Journalling about repressed emotions through JournalSpeak taught me how to feel. It allowed me to bring up experiences that I knew triggered me and allowed those feelings to properly surface.
BUT. And this is a big BUT. I was so all "up in my head" that I didn't really feel those experiences. They were just stories, memories, things I held in my heart. It took me a while to get this, but FEELINGS ARE MEANT TO BE FELT, not THOUGHT. Literally in the physical body. I was recalling them, but I wasn't tuned into physically feeling at all.
Once we can feel our feelings instead of just thinking about them, they help us to release the pressure of the trapped stress-energy in our bodies...the nervous system's fight-or-flight mode that keeps our chronic symptoms firing.
Noticing how our bodies react to triggering situations can really help us realise just how bodily our feelings are expressed. The next time y you feel angry or sad or particularly joyful, tune into how your body actually feels. Describe how it feels from a sensations point of view. This is the mind-body language! Drop out of your head and into your body and start taking notice of what's going on there.
1. Sit in a quiet spot and write out an experience you want to address on a piece of paper/computer, or just bring it to mind. Let the detail of the experience build until you feel that it's clear in your mind.
2. Stop writing and close your eyes. Let the experience grow in your imagination and then turn your attention to your body. Tune in to your physical self. Have a little scan around your body somatically and notice what's happening, keeping the experience clear in your mind. It might be REALLY subtle sensations or changes but see what comes up and allow yourself to just be a witness.
3. Sit with it for a couple of minutes and see if anything moves or shifts.
Some of the things I feel physically when journalling: heaviness, tiredness, pressure in the head or eyes, heat, clammy hands, shaky chest, tingling, breathing pattern changes, runny nose or eyes, heartrate changes, numb legs, numbness in general, nausea, dizziness, a physical urge to leave, tummy ache or pelvic tightness.
Once you get the hang of this, you might want to try journaling or any type of self-inquiry practice with your eyes closed from the get-go. I sit typing with my eyes closed often. It allows me to stop reading / correcting what I'm writing and just tune into the feelings in my body.
It takes some practice, so don't worry if nothing come up for you as you start this, nothingness can be a feeling too. We've learnt to disassociate with our feelings to avoid them to protect ourselves, so it's normal to not notice or block-out anything at first.
Give it a go now for a couple of minutes. Just sit with a memory, see what comes up. Maybe it's nothing, maybe it's something really small that you can work on. You'll then start to really notice your physical feelings a lot more frequently in your every day.
Once you can really FEEL your feelings, they flow through you so much quicker and don't hang around anywhere near as long. They have the opportunity to start to no longer trigger you as much. Whatever comes up for you, know it's not dangerous or something to be feared. It's like a download of data from the nervous system, it's meant to be allowed out of your body, so let it flow.
"Come Home to Yourself - mind-body evening rituals" mini-course includes various tools to help you embody your feelings, evening journal prompts and writing exercises, new TMS themed somatic meditations, affirmations, restorative yoga, breathwork and much more, created to help you through your own recovery just like I did. Find out more about my course here.
Let me know if this helps you, links below if you want to carry on the conversation on this topic on my social feed. Much love coming your way!
If you'd like more insight into my personal journey out of years of chronic pain to complete healing using journalling and yoga, check out my Recovery Journey Roadmap and let's connect on social media, I'm on Facebook or Instagram and post daily insight and inspiration over there.
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