How often do you check in with your feelings? I mean truly recognise exactly what is happening in your emotional & physical body.
Last year when I was overseas I attended a workshop on energy – as in personal energy – & it kicked off by introducing yourself & naming the emotion you were feeling about being there. I found it quite challenging to even think of a range of emotions, let alone label one that summarised how I was feeling. It sparked a lot of discussion & resulted in tears from some of the participants who they realised it was years since they had been really aware of their feelings. This theme has since presented, or I have become more aware of it, many times in many forms – books, movies, articles & conversations.
Most of us find it easier to recognise feelings in our physical body, unfortunately particularly negative changes. It’s hard to hide muscle or joint pain & quite natural to recognise if our shoulders are relaxed or we become more flexible. Interestingly though many people, in particular adults, do not check in on their emotional wellbeing often. We ask children how they feel & worry about how others feel, but do we stop & ask ourselves the same questions often enough?
The most common responses I hear when I ask “How are you?” is “stressed”, “tired” or “busy”. These are states of being rather than states of emotional wellbeing. Since updating the question to “How are you feeling?” the response hasn’t drastically changed, but when pressed to answer with emotion many people I speak with are stumped. Lots of us have default emotions we quickly name – sad, happy, disappointed, content, frustrated – but often we hide behind this without really noticing how we feel. Checking in with your emotions & delving into why you feel that way instigates greater awareness, change & growth. I’m sure it’s why therapy is so helpful for many people.
How can you make it a habit to check in with your own emotions? And the emotions of those closest to you? Could you create a practice of naming how you feel upon waking, sitting at the dinner table or before bed?
To make it easier here’s a list of some feelings to consider:
accepted, angry, anxious, bored, compassion, confused, content, courageous, critical, curious, disappointed, distant, eager, embarrassed, empty, energetic, excited, fearful, frustrated, fulfilled, generous, guilty, heartbroken, hopeful, humiliated, hurt, ignored, important, inadequate, insecure, inspired, irritated, isolated, jealous, joyful, judgemental, lonely, loving, loved, mad, nostalgia, optimistic, overwhelmed, peaceful, playful, powerful, powerless, proud, regret, rejected, remorseful, resentful, respected, scared, sensitive, shocked, shamed, threatened, vulnerable, worried.
I personally have found it quite fun & so interesting to practice this more within myself & to start these conversations with people around me. It’s challenging at first but the awareness & behaviour changes that come with this practice is really quite amazing.