse to dehumanize others based on their race, religion or background. Recognize that the world’s wrongs have their seeds in you and me as well. The potential for good or evil exists in each one of us. Once we begin to acknowledge that in ourselves, the shadow immediately begins to diminish.
  2. Recognize opportunities for healing, change and growth. See the rampaging shadow out there for what it is: an opportunity for each of us to heal. Now is the time for true shadow work to begin. The spiritually unconscious cannot do this work; it needs to start with you and me. When we take responsibility for the work of forgiveness and healing in our own lives, we will find the courage to start doing so on a larger scale. That is how we heal the world; not with bigger weapon systems, more name-calling or hatred.
  3. Strengthen your commitment to higher goals, vision and values. Nurture your core values, your soul and your spirituality. Meditate, spend time in nature, do energy work to set your soul free, and cultivate an attitude of gratitude.
  4. Learn how to practice detachment. Do your very best to continuously release thoughts of resistance and attachment, for they are simply sides of the same coin. The Sedona Method has a wonderful phrase to summarize this process: “Embrace that which you resist, and surrender that to which you cling.” Detachment frees you from anxiety so your inner space can be peace.
  5. Remain in the Now. The past is over and no amount of worry can change it; the future is not here yet; so stay in the present moment. This moment is a golden opportunity to grow in consciousness. Choose to see every event of your life as a gift from heaven, sent your way with the sole purpose of enlightening you.
  6. Stay open to the possibilities. During turbulent times, the ego works overtime to find some security. In the process, we often settle for the safe rather than the good. When you have faith in a Higher Power and stay open to all the possibilities in the Field (even those you have not yet conceived of), you are making space for optimal outcomes to show up.
  7. Keep learning. Perhaps you cannot change all the things out there that trouble you. But you can learn something new each day that will help you outgrow the limitations of tribal thinking and become the highest expression of yourself. What will you learn today? Tomorrow? Next month? It is the accumulation of small changes over time, that feed the evolution of your consciousness.
  8. Stay involved. When faced with the shadow and all the cognitive dissonance it creates, it can be tempting to hide your light. You may want to play it safe, go into denial and avoid conflict. I’m here to tell you that you were created for bigger things! You are on this planet at this time because at some level, you recognized the potential for growth, change and fulfillment offered by the very things you call challenging in your life right now. This is not the time to find excuses for remaining passive, or to wait for heaven to come and rescue us. We are the ones that we’ve been waiting for! So muster your courage, stand tall, breathe in faith and let your light shine, for you are meant to be here now! Become an instrument of change and healing, and your own fulfillment will follow.

Finally, remember that shadow is aligned with the ego and never wins in the end!

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.

The Four Phases of Emotional Healing

Emotional healing is an organized process which goes through four distinct, orderly phases similar to physical wound healing where missing cellular structures and layers of tissue are replaced.

The four, often overlapping, phases of physical and emotional wound healing are Shock/Hemostasis, Inflammation, Proliferation/Rebuilding and Remodeling. There are tools that work best for each phase, as well as gifts to be gleaned from each phase of the process.

  1. Shock/Hemostasis

In the hemostasis phase of physical wound healing the flow of blood stops and vessels constrict and seal themselves off, forming a clot to stop bleeding. Emotional wounds elicit a similar response from us: we may go into shock or denial of what has happened; or shut down because of the trauma. Healthy responses during the initial phase of emotional healing include:

        Face and acknowledge the pain. Recognize the impact the event had on you so you can deal with it and heal. Be sure to not avoid the issue or suppress it, because emotional healing requires brutal self-honesty.

        Grieve for your loss. You may have lost someone, or your trust was betrayed. You may feel falsely judged or accused, or even abandoned. By grieving that loss, you are creating space for emotional healing to follow.

  1. Inflammation

Just as the second phase of physical would healing is marked by inflammation, the second phase of emotional healing is marked by a period of inflamed emotion. You may experience waves of anger, sadness, rage, blame, shame or indignation as you review the hurtful event. During this time, you may have a strong need to express your feelings and emotions to sympathetic others. You may look for validation of your feelings. Heck, you may even want to lash out in revenge!

This is a critical phase for emotional healing: too much inflamed emotion and rehashing of the situation can hold you back from the healing process; too little emotional response can indicate prolonged denial and confine you to the victim role.

        Accountability: Take time to review the event from a non-judgmental perspective.  What went wrong and why? Were there any red flags you ignored? How did you contribute to the outcome? What could you have done differently? What did you learn from the experience?

        Forgiveness: Forgiving is not surrendering to the wrongdoing of another; it is a letting go of the bitterness you feel toward them. Anger and bitterness poison you and need to be released so you can fully heal. Perhaps you need to forgive yourself for things you did or said. If so, recognize that you can only do the best with what you know at any given time, and forgive yourself for not having known or done better. The choice to forgive is always difficult, but only this decision will bring genuine emotional healing.

  1. Rebuilding

In this important phase of physical healing also known as proliferation, the wound gets rebuilt with healthy tissue. Likewise, this is the phase in emotional healing where you get to choose new, healthy responses and coping mechanisms to the challenges life may send your way.

It is an exciting time of exploring new resources, finding new tools and integrating them into behaviors and strategies that can propel your emotional resilience to a new level. During this phase, choosing healthy responses to challenges will build elasticity into your life; fear-based or angry responses will delay your progress.

        Responsibility: Accept responsibility for your life, and recognize that your life is ultimately the only life you are responsible for. Know that nothing another says or does to you, can change in any way the truth of your inner being as you know yourself to be. Recognize that winners stand back up when they get knocked down; losers don’t… and choose which you want to be.

        Dare to dream again: Who would you be without this emotional setback?  What would you do? Then start taking steps toward these goals to move you out of the stagnation of woundedness, propelling you towards emotional healing and a vibrant life.

  1. Remodeling 

In this final phase, physical wounds are closing and may appear healed on the surface, although it will take some time for tissue at all levels to become strong and less sensitive.

In emotional healing, this phase can be challenging because people may see you as fine, not realizing that you still feel very sensitive or tentative. This is the phase where you get to put your new goals, strategies and boundaries into action. It is important to remain vigilant and avoid falling into the same pitfalls as before. Protect your emotional boundaries until you feel stronger and more resilient.

It is up to you to train people where your new emotional boundaries are, and how to treat you. Each time you respond to a challenge in a different, more empowering way, you will find yourself strengthened by the experience. Know that your new boundaries will be tested and you have the authority to enhance your coping strategies, reinforcing your emotional boundaries for long-term thriving.

        Maturation: By progressing though each of the three previous phases and integrating the wisdom of the experience into your life, you reach a new level of emotional resilience and maturity. By appropriately tending to your emotional wounds, you will renew yourself to live an empowered life.

About the author

©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.