As you can imagine, working as a therapist, I spend quite a bit of time helping people feel their feelings. This is not something that is supported much out there in the world. Instead, we are told not to have feelings, not to express them if we have them, or that they are not accurate and therefore, a sense of who we are as a person is dismissed and goes unacknowledged. At a very young age a lot of people learn not to cry and become very good stuffing feelings or pushing them away.
Eventually these feelings will catch up with you and start to be expressed later in life. They come out as too much anger, intense feelings of depression (it is surprising how many clients I see tell me they hate themselves), anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and sleep disturbance to name a few. When we hide those parts of ourselves early in life, we lose messages and signals from our body that are trying to tell us something. As adults we become disconnected from our bodies and our ‘emotional selves’.
This YouTube video is a part of a series of videos and articles I have on my website to help teach people ‘grounding’ strategies. Grounding means being able to calm yourself down when you are feeling upset. Life becomes a lot more manageable when you are able to feel your feelings is a less abstract way. This video gives specific instructions on how to learn to feel your feelings in a constructive manner.
The video explains how to notice where the feeling(s) are sitting in your body, notice how it feels, and then give it a picture using your imagination. The picture starts by giving the emotion a colour. If you sit with it and then change the colour a few times to something that might feel better (it can be helpful to have your eyes closed), using your imagination or the power of your mind, you can assist your body to move through the feeling(s). They begin to dissipate and decrease in intensity and often completely go away.
Along with seeing a colour, you can use your imagination and give it some other qualities as well; this gives your brain more information to work with and puts a little more emphasis and focus on relieving the intensity of the emotion. The other qualities you can incorporate are size, shape, density, temperature and texture. Using your imagination is an amazing tool for your conscious self to start communicating with your subconscious self. Visualization exercises are very commonly used in therapy and other types of approaches for relaxation/calming.
As you sit, breathe, and feel your body , you begin to be able notice where the emotion is in your body, what it feels like, and what it looks like. Sometimes people’s minds go right to work and change the different qualities on it’s own using the background working of your mind. Our minds want us to feel better believe it or not! If none of the qualities start changing, you can assist your system along first by changing the colour, then maybe the shape. Move slowly at a pace that feels comfortable for you changing one quality at a time so that you can feel better.
Learning to feel your feelings is a gift you can give yourself. It will make life much more manageable. These tools take some practice but just like riding a bike, our brain loves to learn knew things.
This colour work information I first learned through EMDR Meditation CD’s from Mark Grant which are available online. Overtime I have learned to work with this material in my sessions and adapted it accordingly.