The Seven steps to developing an awareness of your thoughts and feelings.

Jul 03, 2020

The Seven steps to developing an awareness of your thoughts and feelings.

Your thoughts are an inner dialogue.

Three thousand thoughts go through the mind in an hour, most of which replay themselves repeatedly. In many cases, you leaned to think these thoughts from experiences from your primary caregiver, from childhood and you've most likely been repeating them since that time.

People's actions may trigger events and unpleasant feelings. However, they are not the cause. The real cause agents are what you tell yourself, and most of what you tell yourself operate subconsciously (80% or more actually). These stories you tell yourself stem from the beliefs you hold at any given time, most of which operate subconsciously.

Reasons for developing awareness.

Your ability to choose how you think allows you to regulate or choose your response to any triggering events. The stories you carry in your mind translate indirectly into your relationships. Specifically, how you process, interpret, and how you react.

It is crucial to understand the power of your emotions BECAUSE they act as command circuits to your body, and they shape your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. Like a compass, they are information.

Therefore, it is especially essential to be gentle and kind to yourself. Learning to be empathetic to painful, "bad" feelings, like anger, shame, guilt, and anxiety is as much joy and happiness.

They provide a lot of essential knowledge that pleasant emotions cannot show you (such as adjustments that demand, expansion, and change.)

Below are seven steps to develop your awareness of your feelings and their connection to your thoughts and develop that skill as described in Psychcentral.

1. Select a triggering situation to process.

Make a list of events that trigger upsetting feelings or anger for you. Then select the least challenging one to work on for starters. (With practice, one at a time, you can take on more challenging triggers, working your way gradually to the most challenging. This may take days or weeks and requires patience. You want to stretch yourself past your comfort zones, yet also want to avoid getting overwhelmed by the process.) At any time, if this becomes too emotionally intense, refrain from working on your own. In this case, you may wish to seek advice and guidance from a relationship coach.

2. Center yourself in the present with slow, deep breaths.

Once you've selected the trigger, you want to reflect on before you begin, pause for a moment to take 3 to 5 slow, deep breaths from the belly, and relax. Focusing on your breath, with eyes closed, scan your entire body from the top of your head to the tips of your toes, noticing and releasing any tension or tightness.

  • Imagine yourself in a safe place.
  • Remind yourself you are not your emotions or thoughts.
  • You are the observer, creator, and choice maker of your emotions and thoughts.
  • You are the observer of your emotions.

3. Identify and feel your emotions and feelings.

Feeling relaxed and centered in your breathing, bring the selected trigger to mind, perhaps recalling its most recent occurrence. Without judging, pause to become aware of your feelings and sensations. Ask, "What am I feeling right now?"

If you feel anger, also look for one or more emotions beneath it. Anger is always a secondary emotion that steps in to protect you from feeling emotions of vulnerability, such as hurt, shame, or fear, which can feel overwhelming. Ask yourself, "What underlies this anger?"

What feelings and emotions do you feel? Write these down on a journal.

4. Feel and notice the location of any sensations in your body.

  • Pause and feel each emotion, and note what physical sensations you feel.
  • For each of the emotions triggered, ask yourself, what sensations in your body do you feel, when you picture the triggering event?
  • Observe the location of these physical sensations.
  • Feeling the sensations, breathe deeply into them, and gently place one or both of your hands on where you feel them in your body.
  • As you do, once again, consciously let go of any impulse to fix, stop, repress, or judge any of your emotions and sensations. Continue to probe, noticing the sensations may lessen in intensity. If anger "seems" primary, continue asking, "What else am I feeling?"
  • Describe the felt sensations in your body. Record the sensations you feel and where you feel them in a column next to each emotion you listed in step 3.

5. Accept your feelings, and be confident that you can handle the emotion(s) and sensations.

  • Remind yourself you are not your emotions.
  • You are the observer of your emotions.
  • Emotions are energy, and what you are feeling are pockets of intensely charged energy, linked to past wounds.
  • Calmly and confidently affirm, "I accept that I am feeling … at this moment."
  • Say this to yourself, silently or (when possible) aloud: "I can handle this emotion…I am strong and able to handle this wisely, easily, calmly."

6. Identify what you tell yourself in your mind that is triggering any painful emotions.

  • Next, notice what thoughts you are thinking to yourself when you picture the triggering event, in particular, any toxic thinking patterns.
  • Your thoughts automatically trigger emotions and physical sensations in your body. That's how the brain works.

7. Connect empathically to understand & validate your experience.

  • Remind yourself that, though other persons or situations may trigger painful feelings, they are never the cause.
  • Your "self-talk" is the cause of all of the painful emotions that may feel, such as guilt or frustration, resentment, or anger.
  • Make a mental note that: this is good news! It means you are the only person in charge of your emotional responses, thoughts, and actions.
  • Understanding this, create statements that acknowledge and validate your experience, such as the following: "It makes sense that I feel overwhelmed because I'm telling myself, 'I'll never get his done…this is too much for me…I cannot handle it."

Noone but yourself can "make" you feel anything. Only what you allow.

To summarize, thoughts trigger feelings that are information to support growth to live your best life and allowing a thriving relationship to yourself and others. As your awareness grows, and you feel those sensations and reactions to those specific thoughts, you will build emotional awareness. This awareness will allow you to be vigilant to monitor your thoughts, which will help in stopping the cycle of overreaction. Empowerment comes from regulating your emotional states, allowing you to create beautiful, fulfilling relationships.


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