What Am I Feeling Right Now? A Different Way To Answer This Question

May 25,2012

Feelings can be tricky to identify. Virtually all of us have difficulties figuring out what we’re feeling at one time or another. Sometimes our feelings catch us by surprise. Sometimes we don’t want to be honest about what we feel. Sometimes they change so quickly it is hard to peg one specific feeling. Sometimes we may find ourselves trying so desperately to get rid of a feeling that we don’t even take the time to label what it was that we initially felt. Most of us tend to get into our heads when it comes to our feelings. We may find ourselves asking questions like, “why am I feeling this?” or “how do I get rid of this feeling?” Many of us have the belief that if we understand our feelings, we can get control over them. From this brain-based place, we focus on trying to change our behaviors, or trying to get the people around us to change. Unfortunately, our feelings don’t always play well with our brains. Our feelings may be nonsensical and irrational, and they may not respond to our attempts to control them. If you find yourself stuck in your head when it comes to your emotions, you may want to experiment with trying to locate your feelings in your body. Wherever you are now, take a few moments to tune in to your body. Get in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a few deep breaths. Visualize yourself traveling through your own body. There is no pressure to have any mind-blowing epiphanies here. Try to see if you can maintain a feeling of curiosity without forcing yourself to fulfill any goals. See if you can locate any specific sensations in certain areas of your body. You may feel tight, empty, pain, a buzzing energy, light, sore, heavy, twisted, still, active, or hot. Try to get a specific as you can about the location of the sensation. Most people tend to feel their feelings most strongly in their hearts or stomachs, but you may feel sensation in the backs of your kneecaps, on your scalp, in between your fingers, or along your spine. As you locate sensations in your body, try to sit with them for a moment and direct your breath, energy, and attention into that area. See if you can identify the feeling without engaging your brain. Sometimes the sensations may seem like they match up with the feeling; for example, many people identify a feeling of heaviness in their hearts as sadness. Sometimes, the sensation and the feeling may seem nonsensical; sitting with a sensation of tightness in your forearm might bring up feelings of joy. What am I feeling right now? Try to spend an entire week locating your emotions in your body. As you move throughout your days, check in with yourself several times and see if you can identify any sensations within your body. If you feel yourself getting into your head, try to gently redirect your energy back to your body. Experiment with locating sensations during quiet, uneventful times, and also during high-intensity, emotion-provoking occasions. It may feel awkward or uncomfortable to engage with yourself in this way at first, but the more practice you get, the more natural it will start to feel. As you continue trying to locate your emotions in your body, you may find that it becomes easier to identify what you are feeling.

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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

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