How to Feel Your Feelings

People often talk about “feeling your feelings” but what does this really mean? 

The key to understanding this is to remember emotional processing is an embodied (or in your body) experience – it’s not just in your mind. So when a feeling comes up, you may have lots of thoughts or stories about what it means, but to truly feel your feelings, you need to attend to the sensations in your body. For example, where do you feel it? Is it in your belly, is it in your chest, is it in your arms? How would you describe it? Is there heaviness, constriction, restlessness? Give attention to the details of the bodily sensations and allow them to be felt.

The second part of feeling your feelings requires you to inquire, “What is it asking of you?” If it’s sadness, it might want you to cry. If it’s anger, it might want you to yell. If it’s disappointment, it might want you to move or shake. The key is to be with it fully, express it, and let it move through you as opposed to resisting it. On the other side of this expression is where you will find relief, and likely, a readiness to move on. 

Our human brains are a powerful instruments that can override and suppress the felt-sense of emotion. At moments, this can be helpful because sometimes we are not in the environment to full express the emotions moving through us. However, when we suppress emotions too often, or block the “big feels”, they don’t go away, but are rather stored in our bodies through the physiology of our nervous systems. So this is a gentle reminder of the importance of finding safe moments to truly feel and process your emotions.

Un-stick those feelings and give movement to your emotions…

Write them out
Walk them out
Talk them out
Shake them out
Cry them out
Dance them out
Scream them out
Draw them out
Stretch (yoga) them out
Hug them out

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