Ick comes in many forms: sadness, jealousy, shame, regret, fear, guilt.

Ick isn’t fun and it’s not always clear how to properly sit with and navigate through these types of feelings.

Sometimes the reason for the feeling is clear, it makes sense. And...sometimes it doesn’t make any sense at all.

There can be stop-gap solutions that provide temporary relief in the moment, such as internet browsing and eating, but these behaviors don’t provide lasting solace.

So what does work?

I’m still early in navigating this question, but I’ve found that in most situations, bringing curiosity and/or gratitude helps me to both properly give attention to my ick and move through it.

When I bring curiosity to feelings of ick I ask:

  • Why am I feeling this way?
  • What is this feeling trying to communicate?
  • How might I best learn from this?
  • Do others experience this feeling?**
  • What might I start or stop doing in my life to better process or combat this feeling?

When I bring gratitude to feelings of ick I ask:

  • Can I be grateful to be experiencing this emotion in the first place?
  • Is there something in this experience that I can be grateful for?
  • What else in my life am I grateful for?
  • How can I bring extra gratitude to the people in my life that I can learn from right now?
  • What’s one thing I’m grateful for at this moment?

Asking one, or multiple questions above combined with a deep breath works wonders. It’s not that I instantly flip to bliss or happiness, but it creates a pathway by which I can navigate from ick and into a more peaceful and contented state of mind.

I encourage you to invoke curiosity and/or gratitude the next time you experience a feeling of ick you’re not quite sure what to do with.

And if all else fails, and sometimes it will, don’t forget to smile.

** If you do ask the question I shared above, “Do others experience this feeling?,” remember that the answer is always, “Yes!” That’s common humanity. You are not alone in experiencing ick. To feel what you feel is to be human.