What is an emotional bucket and how on earth would you know if it is overflowing? How could you tell? Well, our emotional bucket is a term I use for a place inside us where we store our feelings. Some of our feelings are not always on show are they? When that happens we need a place to store them. Often these can be feelings that come from stress or anxiety. Sometimes they can also be from things like self-doubt, feeling not good enough, embarrassment and shame. Feelings can also be from other areas in our lives like pressures at home or work and even from the way we are treated.
We all need some emotion in our day to day lives. When we have these feelings and situations that are difficult, negative, cruel or unpleasant then that’s when we use the emotional bucket as a place to store them. If these emotions are coming quickly or frequently in our lives, for whatever reason, then this bucket might get full quite quickly. For others it might take a long time to full the bucket. The speed at which it fills is not really the issue. For me when I work with people, my concern is how full it is and what can be done about it.
How do we know if our bucket is too full?
Storing these emotions is perfectly normal. It wouldn’t do to be walking around every day letting anger burst out, or have tears flowing all the time. If you often feel worried or nervous, frustrated, sad, irritable, angry, scared, upset, overwhelmed, inadequate or even wanting to escape then it’s likely that your emotional bucket is overflowing.
How do we know if our bucket is empty?
So if the bucket is completely empty then that’s not going to be great either. If this is the case then you might feel low, fed up, tired all the time, bored, negative, nervous, anxious or even depressed. An empty bucket can also drain those around you too.
We need our buckets to be somewhere in the middle, just right. That way we can be happier, more comfortable about ourselves and others, think more clearly, make better decisions and generally enjoy life more.
What helps all of this?
A really powerful way is to visualise letting go of the feelings. Imagine you are gathering up all the thoughts and feelings related to the anxiety, negativity (or whatever) and in your mind picture filling a hot air balloon with them and letting it float up into the sky. Or you can load up a boat and have them float out to sea, or anything else really. I once had a lady imagine putting everything on an island and blowing it up! Whatever works for you is good.
There are lots of smaller ways to add positivity and some pause in your day or your life. Whether this is a deep breath between one task and the next or something that takes a bit more time, it can all be helpful. Here are some suggestions that can help empty the bucket and also fill a bucket which is feeling empty:
- Spending time with others, partners, friends, family (as long as they kind and thoughtful)
- Laughing, smiling, feeling joy
- Eating healthily, so that you nourish yourself from the inside
- Going to for a walk or run
- Spending time in nature
- Dancing or singing
- Being creative with things like baking, knitting, drawing or all manner of things that bring achievement.
- Listening to Music
- Reading anything enjoyable and absorbing
- Zoning out – watching a film or ‘rubbishy’ tv programmes
- Doing nothing!
- Alternative therapies like massage or reflexology
- Problem solving the issue, if possible