Try for freeTry for free
MeditationHolding Opposing Emotions

Holding Opposing Emotions

Give yourself permission to feel the full range of complex human emotions — even opposites that may arise simultaneously, like anger and hope, or joy and exhaust.

Try 14 days free

Better mental health starts with Headspace. Unrivaled expertise to make life feel a little easier, using guided meditations, mindfulness tips, focus tools, sleep support, and dedicated programs.

Try 14 days free
Better mental health starts with Headspace

Hi, it's Dora here. So at times when things happen in the world, there's our own personal experience, our perception, and then there's also the collective experience taking place. Say we're having a wonderful day, things are going really well, and then we see something devastating in the news. Something interesting happens, where we feel grateful to be at a certain distance from the outrage but also experience a sense of regret for feeling grateful because it's not happening to us. We're relieved we live in a certain part of the world, yet feel a sense of hopelessness for other parts of the world. In times like these, the contradictory nature of our emotions are meant to be felt, rather than trying to make sense of them, experiencing them as they are, in their entirety, and then letting go of the storylines that come with them. And the thing is the human experience isn't meant to be lived in absolutes, where we should and can only feel and experience one thing at a time. Especially something like emotions. Instead of trying to distract ourselves, fight against, or judge how we're feeling, it's about creating space and holding all of our emotions without identifying with our stories and opinions about them. In turn, we increase our capacity to experience the full range of emotions and allowing us to let them go more freely. So this means it's okay to feel angry yet hopeful, confused yet trusting, grieving and grateful. Holding these paradoxical experiences and honoring the dualistic nature of life, we start to see that one can't really exist without the other. We know anger because we know joy. We know the depths of sadness because we also know the lightness of happiness. By embracing both and nurturing the totality of our experience we create greater emotional resiliency and that internal struggle of choosing which one to tend to eases. Essentially, when we tend to one, we tend to them all. So let's give this a try. Just inviting the body to a place of stillness. Settling in and getting comfortable. Lying down or sitting upright, whatever feels best for you. The eyes can be open or closed. And taking a few deep breaths here. Breathing in through the nose, allowing the breath to flow into the body. And on the exhale, imagining the breath washing away any tension and any tightness. Again, breathing in, filling and expanding the body. And breathing out, letting everything go. And just continuing to breathe in this way for a few more breaths. Now, if you'd like, gently laying one hand on your heart and the other on your belly. Holding yourself here with kindness and compassion. And repeating these affirmations after me, or just allowing these words to wash over you, and continuing to take some nice, gentle, deep breaths. So repeating after me, I can be angry yet hopeful, and it's okay to be both. I allow myself to be both. I can...


Duration9 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

    More about Andy
  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

    More about Eve
  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

    More about Dora
  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

    More about Kessonga
  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

    More about Rosie
Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Your lifelong guide to better mental health

Stress, sleep, and all the challenging emotions — care for your mind with the everyday mental health app that's shown to make a difference.

Try 14 days free
Look After Your Mind

Look after your mind

Proven guided meditations and programs to help you stress less, sleep more soundly, and better navigate life’s challenges

Science Backed


Studies show that using Headspace for 30 days can reduce stress, increase resilience, and improve overall well-being

Explore Content

Explore 1000+ 
expert-led exercises

Access our library of meditations, breathing exercises, and guidance videos for stress, sleep, focus, everyday anxiety , parenting, and more.

Member reviews

Hear from some of our members

Your app brings so much peace and tolerance to our home.




Changing my thoughts has allowed me to change my life.




The stress and loneliness courses … taught me how to comfort myself.




Headspace provides me with … a connection to myself, and a disconnection from negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations.




Related to 'Holding Opposing'

Creating Your Safe Space

Meditation8 min

Find your center amongst difficult circumstances.

More to explore

Beginning Meditation


Reframe Stress and Relax


New and Popular


Becoming a Mindful Parent

    • Terms & conditions
    • Privacy policy
    • Consumer Health Data
    • Your privacy choices
      Privacy Choices Icon
    • CA Privacy Notice
  • © 2024 Headspace Inc.
  • Terms & conditions
  • Privacy policy
  • Consumer Health Data
  • Your privacy choices
    Privacy Choices Icon
  • CA Privacy Notice