Getting the right kind of exercise can also make a world of difference, as can seven to nine hours of restful, refreshing sleep per day. Let your eyes relax into their sockets and feel your facial muscles and scalp becoming soft and relaxed. Mentally scan your body for tension and when you find any, tighten the part, then relax it. Allow yourself to melt into the floor. Breathe into your abdomen and with each exhalation, feel the weight of your body sinking deeper into the floor. Focus your attention on the breath. Enjoy being supported by the floor. If your mind wanders, come back to the breath. In a seated position with your eyes closed, press your right middle and index fingers against the palm of your right hand. Press your right thumb to the side of your right nostril as you inhale through your left nostril for 8 counts. Shut both nostrils using your right thumb on the right side of your nose and your first finger (forefinger) on the left side of your nose and retain the breath. Emotions can come up out of nowhere sometimes, and you might not have any clue why you are all of a sudden feeling sad, or unhappy. Likewise, you can be very clear about where your emotions are coming from, based on whatever experience you are having that might be triggering you to feel a certain way. The key thing to do at the moment you are feeling your emotions is to identify them. This is an incredibly important first step. It is how you begin to learn how to master your emotions and develop emotional intelligence. You have to know why you are sad, angry, frustrated, melancholy so that you can know what to do about it. Let's use a general example, not specific to the empath, but to any emotional experience, in which you are fighting with your partner, and you start to feel your emotions shift from feeling like you have a diplomatic argument, to a fight that involves more intense feelings. You begin to feel like your temperature is rising, or your blood is boiling, as you try to defend your point of view against this counterpoint from your partner. At this moment, you have an emotion, and what you have to IDENTIFY is what the emotion is and why it is happening right now.

In this case, it might feel like an impossible moment to try and process your feelings, but that is just what emotional mastery is all about: learning how to understand your emotions well so that they don't get out of hand, to begin with. Another key issue is life stress--the challenges of family, relationships, work, and personal life. As a great deal of scientific research has shown, stress has a powerful effect on your body. Finding effective ways to modify stress is crucial to achieving hormonal balance and freeing yourself from many symptoms once and for all. You know your body and yourself better than anyone else does. If you think something isn't working properly, you are almost certainly correct. So let's look at three major types of hormonal imbalance that commonly plague women. I want you to see just how hormonal imbalance creates the symptoms you've been suffering from. Years ago, when I was first struggling with my own hormonal shifts, I had heard about PMS, but the condition and treatments for it were not well known at that time. These days, the term has become an almost humorous cliche for an out-of-control woman. That's unfortunate, but at least we are aware of the problem! Hold it for as long as comfortable. Repeat on the left side. Continue to alternate with one complete inhale/exhale per thumb/forefinger. Wake-up call: appreciation of nature When you are walking in nature, you can smile and say hello to what you see, hear, and come into contact with. Smile at a pebble you happen to step on. Smile at the sky, the trees, the wind. With a smile, you can feel your breath and your steps more clearly. Breathing in, I notice I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I notice I am breathing out. It is amazing how pausing for a second to reflect can shift the dynamic of the fight. You might suggest that you both take a moment to breathe while you collect your thoughts so that you can work to identify your feelings. This is where you get to use your intuition as your guide. Steps to Identifying Your Emotion What are you feeling? You are angry. Why are you angry? You are in a fight with someone. Why are you in a fight with someone? Because they are challenging your words and how you are expressing yourself? It turns out that PMS is very, very real. For example, if you feel ravenous one moment and bloated the next, that's not all in your head. Similarly, the cravings you experience are not just based on feelings, and the weight gain that frustrates you is not a matter of willpower. These conditions have a biological basis. And if your weight fluctuates and you retain fluids, that's because of disrupted production of thyroid hormone, as well as the effects on your kidneys of excessive stress hormones, including cortisol, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Finally, if your mood, energy, focus, and concentration swerve all over the place, that's because your hormones affect your neurotransmitters, the biochemicals that allow for communication within the nervous system. If you crave sugar, sweets, and starches, that's partly because of the ways hormones affect your brain's response to another neurotransmitter called serotonin. Anxiety, depression, and mood swings can likewise result from imbalanced levels of stress hormones, serotonin, and other neurotransmitters, including dopamine. One way that PMS can work is to strip away your defense mechanisms, leaving you far more vulnerable than usual to emotions that otherwise lie well below the surface.

In that sense, you might think of PMS as your wake-up system, intensifying your emotions to help you confront something you otherwise might have missed. Breathing in, I am aware of my body. Breathing out, I calm my body. Breathing in, I know I am alive. Breathing out, I understand the joy of being alive. Breathing in, I embrace an unpleasant feeling. Breathing out, I calm that unpleasant feeling. Breathing in, I look deeply at fear. Breathing out, I liberate myself from fear. Breathing in, I observe a flower. Breathing out, I contemplate its impermanence. Why are they challenging your words and how you are expressing yourself? Because I feel threatened and unable to express myself, and it makes me feel angry. It is a way for you to appreciate what is happening at the moment so that you can help yourself and your partner to resolve your experience. Identifying your emotional experiences are what help you grow. If you can take a step back and truly consider what it is that you are feeling, then you can learn how to make accurate and healthy processes for working through the more challenging aspects of any emotional experience. It is as simple as doing a quick check in to honor what you are going through. The key is to try and identify your emotion as it begins to occur so that you are not dealing with it days later. This ability to identify how you are feeling in the moment is what helps you to practice being a secure and grounded individual. The next step in the formula will help you respond well to what you are identifying.

Your emotions are valid, and there is a reason that they are coming up. PMS might even offer some insights and messages about your life that you may want to listen to. To hear those messages clearly, however, it helps to ease your symptoms--both physical and emotional--with improved nutrition, sleep, and exercise, as well as with supplements (and, in some cases, bioidentical hormones; more about that in article 4). Then, when emotions come up, you'll have the physical and emotional resources to evaluate the situation and take action. The stakes are especially high because your current experience with PMS predicts your likely experience with perimenopause and menopause down the road. An easy cycle now probably means an easy transition later. Hormonal challenges now often predict problems later. The good news is that the help you give your hormones today through diet, lifestyle, and psychological support can also be a real game changer down the road. Anyone who has suffered through even a few hours of intense cramping knows how bad the pain can be. Even if you've experienced only mild discomfort during your period, you might still find yourself dividing up the month into before, during, and after. Breathing in, I look at an object of desire. Breathing out, I see the disappearance of desire. As you get ready to leave your home, office, or a room, consciously approach the door. Do you have what you need? Walk out that door and enter the world with your eyes wide open and a smile on your face. Normally, you scratch without realizing you itch, seldom noticing the intention that activates the body's movements. What you are seeking to do is to have mindfulness of bodily movements and functions. Turn on some music that is conducive to sitting and listening. Set it on a continuous loop.