(5:55) I use this practice A LOT. It is one of the most powerful meditation tools that I have. Whenever something is screaming for my attention, whenever a sensation, emotion or thought is taking over (overwhelm!), I use this practice to help me embrace it. By turning my attention to it, becoming fully present to it, I can integrate it into myself – and the overwhelm subsides because it has my attention!
Sometimes it takes multiple sits to fully integrate if it is something big… so don’t be discouraged if it takes a few times. Most things integrate fairly quickly and some things I’ve been working with for years! 🙂
This practice works best if you have some experience with meditation, especially with being present or focusing your attention on something that is happening right now (like your breathing, your physical sensations, what you can hear or see, etc).
Mindfulness Practice: Emotional Awareness
- Notice that something is bothering you or wants your attention.
- Start to create awareness of yourself, presence, or space by (closing your eyes and) first focusing on your breathing. “How am I breathing right now?”
- Once you are aware of yourself breathing, once you are present, notice what you are feeling and feel it as fully as you are able. If you feel “nothing” notice that as fully as you are able.
- As much as you can, just feel what the feeling feels like. Feel with out naming the feeling or going into the stories around the feeling. Focus on feeling the feeling versus on understanding the feeling.
- As much as you can maintain your awareness that you are the one feeling the feeling. “I am feeling this right now.” Maintain your awareness that YOU are feeling a feeling. Maintain the perspective that you are feeling vs getting lost in the feelings (and forgetting the perspective of YOU doing the feeling).
- If you start to feel overwhelmed by the feeling, give yourself a break and shift your attention to your breath. You can either return to noticing the feeling or decide that you need help navigating this one. Get help if you want it from friends, coaches or therapists.
- When you are ready to end move your focus back to your breath for a few breaths and then open your eyes if they are closed.
When your mind wanders, as it inevitably will, gently bring it back first to presence by noticing your breath and the quiet between thoughts, and then re-focus on the heart of the practice.
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