Steps to take when experiencing a strong emotion, a reaction, mind chatter and/or fear based thinking.
1. Acknowledge whatever you are feeling or experiencing without judgement or criticism of yourself such as “I’m feeling really angry’. Welcome it all in. Notice where you feel it in the body and what it feels like. Acknowledging what you are experiencing supports you to be present with yourself in the ‘here and now’.
Witness any thoughts, just notice them. Let them come and go like passing clouds.
2. Take a deep belly breath in, then breathe out right to the base with the belly shrinking as you do and on the next in-breath allow the belly to fill with air like a balloon. On the out breath you may verbalise “Ahhhhhh”, while letting the tension release from the body. Allow the breath to flow deeply and rhythmically. Continue to breathe until there is a release, softening and spaciousness. As you continue with the breath you may choose to notice the Stillpoint. The Stillpoint is the moment of silence you feel after the breath leaves the body and before the body naturally takes the next breath.
At this point, while breathing deeply in the belly there is the opportunity to become curious and reflect upon about what is really going on for you at a much deeper level.
3. If needed, use a release strategy such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques). A release strategy such as EFT is used at times when you are finding it difficult to breathe, e.g. if experiencing anxiety.
4. Now ask yourself, “What do I choose to think or believe about this situation, encounter or event?”
Remember our thoughts and beliefs bring about how we feel and how we act/behave (Corey, 2009).
5. Formulate statements that are constructive, useful and supportive. These statements may stretch the mind in a positive direction, however you need to be able to believe them otherwise your mind may ‘junk mail’ them. Be mindful not to use words such as ‘should’, ‘must’, ‘have to’, ‘gotta’ as they are fear based and create disempowerment and rigidity in the body/mind. Choose thoughts and beliefs that have a core energy or motivating force of Love which you will be able to discern with a full relaxed breath. Statements beginning with “I choose …..” can be very empowering.
6. Repeat the above as needed.
Even though events, encounters and situations that occur in our lives can impact upon us, we all have the power to choose what we think/believe and consequently how we feel about them and how we respond to then. Remember some emotions such as sadness are normative if you have experienced a loss. It is important to acknowledge and allow such emotions, be present with them with deep breath and allow yourself the time to grieve.
We learn through repetition, so it is important to nourish your mind regularly with your constructive self talk or affirmations. Writing down statements can be useful for recall and repetition. When we think negatively or stew on issues you may find you deplete your motivational energy and inner power and feel drained. When you think constructively you may find you build your motivational energy and inner power and have more energy and resources to cope with what is at hand.
For more information or to make an appointment contact Kate at Jesmry Counselling Ph: 02 60431232 Mobile: 0410046148 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
References: Corey, G. (2009). Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy. (8th ed.) Belmont: Thompson Brooks/Cole.