Being okay with not being okay. What does this even mean? Embrace and accept the imperfections of life. Nobody is perfect. Nobody is going to have their life together every second of the day. At some point, havoc is going to bombard your life and suppressing the emotions that come with that will only cause internal emotional damage. Society thinks you should always have a smile on your face and anything but, means your life is in utter chaos. Well, I disagree. Utter chaos breaks up the monotony of a seemingly happy and stress free life. Who wants to live in a falsified state of reality? I hope everyone answers NO to that question. Unfortunately, I know that is not the case here. Hopefully, I can help spread the word that accepting all forms of emotions is the way to go!
Through the journey of self discovery, or even just living life day to day, you are going to have to live through moments you least desire. That just comes with the territory of living life. Life is never going to be rainbows and butterflies 100% of the time. Being okay with not being okay, means just that. It’s okay to feel sad, angry, depressed, frustrated, insecure, hopeless, and everything else deemed socially unacceptable. Those feelings are natural. When people try to suppress those feelings and portray only happiness, trouble starts to brew. Not addressing those feelings and trying to cover them up only sends your body into even more distress. According to Psychologist, Laura Campbell-Sills, “Individuals who fail to develop flexible and effective emotion regulation skills may experience excessive and persistent emotions that interfere with their sense of well-being” . In simple terms, if you try to hide and silence ‘negative’ emotions, you are actually hurting yourself more than helping.
To understand the biology behind this, let me give you a quick run down. Your Autonomic Nervous System is part of your nervous system that controls involuntary functions. It is separated into two parts, your Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS) and Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS). The SNS is known as the “flight or fight” while the PNS allows you to “rest and digest.” The SNS is really meant to be used short-term in times of stress in your life. Activating your SNS will increase your heart rate, blood pressure, cause your pupils to dilate, slow down gut motility, contraction of muscles (arms, legs, hands, feet), adrenaline release, and decrease in saliva production . Those stimuli are meant to get you out of a sticky situation. This is not an ideal ‘state of being’ 24/7. On the other hand, your PNS is meant to help control homeostasis, and allow your body to recover. When your PNS is activated your blood pressure is lowered, blood sugar is more stable, you have better overall energy, and your sleep is better regulated (chronic SNS will affect your circadian rhythm) . This is where mindfulness comes into play. You hear of people wanting to meditate, do yoga, take a hot bath, or experience nature. They are purposely creating an environment to be in that will activate their PNS.
Having the ability to turn off your SNS and turn on your PNS is a very helpful tool. Now with that being said, being okay with not being okay doesn’t mean that by turning on your PNS you will never feel negative emotions. By activating your PNS while still allowing yourself to experience those negative emotions, you have just created a more accepting place to process them without the harsh internal effects. This is something that will take time and practice, but the end results are well worth the effort. I am still a work in progress on this task at hand, but I have noticed a considerable change by just incorporating different breathing techniques. My form of meditation is listening to music and doing deep breathing. The state of mind that puts me in is a very relaxing one. I should really do this everyday, but that is a goal of mine that I am currently working towards. Everyday is just another day to improve yourself.
Being okay with not being okay is an idea that everyone should think about. These moments of ‘negative emotions’ are something that everyone will have to endure at sometime or another. Finding peace with accepting those emotions are what is key to living a balanced lifestyle. It is an act that should be practiced everyday, and will eventually become second nature. So if you are feeling sad, feel sad and if you are feeling frustrated, feel frustrated. Don’t be afraid of those emotions, but instead accept and allow yourself to process and reset!
Please comment below any tips that you like to do that helps create a mindful environment!
 Campbell-Sills, Laura, et al. “Effects of suppression and acceptance on emotional responses of individuals with anxiety and mood disorders.” Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 44, no. 9, 1 July 2005, pp. 1251–1263., doi:10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.001.
 Earl, Nick. “Relaxation 101-How to Activate the Parasympathetic Nervous System.” Healthvibed, healthvibed.com/relaxation-101-how-to-activate-the-pns/.