When was the last time you cried? Laughed heartily?
Is it when you watched a cat video, or seeing a sad docu-drama on Netflix?
What about feeling those feelings in your real-time life—when you are sitting reading the news and feeling a glimmer of being moved by someone’s story, or when you are noticing your children’s laughter in the other room and your inner tenderness rising in your throat?
We are meant to feel our feelings— they are meant for a purpose, even if as small children we were told otherwise. Our psycho-emotional system was built millennia ago on the premise that we are safer and more connected with ourselves and others when we emote.
Conversely, when we numb ourselves by overeating or overexercising or drinking too much or zoning out on our devices or choosing screen time over connecting, we are leaving ourselves behind. It may feel initially “relaxing,” but over time it can become a habit that keeps us away from experiencing true—not virtual—joy and connection.
One important part of feeling our feelings is to separate our thoughts from being attached to our feelings. We can foster a sense of detachment through intentionality, bearing witness to our feelings on a more objective, compassionate perspective. When we step back and stop the cycle of constantly, habitually reacting to our emotions, we can notice what triggers them and our often toxic behavioral patterns. With this self-awareness, we gain insight into our lives in a deep, meaningful way.
So, baby steps.
Take a moment—just that—to notice your gratitude, or your grief. What feelings are coming up for you--are you bored, relaxed, irritable, sad?
What happens in your body when you notice these feelings? What sensations? Tension? Ache? Relaxation?
And what are your thoughts when you notice your feelings, your sensations?
With practice, your attention will become honed, your ability to notice will strengthen.
So, what is calling out to you—and how can you nurture that, even in a small way, today?
Note-- If you'd like a free consultation on how working with me can improve mindfulness in your life, click here.