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How am I feeling? Tuesday July 2, 2013

The self-flagellating thoughts scurry through the dark alleys of the mind: Why do I feel so tired? Why haven't I accomplished more today? Why am I so sad? Why...? Dangerous word that.

It creates an immediate and condemnatory glance in our direction. Pressure. Guilt. It's perhaps a sign we are living in our head and not grounded in our bodies. What do we mean by that?

In both Person Centered Counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, if I've been running around my head like a demented hamster on a wheel, joking, talking rapidly, hyper-active, over-thinking, the therapist need ask only five little words: How do you feel now? Silence. Breath in. Hold it. Exhale. Head down. (When we look down we are more able to engage with our feelings.) I'm almost immediately calmer. More in control. Better connected with my body; my feelings.

It's such a simple tool we all have access to and yet, speaking personally, I all too often fail to pause long enough to just glance down and ask myself that simple question: How am I feeling?

It's oh so much kinder than "Why?" So why don't I always do it?

Oops! We're banning "why?" right?

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Tue, Jul 2nd 2013 @ 8:30am

How about banning "should" and "ought" too?

Jessica Tue, Jul 2nd 2013 @ 3:29pm

Jon actually mentions in his ebook that replacing 'should' with 'could' is often very helpful - I have tried it and it is much gentler to the self. :)

Julia Tue, Jul 2nd 2013 @ 5:01pm

I have picked up some really good tips, advice, you tube clips,lovely friends and book titles from Moodscope and today, once again, I learn something new, this time thanks to Suzy. That looking downwards makes you relax a little. It does! I tried it,

Sarah Layton Wed, Jul 3rd 2013 @ 9:13am

I so agree with your thoughts about the word 'why' Suzy and how unhelpful it can be. I find 'how' so much more useful. 'How am I creating these feelings?', 'How can I support myself to feel different right now?'

I find that 'how' inspires me to open the question up and it doesn't invite me to be self-critical either. Answering the questions I ask myself can be really empowering.

Turning to my body always slows me down. Beyond Chocolate - which is a process for improving our relationship with food and our bodies has a principle called 'Tuning In'. It is an exercise in which we are invited to be with ourselves and notice.

Notice any physical sensations - the sensation of resting my arm on the chair, the sensation of noticing my feet in contact with the ground, the sensations that might indicate we are hungry - emptiness in my tummy, a sensation in my throat.

Notice our emotions - am I sad, angry, happy or afraid with all variations along the continuum of each. How does that feel in my body?

Notice our thoughts - what am I thinking? Am I being critical or judgemental, planning, remembering? The idea is just to notice - not to pressure ourselves to 'do' anything. We are entitled to our feelings - they just are. The more we notice ourselves in the present the more we have information about how to take care of ourselves and what we need.

For more about Beyond Chocolate see

Suzy Sat, Jul 6th 2013 @ 9:40am

I couldn't agree more with you Sarah. Our bodies are always, always telling us something right? It's just learning to listen gently. Thanks Sarah.

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