“You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.”


Yesterday I was very emotional.  Anger and frustration took over my body, creating dark energy that seeped through my veins, straight into my heart. Depression ensued. But this time I remembered a tool. I spoke out loud to a dear friend of mine: “I have anger,” I said.“

Today, anger feels like uncomfortable, red hot, tingling energy in my heart.  I also have sadness.  Sadness right now feels like constriction in my throat, as though I cannot take a full breath of fresh air.

As soon as I separated myself from my emotions by saying “I have anger and sadness,” rather than “I am angry and sad,” I noticed that the anger and sadness lost their power

Learning to ride the waves

When I described how feelings felt in my body, they released their tension and positive energy began to move through my veins once again. I felt powerful when I simply sat with my feelings, as uncomfortable as they were.  When I felt how quickly the emotions dissipated when I named and described them without making them a part of my identity, I became hopeful and excited.  Looking back, I realize that I felt angry, sad, powerful, hopeful, and excited in the same five minutes.

When we choose to feel and describe our feelings rather than numb them, we create an opportunity for deeper healing and personal awareness.

Emotions are like ocean waves. They rise and fall every day, every hour, and sometimes, every minute.

Jon Kabat-Zinn said: “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” Our job in recovery is to learn to surf the waves of our emotions, so we can stay afloat and enjoy life. If we manage our thoughts and feel our feelings, we are able to ride the waves with ease. Rather than get stuck and attached to our thoughts and feelings, we can choose to arrive fully in our bodies and minds, knowing that outside stimulus influences our thoughts and our emotions. 

When we show up as our full selves, we are able to see that we are so much deeper, wiser, and more capable than our thoughts and emotions. 

We have a soul-self that stays grounded in our heart center providing the balance that we need to ride the waves gracefully.

Riding the Waved of Emotions Recovery Warriors

How do you separate yourself from your thoughts and emotions?

Image Source: Weheartit
Written By
More from Erin O'Brien
Yoga Radically Transformed My Life. Here’s How Yoga Can Help You, Too.
Image: @stubisdon oga is a path that radically transforms my life. I...
Read More
Join the Conversation


  1. says: didi

    Okay….that was beautiful and helpful to read! So good to be reminded to ride the waves rather than wish they did not exist…
    I am loving this blog!!! Thank you!

  2. says: Monkey O'Ham

    ooooh brilliant! i love this…. ‘surfing the waves is much more fun than dwelling on the reasons why the waves keep coming’. amen sister.

Leave a comment
Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *