How and Why We Should Feel Our Feelings

How and Why We Should Feel Our Feelings

29.11.2021 Off By manager_1

It is actually incredibly difficult to really feel our emotions, contrary to the long-held belief that it is somehow weak. To avoid feeling them, we resort to a variety of avoidance strategies, such as drinking, binge eating, gambling, and being too busy. It turns out that learning to feel, and not just to think about, our feelings is essential to our growth and our ability to achieve what’s most important.

Why is it so hard to feel emotions? Psychology Today’s Dr. Victoria Lemle Beckner is also a psychologist at the University of California San Francisco. She writes that emotions are meant to drive “adaptive behavior responses” to our environment. “I perceive danger! I must flee! “Feelings do NOT require us to slow down or really feel them.

Beckner argues that any attempt to control or reduce our emotions will lead to the root issues. She says that it is essential to learn how to “skillfully experience” emotions, as our feelings are a sign of what is important to us. Sometimes we feel sad because our desire for more connection makes us sad. You may feel angry about injustice or mistreatment. Only after we have remained with the “uncomfortable welter” of emotions can we learn new things about ourselves, resist reactive, sabotaging behavior, and choose wisely to take action in support of our deeper values.

You’ve probably heard vague instructions to “sit with” or “hold space” your feelings if you’ve ever spent time in self-improvement. But what exactly does this mean? How can we “feel our feelings fully” in this vague and confusing way?

There is one TikTok video which has nearly 1 million views. Jeff Guenther, founder and CEO of Therapy Den, outlines the process in simple, digestible steps there. Find below the six-step process for “feeling the feeling and letting it pass through your body.” Guenther says that if you don’t feel the feeling, disaster could strike.

  • Step 1: Identify your feelings

Guenther suggests that the first step is to ask the question: “What emotion are you experiencing?” If you find yourself in a relationship with your sweetie, and suddenly feel anxious, what is it? It’s almost like you were a reporter. “I feel fear and worry.”

  • Step 2: Don’t analyse it

Wait, what? Is it not necessary to intellectually investigate this feeling to understand why it is gaining control over our bodies and minds? Nope. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. It’s not worth thinking about. Guenther warns against creating stories. This step will require you to actively avoid engaging in stories that are based on feelings. You can think things like “I don’t deserve this love” and “I’m probably going to screw this up too.” These thoughts invite your brain to create more reasons for fear. This is how you think about your feelings. The more you think about your emotions, the more intense your feelings will be.

  • Step 3: Find out where the sensation is coming from within your body

Close your eyes. Take a deep, slow breath. Do you feel it in your stomach, abdomen, head or throat? Sink into it. Keep noticing it. Keep in mind that we are not here to make stories or intellectualize this feeling. Simply feel it. If your brain is struggling for something, describe what it feels like in your body. “My chest feels tight. My toes tingle. My breath is shallow.”

  • Step 4: Breathe it in

Guenther suggests that we “breathe into it, give it energy.” It could be healing energy or positive energy. Focus on the sensation.” Because I don’t know how to send positive energy or healing energy, I do deep breathing and repeat “I acknowledge this fear.” This anger is acknowledged.

Or, as Emily McDowell, writer/illustrator, instructs us, “Cry, shake etc.” “If you aren’t, like in Target.” (Personally, we’d add throw stuff, scream and punch a pillow.) You can do whatever your body requires.

  • Step five: Let it move through you

Notice how it feels when you are only focusing on the sensation. Is it moving from your chest to your jaw? Are you feeling it getting weaker or stronger? Instead of focusing on the thought-story mode, shift your attention to the sensations in your body. Pay attention to its journey. Guenther says, “The more you observe it, and the more you feel it without thinking about it, it will start to dissipate more.”

  • Step six: Be confident that it will leave and return to the present

Are you still breathing? Keep breathing. Slowly, deeply. McDowell said, “Let it exist and trust it will leave.” When the feeling becomes more tolerable (weaker), consciously bring your attention back to the present moment. Refocus your attention on what you were doing at the time that the unpleasant feeling occurred and “notice” that you have survived.

Continue this practice until it becomes second nature.