Feel Something? Me?



Do you ever find it difficult to know how you’re feeling? We can sometimes be so used to blocking our emotions, hiding them or suppressing them, that we can lose touch completely with any real sense of how we feel.

So, what happens then? Our intellect takes over, and everything is done or decided through our heads. Now, this isn’t always a bad thing, our heads can make very good, rational decisions. But the best way would be to bring your intellect and your emotions together, and to find a happy compromise between the two.

Have you ever made a decision, and later had that ‘funny’ feeling? You just know that something is wrong – but you can’t put your finger on it? It’s your intuitive emotional side trying to send you a message. Usually, we ignore these messages. We may see them as unreal or illogical, and rely solely on our minds to get us through life. But emotions have a strange way of making themselves felt even if we do our best to block them.

So, how do you get in touch with your emotions? The first step is to raise your awareness of emotions in general, then of your personal emotions. So, how many emotions can you list? There are six ‘basic’ emotions that everyone in every culture feels and these are anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise. But of course, there are many other emotions, for example: anguish, anxiety, boredom, contempt, dread, horror, indifference, passion, shame, sorrow, surprise, terror.  It’s a good exercise to see how many emotions you can list, to test your knowledge of the emotional continuum.

Now you need to keep a track of your emotions, so you could start an ‘emotion diary’ and at the end of each day think back and try to remember how many emotions you felt during the day, why did they change, what were you doing, who were you with?

That might sound easy, but the tricky part is actually knowing what emotion you were feeling. If you’ve spent a long time hiding or suppressing your emotions, you’re going to have to do some work to get back in touch with them.

So how do we do that? Below is a step by step approach:

  • Find somewhere quiet to sit where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes
  • Focus your attention on your body. Let yourself become aware of what’s going on in your body. Notice where there’s any tension or tightness. Notice any other feelings at all.
  • Don’t try to change what you feel, just notice it.
  • Focus on the middle area of your body, your stomach, chest and throat. Notice any sensations that might be there.
  • When you feel sensations, take some time to discover exactly what they’re like. Are they strong sensations? What do they feel like? Does it feel like a knot inside you, or maybe it feels heavy, as if you have a stone inside you? Try to describe it as best you can. You may simply notice that there’s nothing there – just a space. That’s fine. Whatever you find is right for you just at this moment.
  • Now check back with that feeling – and notice any words or images that come to your mind. And just sit with them for a while.
  • Now, if you feel ready, you can ask this feeling a question.  Begin with: ‘what emotion are you?’ then ‘what are you trying to tell me, what do you want?’
  • Wait patiently for your answers. It’s ok if nothing happens, if you don’t get an answer, and it’s ok if you do. Don’t try to force anything. You’re just trying to gently get in touch with your feelings, so there’s no rush and no pressure.

If you practice this exercise a few times a day, you’ll soon get into the habit of knowing how you feel and understanding your emotions. You can then live a more balanced life as your intellect and your emotions complement each other.


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