These coaching practices are offered for you to try at home and are based on practices I use with my coaching clients. As always, your feedback is very welcome – I’d love to hear how the practice went for you, or any questions or comments you might have.
There can often be a pattern at play where when we begin to feel a strong (usually negative, but not always) emotion, our minds jump in to offer commentary and pull us away from the feeling we are experiencing. Our goal with this practice is to keep you in the feeling and quiet the mind a little so you can fully process the emotion before your mind shuts it down.
The practice is to observe your emotions as they arise. Try to do this at least once a week. More is fine too, if you want to keep working with this, especially if it is difficult to stay with the feeling at first.
When you notice that you are feeling something negative, perhaps in response to something someone says or does or when you think about something that has been a challenging situation, bring awareness to what you are feeing as soon as you notice it. Stop what you are doing, and be physically still for a moment. If you can, see if you can feel where in your body the emotion is and place your hand there.
Breathe into that area of your body. Use the breath to be present with what is there, not to get rid of it. Keep breathing for a few minutes, just being present. Without trying to change what is happening, observe what you’re experiencing. Are there sensations in your body? Memories that surface?
If you begin to hear your mind talking, regardless of what it is saying, acknowledge it and then turn your attention back to your body and your breath. You may find you get caught in a story about what the feeling means, or what it says about you, or why it’s there. You can thank your mind for its’ thoughts and then ignore them again. You may have to keep pulling back from your thoughts many times, and that’s ok. Be curious about what is physically happening, not any story your mind offers about it.
As you pay attention to the emotion physically in your body, does it change? Does it dissipate, or expand? Does it shift in any way? Just observe what’s happening, without judgment. There is no wrong way to do this. You don’t have to do anything, only be present with what is happening, whatever it is.
If anything surfaces that you want to capture in your journal, spend some time writing after you do this practice, or later once you have processed it a bit further.