Whilst it’s good to have an awareness of how you’re feeling, it can be difficult knowing what to do when it comes taking the next step.
Sometimes we might feel that we want to be more proactive with the emotion – to do something with it. We’ve got a technique that will help you with just that.
Next time you feel overwhelmed, try the following exercise which will help give you a better understanding of how and why you feel the way you do.
1. Close your eyes and take a few deep breaths in and out, allowing the mind to settle.
2. Turn your attention to the emotion itself. Are you feeling angry, anxious, stressed, sad? Try to pin point the underlying emotion that is troubling you.
3. Turn your attention to the physical senses. Where do you feel this emotion physically? Is it in your stomach, head, chest, legs? It’s possible that you might feel it in lots of different parts of the body, perhaps you feel that it’s ‘everywhere’. Whatever the case, just try and turn your awareness to the part in the body where it feels most prominent.
4. Move closer to this feeling of discomfort, sinking down it. This part of the exercise might feel a bit difficult – we have, after all, spent most of our lives running away from these feelings. However, if you can, try and notice how you feel as you move gently closer to it…
5. As soon as you have found the area, gently rest your attention on that place. Sink softly into the feeling, allowing yourself to sink into it the same way that you would your bed or favourite couch. After a minute, try and sink a bit further into it, and then again – repeating this a few times.
6. Once you feel that you have got to the very core of the feeling, start to imagine that you’re breathing through that place. Imagine that the body is breathing in and out through that very area. If the mind wanders off, just gently bring your attention back to the same place and continue resting your awareness on the body, breathing in and out of this area of discomfort.
7. After a few minutes, start to allow your awareness to get a little broader, and bring your attention to the rise and fall of your chest and stomach as you breathe. After a short while of doing this, gently open your eyes.
Practising this exercise regularly will help give you a greater understanding of your emotions, allowing you to better cope with difficult situations when they arise.
By Tom Key. For more information about dealing with stress management, check out the Headspace website to find out how meditation can help you to beat feeling of anxiety.