How to Become Deeply Aware of Your Feelings and Emotions

(Photo Credit: Evan Kirby)

Tell me…

What if I asked you, how are you feeling today? How would you answer?

Would you say good?

Most of us would say fine or good, mostly to avoid answering the question fully and openly but also because the person asking may not really be interested in the answer.

The real question is: Do you KNOW how you feel in any given moment? 

When I was in my teens and twenties, I had no idea how I felt. If someone asked me I couldn’t tell you the difference between anxious, excited, happy, or sad. I simply said fine.

In my late twenties I hired a therapist and the biggest thing she taught me was how to identifying my feelings.

When I told a story, any story, she would stop me and say, how are you feeling right now? I would get curious but I really didn’t know the answer. She would then ask, do you feel sad? What about anxious? Nervous? She would continue and I would answer yes or no to each feeling.

After a couple of years, I got very good at identifying my feelings. I could feel the sensations in my body and name the emotions that went along with them.  It was transformative for me because it made me much more present to my life and it allowed me to make the changes that I needed to become happier and healthier.

Without knowing it I was becoming aware of my state of being, which means I was becoming aware of how I think and how I feel at any given moment. This also taught me what my patterns are which allowed me to begin to change them.

“How you think and how you feel is a state of being. In order to change your state of being, you must change how you think and how you feel.” Dr. Joe Dispenza

I love this quote by Dr Joe Dispenza; however, you cannot change your state of being if you don’t know how you think and how you feel to begin with.

You have to become aware. Becoming aware of your feelings and thoughts is difficult, it takes time, patience and practice.

I have been practicing this for many years using deep awareness tools such as meditation and yoga.  Today, I am sharing with you the 3 step process I use during meditation and yoga or in any given moment to gain awareness.

Before we get to the process, let’s first talk about the difference between a feeling and an emotion.

A feeling is the body’s way of showing an emotion.  For example when I get excited, I feel a surge of flutters in my body, commonly called butterflies. When I get nervous I sweat and feel cold at the same time. These are our bodily reactions to an emotion.

An emotion is simply the label of that feeling.  So in these cases, excited and nervous.

3 Steps to becoming aware of your feelings and emotions:

Step 1: Feel Your Body. At any moment stop close your eyes and ask yourself, how does my body feel? Maybe it’s buzzing. Maybe you have butterflies. Maybe your tense. This is easier to do when you choose an experience that you know is going to activate some feeling in your body; however, you can practice this at any moment.

Step 2: Name the emotion. Maybe it’s anxious, excited, or angry. We don’t always feel one way. There are often many emotions happening at the same time.

Step 3: Keep asking. Continue to feel the body and name the emotion until you are complete. Until you have named all the emotions and you have felt all the feelings that are going on.

Step 4: Bonus. Ask yourself, Where are these feelings and emotions coming from? Why am I feeling this way?

Were you able to identify your feelings and emotions in this moment? If so, tell me, what are you feeling?  If not, what blocks are you noticing?