Emotions – Allowing vs. Wallowing (i.e. feeling stuck in the allowing phase)

It seems that the idea (in simplified form) is to identify the thought that is causing the emotion and if we don’t like our reason for the thought and the result it’s causing, change the thought. Or, if we’re not quite “there yet”, allow the feeling first and then work our way up to a better feeling thought.

Right now, I feel like I’m stuck in the allowing phase.

An event triggered some sadness yesterday. I recognized it and consciously “felt into it”, which, at almost 60 years old, I’m just learning to do. I genuinely had some tears. In the middle of a restaurant. But the thing is, now I can’t seem to turn it off. It’s as if I’ve opened not only a floodgate of sadness but also the sadness-causing thoughts that accompanies it. My toddler brain is on a Sharpie rampage, drawing one sad thought after another and I feel a little swallowed up by the resulting sadness. I’m trying to simply allow the feelings but my mind is offering me that there may be a fine line between allowing and wallowing and I’m not quite sure how to tell the difference nor how to move forward. I feel a little stuck here. On the other hand, it would make sense that I might just have decades of sadness “stored up” and maybe it’s just going to take a while to let it all out.

Is there a strategy for recognizing when we might just be ruminating and how to break the spell?