Becoming Aware of Your Feelings
post by Si Martin
To become more aware of your feelings is perhaps one of the most useful skills you can learn. So here’s a few simple thoughts on how (and why!) you can do just that! If you wanna dive into this in a bit more detail, you should totally check out our online workshops!
Why become more aware of your own feelings?
Well, it’s the first step towards being able to do something about it! Once you’re aware of your feelings, and you’ve given them a name, that’s when you can start to put things in place to manage that specific feeling.
There are also studies out there that suggest that being more aware of your emotions and feelings lead to better relationships with friends and family. And this little skill has even been linked to reducing anxiety and depression. Which means it’s definitely worth taking some time to master it!
How to become more aware of your own feelings
Ok, but you didn’t come here to read about why you should become aware of your feelings, you wanna learn how! So here’s 4 simple things you can practise.
Listen to your body
Our bodies are fantastically clever. They give us all sorts of signs and hints that, if we pay attention to them, can help us become aware of what’s going on with us.
Have you ever felt your cheeks blushing and going red? How about feeling butterflies in your stomach? Do ever notice your breath speeding up?
These are all physical signs from your body that something around you is affecting how you’re feeling. When your body is giving you this hint, try to make a note of what’s changed around you. What’s triggered this reaction? And try to give a name to the feelings that come along with the physical sensation.
We go into this a bit more in our digital workshops! Check them out!
Boost your vocabulary
We might say “I love this!” but did you know the ancient Greeks had 8 different words for love. E.g. Eros to describe romantic love, or philautia for self-love (even the ancient Greeks knew self-love was important!).
So it might be helpful to have a range of words to describe how you’re feeling. Sometimes you just feel rubbish. But if you’re feeling “lonely rubbish” or “sad rubbish” that’s a helpful way to narrow down what it is you’re actually experiencing, and be able to do something about it.
Heck. Sometimes we just don’t have the words for how we’re feeling, because we don’t know what it is. The movie Inside Out actually does a great job of personifying emotions. Each emotion is represented by a character who looks a bit like how that emotion feels for us.
So maybe trying to create a character – by drawing or painting – might be a helpful way to acknowledge how you’re feeling, without needing the words.
Don’t judge yourself
It’s something that’s come up in a bunch of guided meditations that I’ve listened to. But actually noticing how you feel can lead to us judging ourselves.
“I feel angry” you notice. “But I shouldn’t feel angry. That’s stupid” your inner voice might tell you.
But remember – emotions are a verrrry human thing. So however you’re feeling: it’s ok. It’s allowed. It’s important to let yourself feel these things without judging yourself.
I mentioned about guided meditations. And something I like about meditation is how it’s referred to as “meditation practise”. Which means we’re still learning, and getting a little better at it each time we try it.
Practising meditation is a great way to work on listening to your body, identifying your feelings, and not judging yourself. (so basically everything in this post so far!)
We’ve got a few suggestions of some of our favourite meditation apps over on our Resources page. Check ’em out!
Practise on others
And speaking of practise! You can practise becoming more aware of your own feelings, by becoming more aware of other people’s feelings. Listen to what they’re telling you with their words and things like their body language. It’s sometimes easier to see things in someone else than it is in yourself.
But you can also talk & communicate with others about what each of you are feeling. It’s sometimes tough or scary to do this, but if you find someone you really trust and feel like you can be yourself around, it’ll be easier. It also gets easier the more you practise it too!
By having someone you can speak to openly, and explore your feelings together, you help to get things out of your brain and into a more tangible context. (Check out this whole post about making it tangible!)
These are just a few ideas to get you started on a journey to becoming more aware of your feelings. But it’s important to remember that it takes time, practise and a whole lot of patience with yourself. And remember, once you’ve identified what it is you’re feeling, that’s when you can put things in place to help you manage those feelings.
If you found this post helpful, please help us create more stuff like this by picking up some of our merch with a message! It’s stuff that helps spread a lil bit of positivity while helping to keep HATW going so we can be there for the folks that need us!
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