What if you could virtually eliminate any distressing feeling you have in the span of 60-90 seconds? Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? But consider what you do now when you are anxious, upset, or stressed? We all tend to avoid our negative feelings through distraction or denial. It is our human nature to seek pleasure and avoid pain. Freud got that much right! We want to do more of what feels good and avoid hurt and pain as much as we can.
While intellectually we might know that it is not always possible or good for us to avoid pain, instinctively it is our natural tendency.It is because of our tendency to avoid feeling upset that we suppress these feelings. I mean, who wants to feel bad right? So we distract ourselves with our phones, food and drink, music, TV, or facebook, to push the feelings away.
Here is an example of how we do this and the outcome that it has. Imagine being in a pool with an inflatable ball. It is light and full of air while the water is heavy and dense. Have you ever tried to hold a beach ball under the water? You can do it right? But it takes a great deal of effort and strength.
Now what happens when you release the ball? Does it float gently to the surface? No, it erupts through the surface of the water. This is precisely what many of us do when we are triggered by a strong emotion. We try to suppress it for as long as we can exhausting ourselves, but it never really goes away does it? Then with the slightest trigger, we spew all over those around us, those that don’t deserve it.
Our children and loved ones are on the receiving end of our emotional outburst. We all have been there, myself included. So how can we make ourselves feel better, not just temporarily, but experience real relief from the negative feeling?
Enter in The Pure Awareness Exercise.
Here’s a little therapy secret. A felt feeling dissipates. A suppressed feeling will always pop up, somewhere else again. I promise. Because it is still there. It didn’t go away. I propose to you to invite your feelings in. To do what is counter intuitive and sit with those feelings. Experience them to their fullest. Is this going to feel good? No. But are you interested in feeling better in the long run? Yeah, me too! The good news is the exercise only lasts a minute or so.
How does this work exactly?
- Get alone somewhere quiet for just a couple of minutes. Literally, like 2 minutes. That is all you need. I know how hard that can be with little children around or noisy work cubicles. But just find a place you can be undisturbed. I have escaped to a locked bathroom on numerous occasions!
- Begin to conjure up the feeling in your body. You do not need to relive the upsetting experience or rehash it in your mind. That becomes a mental exercise (and not a very useful one at that). Just start to get in touch with the feeling. How your felt when the triggering event happened. Experience it on the fullest level you can imagine. (Spend about 30 seconds on that)
- Let it grow, expand, get bigger. This is where it will be at its worst. You are OK. You are perfectly capable of handling this. (30 seconds)
- Then notice any experiences you may be feeling in your body. Is your chest tight? Is your stomach in knots? Are your hands tingling? Put your attention there. Notice the sensation in your body. It is Ok if you don’t feel anything physically. Your not doing it wrong. (30 seconds)
- Most importantly, just stay with it. Notice that your mind might want to distract you from it. Just bring yourself back to what you are feeling emotionally.
And that’s it. How do you feel after? Did the feeling dramatically decrease or was it eliminated entirely?
This is not a cure for a major depression or anxiety disorder. This exercise is for heavily charged emotional reactions that we experience as a result of a situation we deem as stressful, negative, or, upsetting. You can do it again and again…in only 90 seconds.
I can help walk you through this process. Call or Email today for a free consultation.