Several years ago I had a therapist who would always ask, “Where do you feel that in your body?” I found it very annoying and disruptive to my train of thought in a session. At the time I was having a hard time acknowledging that I have any feelings – yes, I was brand new to this whole emotional awareness thing. Once I acknowledged the feelings, I was working on being able to really identify them and put that into words. And my therapist expected me to make all of those leaps and figure out where in my body the feelings were? Fat chance, lady. We broke up after a few months, with very little fanfare.
Fast forward a few years and I find myself thinking of that therapist – more than a bit grudgingly.
I’ve gotten better at identifying my feelings and understanding more about them. I’ve learned more about mind-body connections. And for the past few mornings, within the first minute or two of waking up, I’ve realized that there is a heaviness in my gut (for lack of a better word). I recognize that this is linked to anxiety and stress about this week. The details of my stressors aren’t worth listing here, except to note that my parents and my sister are coming to visit over the Easter weekend. Enough said?
I get it now that my body is giving me clues about my mental state. This morning I tried to do deep breathing before I even got out of bed, but had only limited success in relaxing. Instead, as the kids bounded in, I got up and jumped headlong into my day with all of the triggers just waiting for me.
I know there must be a better way, but I haven’t yet gotten to that chapter in the Anxiety User Manual.
That brings me to my question: Where do you feel your feelings, especially the “negative” ones like anxiety? And what do you do when you recognize that they’re there?
I’m thinking that I need to add another set of tools to my toolbox.