FEELING OUR EMOTIONS FULLY ENABLES US TO DETECT THE HABITUAL IMPULSES AND RESPONSES ASSOCIATED WITH THEM, SO THAT WE CAN SUBSTITUTE THEM WITH MORE CONSTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOUR.
Many of our strongest emotions are quite old. Focusing attentively on our intense emotions, feeling our emotions, where they are strongest in the body, often frees the body’s memory facility and emotional awareness. As we focus on the emotions, it is constructive to mentally ask whether the emotion is anger, sadness, fear and so forth. At the mention of the appropriate name of the emotion, an energized feeling and feeling of being right at a gut level often arises. Consequently, a lessening of the intensity of the emotion is also felt. Knowing an emotion and its associated sensation helps us to enrich our physical, emotional and mental memory banks.
Repeatedly focusing on a strong emotion and acknowledging what it means with the help of our body’s emotional awareness mechanism helps us to free the emotions and release ourselves from the fear associated with it.
Anger sometimes begins as a warm buzzing feeling, almost like electricity, between the throat and the chest. After correctly identifying an emotion, one can also pose a question mentally to reveal the cause or origin of an emotion. Anger that is traced to a divorce often rears up in a new relationship when a new lover appears distant. It can also trigger a familiar urge to say, “you always act disinterested when I want to talk about my feelings.”
Our emotions are bearable no matter their intensity. The smooth transition from feeling our intense emotions, to the physical demands of our daily lives proves it. When you encounter a familiar emotion in the real world, take a deep breath and relax. Then, remind yourself that the emotion did not hurt you when you focused on it in your exercise. Therefore, it has no power over you. In doing so, you interrupt the reflex action of fear.
A twisting throb right under the navel, a stomach ache, could also point to anger or fear. Awareness of the bodily sensations accompanying our intense emotions helps us to detect the onset of the emotions and arrest their unproductive habitual patterns of thoughts, words and actions, that mar our interpersonal relationships.
Trying hard to impress people, make a pat comment or quote an authority are all means of denying and suppressing our emotions.
To remind ourselves of the harmlessness of our emotions, take a few moments daily to review your positive memories, the productive consequences of experiencing your emotions: feeling your anger and acting constructively towards your boss, and focusing on your sadness without feeling unbalanced or losing mental poise.
Experiencing the raw sensations of our strong emotions helps us to take responsibility for them and avoid blaming others. It is productive to substitute the “You-language” synonymous with blame, defensiveness that hampers interactions and denying of our emotions, with “I-language” that fosters responsibility, acceptance of our emotions and a constructive interpersonal climate. Instead of saying, “you back off when I try to talk to you about my feelings,” try, “I feel frustrated when you don’t want to talk.”
For us to create positive memories that would counterbalance the negative ones, and become more productive in our lives, we need the experience of feeling our emotions fully, to detect the habitual impulses and responses associated with them and substitute them with more constructive behaviour. For instance, one can decide to stand his ground instead of running away from a situation evoking strong feelings of fear. To chatter, attack, and go on the defensive are unproductive habitual responses often associated with suppressing strong emotions.