This week’s blog is perfectly timed with events in my own life which is funny since I plan the flow of my writing in advance! You can see more about this in our Move Strong Method Weekend Wisdom from 1.27.19

It’s all about emotions this week. The watery world of feeling that some of us like to swim in and stir up and some would rather run away from and pretend didn’t exist.

There’s one thing that’s for sure with emotions; when you deny, push down or try to squash your feelings, the opposite of what you intended happens. They get bigger, louder and can become quite consuming.

One of the best and most easily absorbed examples of this is the animated movie Inside Out. Your emotions operate inside your mind so much like it’s endearing characters. They relate, have conversations and trigger each other to heightened states of arousal and feeling! If you haven’t seen it, it’s only 90 minutes. Stop binge watching the latest show and get a laugh along with some insight when you check it out.

Here’s the crazy part. While our emotions are busy pulling us this way and that or while we’re busy avoiding feelings and pushing them away, something happens in all of us, including me. Know what is it?

We lose sight of our internal voice. The true voice that most say they can hear or feel from below their chin. Your brain is the narrator for this deeper voice and while it can feel like the message is from your head, it’s often coming from somewhere else in your body besides your brain.

So What?

Whether you’ve been reading the last few blogs on contemplating change and giving yourself permission to be successful at contemplation; reflection stirs up emotion. It’s important to note and be aware of because once emotions become part of any “rational” process, it’s easy to get mixed up.

You see, every emotion has a story it wants you to listen to. Some with well worn grooves that you’ve heard a million times in your head and some with uncomfortable physical symptoms like fear, disgust or doubt. Regardless of what you feel, it’s likely to spark a hole host of thoughts and conversation in your head.

This is the moment when, like Alice and the white rabbit, we begin to follow the thoughts triggered by emotions or for some simply be guided almost blindly (me included) by the feeling or sensation of our emotions. In the hunt to chase that fluffy white tail, we lose site of our original thoughts on a subject and in working our way back to them, we begin to feel confused.

Now what?

The trick is to stay connected to what you think while validating your feelings. It requires looking at emotions and feelings as an indicator (aka. seeing them as helpful and even useful!). When you allow your emotions and feelings to indicate something valuable, it’s a win-win!

You’ve got to use your imagination to practice this. Imagine a situation where you know what you want AND you have big feelings or emotions in response to making a decision or taking action.

Step 1 is to stop for a moment to notice what you’re feeling and literally ask yourself “What am I feeling?” It may be a sensation in your body like a pressure in your chest. Bottom line with this step – name the feeling or emotions. Let’s say it’s Anxiety.

Step 2 is to ask yourself, “What is my emotion pointing to?”. This is where you actually ask the feeling. I know it sounds crazy and go with me. This has worked for thousands of my clients and I use it every single week! Put a hand on your chest or stomach where you feel something happening and say, Anxiety, what do you want me to know?”.

Step 3 is to notice the answer. Make sure you get a sense of what your emotions are really indicating. If nothing comes in words, grab a pen or markers and start drawing or writing. Just because you can’t “think” the answer doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Remember, your relationship to emotions and feelings may be to NOT relate and these steps are guiding you in the opposite direction, to self-connect!

Step 4 is when you ask, “what do I think about _____”. Now you can cross compare the sentiment, sensation or information from your body with what you really think and begin to choose which indication – your thoughts vs. your emotional experience – you want influencing your thoughts and actions.

These 4 steps are about getting clear on what’s really happening inside so that you can choose which story to live by. In psychology, we call this embodied cognition. The ability to use the body to inform our cognitive mind.

This exchange is no different from something you do every single day. When you’re talking to others, you listen to their words and your thoughts at the same time right? You’re doing the same thing here by acknowledging your felt sense AND listening to your voice. Maybe it’s not so crazy of a process after all! The main difference is, it’s just all coming from inside of you.

Extra Thoughts

If it feels as if your emotions are too big to do this work, you may want to look for a coach or a therapist to help you sort things out.

Move Strong Mind Performance Coaching addresses emotional experiences in a variety of ways including coaching tools, transpersonal psychology techniques and creative expression. You’re always welcome to sign up for a complimentary session to learn more.

For now, I hope this journey into making emotions and feelings productive and supportive helps you move forward that much easier.

Lots of love,

Coach Jen