How to Feel
Updated: Jul 29
What if you could feel less exhausted and more energized?
What if you could feel more balanced and less stressed?
What if you could be more present and loving in your relationships?
What if you could feel more joy and freedom in life?
Learning to feel and fully process your emotion is one of the fastest ways to get there.
Last week I talked about the benefits of becoming an emotional adult, and this week I am sharing one of the tools I teach my clients to help them get there.
The Four A’s of processing emotion:
Most of us are taught to ignore and avoid feeling our emotions. So the first and most important step is to give yourself the time and attention you deserve.
With practice, this process will become automatic and require less time.
Start by sitting in a quiet, distraction-free place. Take four deep, slow breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Let your exhale be longer than your inhale. This calms your nervous system and helps you to think more clearly.
AWARE: Notice that you are FEELING an emotion. The FEELING is a sensation in your body.
Emotion is the name of the feeling. Emotions are compassionate alarm systems. They give you information, like when you touch a hot stove. The pain tells you something is wrong, and you must take action to protect your hand from further damage. Stop and consciously notice you are feeling something.
ACKNOWLEDGE: Once you notice you are feeling something, stop and ask yourself, where is this feeling in your body? Does my chest feel tight? Do I have an upset stomach? Is my face hot? Are my hands sweaty?
Then give the feeling a name. The words we use to describe feelings are emotions. Is it anxiety, fear, shame, sadness, disappointment, anger?
After you identify the emotion, tell your brain what is happening, “This is anxiety.” Say it slow, low, and calm. Naming helps you to detach slightly and feel more relaxed and more in control.
ALLOW: Sit with the feeling. (It’s just a sensation in your body caused by a chemical reaction. Nothing to fear.) Welcome it. Invite it in. It’s there for a good reason. Let it have a voice, be heard, and be cared for. What is it trying to tell you?
Provide a safe, non-judgmental place for yourself. Place your hand on your heart. Breathe into it. Imagine yourself as a child coming into the room, climbing onto your lap, pouring out their heart. You, as the loving adult, listen with compassion, hold, and comfort until they relax, hop off your lap and run out to play. At this point, the feeling in your body should start to release, and you are ready for the next step.
ADVANCE: Now you are ready to ask yourself what thought created the feeling.
Gently, lovingly question the thought—no judgment allowed. Use compassionate curiosity.
Is that thought true?
Can you be 100% sure that it’s true?
Is that thought serving you? Is it helpful? Is it kind?
How do you feel and act when you believe that thought?
How do you want to feel?
What new thought would you need to BELIEVE to create that feeling?
I hope this process helps you as much as it has me and my clients.