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In the first part of this text, I wrote about emotions, the need to feel and digest them, and the reasons why this is difficult for all of us today. If you haven’t already, be sure to read it here, so that today’s continuation of the text will make more sense and also bring you more benefits.
The importance of feeling emotions
Now let’s go to the concrete steps you can take to become aware of how you feel, and to then successfully process these feelings and release them from your body if you wish.
Let me give you an example: Think of a situation in which someone next to you became very emotional without being touched at all (eg a sunset, a walk in nature, a song on the radio, etc.). Whether it is extreme happiness or sadness, without emotion we miss the experience. Same event, two different people and two completely different experiences. Why? Precisely because of the emotion that each of them feels, because emotion is an experience. When you look at it this way, you understand that emotions are not just fleeting feelings, but complex structures that can be the key to understanding our desires, needs, patterns of behavior, and relationships.
Awareness of body sensations is the first step on the way to feeling and processing emotions. Sit or lie down somewhere alone and become aware of your breath. If you want you can close your eyes. Scan your body and start recognizing what is happening on a physical level. Feel if you can notice any sensations in the body; body aches? tension? feeling sick in your stomach? chest tightness? Explore if there is any heaviness or fuzzy feeling anywhere. You don’t have to name an emotion to feel it, but pay attention to whether the sensation is pleasant or unpleasant. If you can describe what you feel in your body, you are well on your way to understanding your emotions. Try keeping a diary in which you record the sensations that arise every day. This practice can reveal patterns and triggers that are often unconscious and automatic.
Continue to scan your body, noticing each part of the body and what it is in contact with. If you want, you can gently move the parts of the body so that you can feel them more easily. Emotions are neither good nor bad, but they are mostly pleasant or unpleasant. What makes them unpleasant is the resistance of feeling, behind which fear is often hidden based on some past experiences, as I explained in the first part of this text. When we get over that initial fear, i.e. resistance, we realize that the sensation is not as scary as we imagined. Accepting sensations without judgment is an essential aspect of processing emotions. Instead of criticizing yourself for how you feel, offer yourself support and compassion by being an observer of the sensation without trying to change it. This self-compassion creates space for feelings and natural processing of emotions.
If you feel discomfort, allow your attention to dwell on that discomfort. You can take 30 to 60 seconds to become more aware and feel it. After that, open your eyes and shift your focus to your surroundings. Scan the room you are in, noticing the colors and textures of everything you see. Choose one subject and focus only on it. You don’t need to fix, change, resist or judge anything. Simply witness what is happening and breathe consciously. Later you can do something creative like writing, creating, working with your hands or body to give voice to your emotions and discomfort that may have been intense.
Presence means being in the moment when the emotion is happening, without analysis and projections. Keep your eyes open and bring your focus back to the (uncomfortable) sensation. Observe this feeling while simultaneously looking at the object in the room that you have chosen. Stay here for a minute or two and then gently end the exercise. Practicing mindfulness can help you observe your feelings without judgment or over-identification. Also, meditation, especially techniques like body scan and META meditation, can stimulate emotional awareness and create a safe space for processing.
This burst begins to connect us with our body, and by keeping our eyes open and connecting with the environment around us, we can remain more present and thus consciously process bodily sensations.
Once we learn to feel our emotions, and to process and release them in a healthy and regular manner, we will have the opportunity to live with more compassion, awareness and presence. Not only will we provide ourselves with better mental and emotional health, less stress, and better relationships, but we will provide the same for others. Emotionally intelligent people have been proven to live easier and more comfortably and have better self-esteem, face life’s challenges more easily and feel more empathy towards themselves and the world around them.
If you are ready for personal work with my guidance and support, click on the LINK and fill out the application form. I work with the body, emotions and sensations that are present in the moment using ancient techniques and new scientific knowledge, but what I really teach you is to truly know yourself and be present in your body. I believe that all wisdom is already within us and that our body is always whispering to us.