SOOTHING, SENSING, AND NAMING EMOTIONS
THE SOOTHING BREATH—CONSCIOUS BREATHING
So long as you can take a breath, you can sooth yourself and your emotional state.
Place you body in a comfortable position, either sitting or lying down
Begin with your normal breath— focus on the in and out of the breath for a few breaths
Consciously slow the breath down, begin to elongate (lengthen) the breath
Now begin to breathe deeply into your body, first feeling the breath enter your abdomen, then filling your chest, all the way up to your throat
*As you breathe in feeling the belly rise, your chest open
*As you breathe in allow your focus to rest on the in-breath
Now, as you exhale, feel your breath leaving your throat, then chest, and lastly your belly.
- Feel all the air being released
- Flatten your belly to release any remaining air
- As you breathe out allow your focus to rest on the out-breath
- If desired, allow a sound to be released on the out-breath
Continue with this cycle of breathing-
Breathing in new, cleansing breath
Breathing out, tension, used air
If you are particularly stressed,you can try exhaling through your mouth versus your nose to release tension
Try using a color for the in-breathe, out-breath or both. Choose a relaxing color for the in-breath.
Using conscious breathing helps us to tune into our bodies and what we are feeling and/or sensing. It helps to tune into the numbness we have used to protect ourselves from our emotions.
Continue conscious breathing
Tune in to what you are feeling and/or sensing in your body
- What are you noticing? Sensing? Feeling?
If you locate a feeling-bring your breath to this feeling- just noticing-you are not trying to change how you feel. You are simply bringing awareness to the feeling/sensation.
If you are having trouble locating emotions in the body, use Body Scan.
Start at the top of your head and begin to bring your focus/ awareness slowly down your body—
NOTICE- any place where there are particular knots or tension or discomfort, assume that every point of tension in the body has an emotional correlate— the places you are tense are also the places you are holding unexpressed emotion— Notice texture, shape temperature of this place.
Bring your attention to one site of tension- bring your full attention to this site. Imagine the body has a voice, invite the body to speak, for example- I am knotted up in my stomach, I can’t relax because if i do something terrible will happen. Allow there to be free association.
Try to name certain bodily sensations in emotion-terms- This feeling in my chest that takes my breath away is fear. ( Using the Eight Basic Emotion Chart found in the Resource Section of this website may help )
After taking time to identify emotions, write
I feel…………………….. I know………………….
allowing your conscious mind to connect feelings with knowing.
For Example—I feel sad, I know this because I have not been able to connect with my partner the past few days.
I feel anger, I know my anger is sometimes a cover for my fear or vulnerability