Updated: Mar 28
After having worked as a Registered Nurse for 8 years, I decided to become a counselling therapist so that I could help people heal more than the physical alone. Having gone through my own healing journey, I discovered that while talk therapy alone is very helpful, it had limitations. This led me to learn Heart Centered Hypnotherapy, Holy Fire Reiki, Somatic Experiencing, Breathwork and Intuitive Readings, so that I could combine the mind, body and spirit to healing.
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How to Obtain Messages from Emotions
Settle the Intensity
Have you ever stop to think that the emotions were there to tell you something? Well, we certainly can obtain a lot of information from them. In order to do so, we first need to notice what we are feeling. However, if emotions are too intense, it might be hard to obtain messages from them. If this is the case, you can start by noticing the sensation of the chair beneath you. This means spending time with the description of the cushion, the temperature, and the pressure, any tingling, weight, etc. If you don’t notice a settling feeling relating to the intensity, you can shift to your attention to your feet, your breath, or an area in your body that feels safe, calm or supportive and repeat the exercise. How this works is that it shows your body that it can relax, rather than trying to convince it to do so. Your body is able to experience the calm, support or safety. Another way is to turn your head and let your neck lead, and notice if there is anything around you that brings you a sense of peace, calm, support or gentleness. You can imagine that your eyes are magnet and that they are taking in the images that you are seeing into your body, and then notice if anything shifts in your physiology. Try using your different senses if the visual sense is not your strongest sense to bring you back into the present time and settle the intensity of the emotion.
Once the intensity subsided, you can start being curious with your emotion. This can be done by asking yourself, what is the emotion that you are experiencing? Is it fear? Anxiety? Panic? Worry? Just notice what comes up. If noticing the emotion brings up a strong reaction in your body, you can go back to the previous step of just noticing the physical sensation. If you are able to stay with the emotion, you could ask it what it is trying to tell you. Listening to the emotion will help you understand yourself an to understand what message it is trying to tell you. When you have received the message, you can ask it what it needs from you. Maybe it is support, a kind word, a caring attention, or maybe it simply needed to be heard. Once you understand what it needs, see if you can bring that to yourself. If, for example, it is support that you need, you may want to imagine, hear, sense or feel the supportive part of you come in and bringing that support. As you do, notice what happens in your body. You can also imagine a supportive person, animal, part of nature, spiritual being or cartoon.
Our Response to Emotions
The practice of listening to our emotions allows us to become curious and surrender to the emotion. In fact, when a situation occurs, we will have an immediate emotional reaction to the situation. However, as humans, we are the only specie that can have a response to our initial emotion. For example, you might get sad when you see a dog walking by because it reminds you of your childhood dog. Right after, you might think to yourself – I can’t be sad right now, I need to be happy. Therefore, we start to fight against our initial emotion and try to push it away. The thing is that emotions means energy in motion (e-motion). When we fight against our emotions, they can become stuck in our bodies. When you start to listen to the emotion, you move into the energy of allowing it to be there and change your response to it. While listening to the emotions will not change the situation or the emotion itself, it helps to build a greater understanding about yourself and to allow the emotion to flow. This can also lessen the intensity that you feel, because often, the more we ignore our emotions, the more it can persist.
There is still a fine balance, as obsessing or overly focusing on the emotion could also be counterproductive. In fact, sometimes, what we put our attention to can grow. This is true especially feel triggered, as this tends to narrow the focus and to experience nothing else than the pain. In this case, after listening to the emotion, shifting the attention outward (using your physical senses) or noticing other parts of your body that does not feel the intense emotion might help widen the perspective. Nonehteless, listening to the emotions in a curious way help you attend to your needs and bring a healthier inner relationship. The thing to note is that emotions might come from old conditioning. They may not always be right or “appropriate” for the current situation, such as feeling fear anytime that someone gets angry. In the past, there might have been danger when a parent was angry, but now that the situation passed, you might no longer be in danger simply because someone feels anger. Nonetheless, when you start to practice listening to emotions, you can understand where they come from, what they want and what their purpose is. However, it does not mean that you have to react to them, and by listening to them, it gives you the time to think through how you want to respond to them rather than react.
How Old is the Emotion
Another thing that you can ask yourself when working to understand your emotions is to ask it how old it feels. This step might be easier in a meditative state, but is also not required. When you feel the emotion and ask yourself that question, let the number come to you without judgment. Once you connect to the age of the emotion that you are experiencing, ask yourself what is happening. You might be surprised to find that you have felt this way before. Once this feels complete, ask that younger part of yourself what it would have needed at the time. Maybe you needed someone to support you, listen to you, validate you, protect you or hear you. Once you figure out what you needed, see if you can bring that to yourself. For example, if it was support that you needed, you might find it useful to see a supportive part of yourself, or a supportive figure, spiritual being, person or animal come in and bring support. This exercise can help understand where your emotions come from. For example, someone who experienced abandonment might feel fear when someone leaves, while someone who experienced too much attachment and poor boundaries might feel relief when a person leaves. This exercise is helpful to see where the emotional reaction comes from. In fact, strong emotional reactions can come from unhealed parts of our selves. So, being able to bring what was needed helps to slowly repair the unhealed part
Overall, while you might not be able to change your initial emotional reaction, you can learn to change your response to it, by bringing curiosity, compassion, care, support and love. Similar to how you would treat a friend, a child, or an animal, you can channel that energy toward your emotion. This can allow the emotion to flow through and release on its own, rather than pushing it away.