If you want to better understand your emotions and communicate better with your spouse about how you feel, you need to learn to experience your emotions. You may think that you already do experience what you feel, but most likely you are wrong. Most men are very out-of-touch with their emotions.
Instead of focusing on what they feel, they start thinking about it. They start applying intellectual labels to their feelings. For example, “I feel dumb” doesn’t really describe a feeling. A feeling is a sensation in the body. Dumb is an intellectual judgment and label. It has nothing to do with sensations in the body. Moreover, it is a relative label because what some people may consider dumb, others may accept as incredibly smart.
Whenever you are talking about feelings and emotions, check whether you are actually talking about feelings such as anger, joy, frustration, or about intellectual labels such as dumb, bad and so on. From this article, you will learn about six steps that can help you develop a better perception of the feelings that you are experiencing. The most important thing to remember is there is always more to your emotions, feelings, and sensations than you can put into words. Therefore, you want to become aware of the experience and then focus on it. Each of the steps helps you connect deeper and better with your experience.
Step 1. Clear a space.
If you are overwhelmed, if your cell phone is ringing and there’s noise all around you, it may be hard for you to become aware of how you feel and focus on your emotions, especially if you are not used to doing so. Clearing space refers to both mental and physical realms. Find a place that’s quiet and where nobody will disturb you. Calm your mind and let go of all the troubles and thoughts. One of the best ways to do so is to breathe really deeply. Have long slow exhales, too. Once you breathe really slowly for a few minutes, your mind would automatically calm itself. If you want to experience a certain emotion, be it anger, frustration, joy or something else, you can imagine a situation during which you felt the emotion. Imagine the situation as vividly as you can.
Step 2. Focus on the experience in your body.
Next, pay attention to the feelings in your body. You may feel all kinds of sensations in different places, from your stomach to your hands, feet, and head. The goal of this step is to fully get in touch with the experience by focusing all your attention on it.
Step 3. Describe your experience in words
Your experience is not static. It is a process. You need to be describing the experience every 3-5 seconds. Ask yourself about the color, size, and movement in the feeling. For example, you may feel anger in your body as a warm red sensation that starts around your belly button and then spreads all over, including legs, hands, and head. Stay with it for as long as necessary. Your goal is to become an observer. Do not think about the feeling, do not try to rush it or extend it. Just be a witness.
Step 4. Close
As the experience ends, study the insights you get from it. Typically, you will get a feeling of relief for letting the experience happen on its own, without any interruptions from your mind.