Dissipating Intense, Unpleasant Feelings
When you're having an intense and uncomfortable feeling like stress, worry, fear, anger, sadness or aversion, scan your body slowly from head to toe. Notice any places where you feel physical discomfort.
Anger and sadness often show up in the chest. Anger can feel hot or like wanting to push outward. Sadness can feel cold, heavy or empty.
Worry and fear often show up in the stomach. Worry can feel tight or jittery. Fear can feel icy or spiky.
Everyone's experience is unique. Just notice yours without trying to suppress or change anything. See if you can bring a friendly and compassionate feeling toward your discomfort, as if you were sitting with a beloved friend who needed company through a difficult moment.
Notice if your breathing feels constricted or open. Notice the intensity of the distress, and give it a number from 1 (not too bad) to 10 (horrible). You can use this awareness to track any changes as you do the next steps.
Find the part of your body where the discomfort is worst. Imagine giving more space to the sensations. If your chest is tight, imagine the energy inside expanding outward beyond your body, it can extend three or ten or fifty feet beyond your skin. It's just energy. I've had feelings that fill up whole city blocks.
As the feelings have more room, you may notice that the intensity of them dissipates. Scan your body again, and see if the distress has decreased at all. If it has, this may become a stress-relieving tool you keep handy.
To practice this skill and learn even more body-mind tools to feel good, join me in the class, Techniques to Relieve Stress, Anger & Anxiety, May 19th, 7pm, at Pleasant Hill Rec and Parks.