Have you ever felt trapped by your feelings? Unsure of what to do with them so you just avoid them, get flooded by them or explode? Do you feel confused about how you feel? Or lack the right words to truly explain what is going on within you? Does any of this make you feel stuck or misunderstood?
There is a better way!
Understanding how you feel and what you can do about it will give you the clarity and confidence you need to feel better, so you can live better.
Take some time to familiarize yourself with this feeling wheel below. Read the different feelings, consider how they are displayed, notice what your response is to them.
Start in the center and identify which feeling you are having and then move to the next layer and see if there is a more specific feeling or better way to describe how you are feeling, and the finally to the outer layer, again getting more accurate with how you actually feel.
The more specific we are, the more understood we feel, the more power we have to do something with our feelings, rather than just stay stuck in them.
Pro tip: Take a screen shot of this Feeling Wheel so you can have it on hand.
Start integrating this practice of feeling identification and see what you notice.
When I feel ______ , I can ______.
This looks basic, that is because, it is. Most of the time, we just don’t make it to this part of the work because we can’t even put our finger on how we are actually feeling since we lack the vocabulary. Start with identifying how you feel. Then follow this simple formula: When I feel _____, I can _____.
Next, choose healthy, desirable behaviors you would like to engage in when you have this specific feeling. I say this again and again, feeling better does not have to be complicated or dark or heavy or burdensome … feeling better can be clear, straightforward and doable. That’s the whole point, right?
So try it, start with a feeling, take it all the way to the outer layer of the feeling wheel, get specific, consider how you would like to respond when you feel this way, and try practicing this behavior the next time you have the feeling you are working on.
This concept is simultaneously simple and complex. It is easy to understand and then can be difficult to really put into practice. If you want more direct ways to understand this and to learn how your brain responds to feelings, take the Feel Better Live Better workshop. You will get a thorough run down of how your brain perceives feelings in a fight, flight or freeze pattern, how to create new pathways for your brain to use instead of the ones that are keeping you stuck, and get motivated to feel better so you can live better. The Feel Better Live Better workshop is a 45 minute web based video workshop you can take from the comfort and privacy of your own device. It is FULL of ideas, applications, pro tips and extra activities for you to really grab ahold of these tools and change your feeling patterns.
What are you waiting for?