“The emotions aren’t always immediately subject to reason, but they are always immediately subject to action” – William James
Emotions are sensations you can feel in your body. You can also “feel” them with your mind, but that’s a dangerous place for an emotion to live because your mind tend to spin things out of control when you are not paying attention.
Once your emotions have made themselves known, they will leave you alone. All they ask is that you feel their presence. That can best be done by feeling your emotions in your body, not in your mind.
- Find Someplace Still and Quiet – It is easier to listen in a still, quiet space. Emotions are subtle. If there is a lot of “noise” you may not be able to hear them.
- Name Your Emotions – This is about all you will use your mind for. I find this helpful because when I have a feeling, it’s often a jumble of different emotions. Just like when you pick up a necklace that’s become tangled together, separate the strands so you will know what you are dealing with.
- Feel Your Emotions In Your Body – Don’t explore your emotions with your mind, explore them with your body. During this step, don’t think about the emotion. Notice how it feels. Do you feel warm and alert with anger? Or heavy with sadness? Maybe restless with frustration? Feel all the sensations that you can. You may want to name them too, just don’t start thinking about them.
- Sit and Feel – Once you’ve explored how you feel, sit for a few minutes. Give in to the sensation of the emotion. Once you stop resisting it, it stops pushing itself onto you.
- When the Emotion Lets Up, It’s Time to Get Up – Wait until the sensation starts to subside. When you have explored fully, and then sat with it until it’s end, get up and move on.
Note: This post was inspired by this comment on the post When Your Emotions Are Running Away With You:
“Hi Amanda — thanks for this post. One of the things I do is similar to the second thing you said, which is to notice how the emotion manifests in my body. If I’m feeling angry, for instance, that’s usually my lower back getting uncomfortably warm. When I look at it this way I realize that “anger” is just a name I give to that warmth, and that stops my mind from coming up with the kind of stories I think many of us end up spinning out when we’re feeling angry (”I’ve got to take revenge,” “this situation is unsafe,” and so on).” – Chris Edgar, Purpose Power Coaching
How do you deal with challenging emotions? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments!