If feelings are our compass needles, we need to take them seriously as information sources.The purpose of your feelings is to help you focus attention and action so that your brain will work out and carry out a plan of how to deal with the situation as adaptive as possible.
As an example: If someone knocks on your door, you will likely be interested and happy and want to open the door if you know it is a friend, but more surprised and scared, at least in the beginning, if it is a stranger, and even much more scared if the stranger has something that looks like a weapon. Then you do not want to open the door. Or as in the picture, imagine you got this bouquet of roses from a friend, a loved one or a stalker, how would that change how you feel and act… Notice what happened right now in your body as you read the last sentence.
Try this: If you want to ‘get rid’ of a feeling, it first has to be heard by you, because that is the purpose of the feeling. The way a feeling can get heard is by:
1. Noticing/naming it
2. Identifying where you notice it in the body and how strong it is, e.g. on a scale 1 to 10, and
3. the reason why you are having the feeling as well as
4. what the feeling motivates you to do.
For example: I feel really scared, level 8, my whole body is trembling, my pulse and heart is racing, my throat is tight and my gut is about to turn inside out because I got these roses from a person of whom I am unsure of the intentions. I have to make sure to lock the door and be apprehensive about/understand who sent them. (Later in the day she found out that it was her mother who sent them because she wanted to surprise her, but the card got lost in the transportation…).
If feelings are not heard, they often get stored in the body and can also become psychosomatic symptoms, psychological symptoms or even disorders. But feelings can also be disproportionate – see next session of what to do then.
#feelingsexercise #reframing #affectawareness