MY LIFE GOES MORE SMOOTHLY
when I accept & manage my emotions
PREVIOUS: ACoAs – ACCEPTING our Emotions (#1)
SITE: “Power of Vulnerability”, Brene Brown on TED Talks
For anyone who ever doubted that emotions are real – this digital map shows scientifically that various emotions create physical energy which can be visually located in the body, depending on which one is being felt.
(MORE….. scroll to 5/25/14)
● We live in a culture that worships Do-ing over Be-ing, action over introspection, thinking over feeling. Even so, human being need outlets for their emotions, no matter how much we deny having them.
— Many people go to sports event, concerts, watch movies, hang out with rowdy friends…. not just as entertainment, to connect with others & enjoy favorite people or activities, but also to artificially generate emotions in socially acceptable ways. It can be called blowing off steam, escaping, just having fun…. but ultimately it’s a way to experience Es not otherwise allowed – especially in public.
ACoAs struggling to access buried emotions in Recovery have many methods available. But we also need to be fully aware that it’s not wise or safe to try having all our feelings at once. It’s important to not rush – “Softly, softly, catchee monkey” – slow & steady works best! Sometimes we can’t help but be overwhelmed with old pain (“if it’s hysterical it’s historical”), but with the right help we can get thru it, & come out of the tunnel feeling lighter.
● Ultimately, the only way we’re going to have access to buried Es is if we feel safe enough. In the first years of the FoO process, especially, we need a great deal of support – from people who understand, & in environments where we can cry, rage, be vulnerable… without being judged or ostracized. As we grow psychologically & spiritually we can tolerate more of what we had to push out of consciousness. So if we stay in the process, old feelings will come up & then diminish or die away.
TOOLS: Regular Bookending with the IC, & doing a short daily 10th Step, in this case only to list the day’s events & try to identify what emotions might be associated with each one, pleasant or uncomfortable.
1. The basic triad of Mind-Body-Spirit is a natural place to start.
— Mind: thoughts we have over & over tell us that something is important to us, either pleasant or unpleasant. Careful attention to what keeps popping into our mind will help identify hidden Es that are “running” you without your awareness
— Body: tightness in the belly, between the shoulders, or any other place in your body, is a message that something’s out of balance. Tune in to that area, breathe deeply into it while relaxing, & ask for information from your body about what’s going on
— Spirit: get used to tuning in to your intuition, consider Spiritual Truths you believe in, observe how you react to others… What is your relation to others? How clear is that spiritual connection which links all humans – is in tact or are hidden Es getting in the way (fear, anger, mistrust….)?
2. Another is the Emotion Acceptance Exercise, adapted from workbook “Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life,” by Dr. Steven Hayes, intro to “Acceptance & Commitment Therapy”, effective in treating psychological disorders. It can be used anytime we have ‘uncomfortable’ Es, starting with ones that are strong enough to notice, but not enough to overwhelm. With experience this exercise can be used with more intense Es.
USE: Image Streaming & 24 back-up procedures for visualization skills.
a. Identify the E. If there are several at one time, pick any one you’d like to work on first. The rest can be dealt with later. If you have trouble putting a name to the feeling, sit for a moment & notice physical sensations & thoughts, considering what Es may be associated with them. Look at a list of emotion words, if needed (relief, sadness, anger, excitement…..). Then write it down.
b. With eyes closed, picture putting that emotion 5’ in front of you, so you can look at it outside of yourself. Later on you’ll be taking it back, but just for a few minutes you can allow yourself a bit of distance to observe it.
c. While seeing the emotion in your imagination, ask:
“If this emotion had a size, what size would it be?
“If it had a shape, what shape would it be?
“If it had a color, what color would it be?
— Then let yourself SEE the size, shape & color you gave the emotion. Watch it for a few moments & recognize it for what it is – energy that cannot harm you. When you’re ready, let the emotion go back to its original place inside you.
d. With eyes open, take a few minutes to consider what you noticed:
— What size, shape, and color did you give the emotion?
— Is there any change in it by getting a little distance?
— Are there changes in your reactions to it?
— Did it feel different in any way once the exercise was finished?
Write down and date your observations. Use this exercise as often as you can, which doesn’t take long once you get used to doing it. After a few times, see if you notice any changes in how you relate to your emotions. Many people find that they start thinking differently about, & are more accepting of their emotions.
This 5-step chart, by Will Meek, PhD was modified from the book: “Expressing Emotions” by researchers Kennedy-Moore & Watson. For each step he includes mistakes & corrections in the process. The basic idea is that when we feel something, we can pause right then, & deal with it successfully. (MORE….)
● “The Art of Processing Emotion”
● (The Emotion Code) – to get to Es trapped in the body’s electrical flow
● BODY WORK: CranioSacral / ETF / Kinesiology / Reiki / Rolfing…..
● Essential Oils to release blocked Es (videos)
● 5 Ways to Access Es – Scanning the body, Exercise, Journal Writing, Music & Movies, Talking
● 10 Ways to Access High-Positive Es
● 5 ways to access the sub-conscious mind directly – Hypnosis, Self-hypnosis, Meditation, Walking-meditation, Floatation tank
● “Constructing Artificial Emotions – A Design (thought) Experiment” – online games to bring up suppressed Es
● “Emotions Analytics – a new field of E. communications” identifying Es via vocal intonations (iTune app)
NEXT: ACoAs – Emotional Immaturity(Part 1)