Updated: Aug 20, 2021
You have spent time accessing your feeling state. Good work! You are aware of the emotion you are feeling and the feeling in your body that accompanies it. Where do these feelings come from?
Understanding the source of your feeling state requires a lot of honesty and curiosity. This is the step in Feeling State Access that may require psychotherapy to get to the bottom of. Sorry...another part of this feeling your feelings thing is asking for help. I know...it's hard for me too, but you can further faster with the assistance of a trained professional. It's what we do...unstick people and move them from sleep to woke.
It's likely our childhood experiences have something to do with how we process information now. (For more ACE information, click here.) Is there abuse or abandonment in your past that should be explored? We like to think that these issues of the past are in the past and have nothing to do with how we see the present. If you think that, you're wrong. It is when we have reprocessed and reframed these experiences that we can put them behind us with little impact on our current level of functioning. Remember, we have been discouraged from feeling our feelings, so feeling them and being curious about why we feel the way we do may bring up some upsetting memories.
Are there attachment issues that may be impacting your emotions or the feelings in your body? Our neurological system grows exponentially from the time we are born to our third birthday. Our ability to relate to others is directly impacted by the amount and quality of our nurturance as children. Growing up in a family with addicted or mentally ill parents may mean we were held, fed, soothed and nurtured less. Our ability to trust or read others accurately as adults can be impacted by our experience as infants. These attachment issues will likely have a significant impact on how close we can feel to others.
Are you drinking or using drugs? The impact of substances on our brains and bodies is significant when it comes to feeling our feelings. Are you noticing that emotions come rushing into your awareness when you are under the influence of substances? This is an important sign that you have unresolved emotions that may have a negative impact on your health and your relationships with others. If you have issues with addiction or abuse, it may make it more difficult for you to identify the source of those feelings and work through them.
Might there be depression, anxiety or other undiagnosed/untreated mental health issues that may be at play? If so, it is imperative that you receive treatment from a licensed mental health professional to help you develop a treatment plan to minimize its impact. Our mental health has a big affect on our feelings for sure, but on our thoughts and behaviors too. Once treated and managed, we can do deeper work to help create new emotional connections and understand them fully.
Are you noticing that your emotions come from "out of nowhere" in an overwhelming rush that is hard for you to manage. If so, this may be a triggered response that may be the result of past trauma. We have rethought what it means to experience trauma. We now know that many life experiences may be traumatic. Any of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (discussed above) may qualify, as well as accidents where people feel they or someone they loved almost died. Treatments such as EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) have been successful in helping people minimize the impact of trauma on their lives.
Chronic pain? When was the last time you had a physical at a doctor's office? Physical pain and depression share a connection. If you experience pain every day, it is hard to feel happy. The source of your feeling state may be that knee pain you're feeling every day and not doing anything about.
Were you a high school or college athlete who may have experienced hits to the head? Pick a sport, any sport! Athletes are exposed to concussion risk. Neurologists believe that every hit to our head, even the ones that don't rise to a concussion diagnosis, may have an impact on the way our brains work. This may also impact the way we think and feel.
We have just scratched the surface of understanding your feeling state! Exciting, right? Maybe a little scary too... But remember, our goal is for you to be One Present Dude...someone who experiences the fullness of joy, whom others want to be around because he knows himself well, communicates directly and compassionately, and is fully in the moment with them. You'll get there! Keep working!