Getting in Touch With and Labeling Your Feelings

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In today’s society it can be a challenge to slow down. With this challenge comes disconnection from our feelings. Sometimes days, weeks, even months go by without us asking ourselves, “what am I feeling?”, “why am I reacting this way?” or “what’s going on here?”. The more inconsistently and the longer we wait to ask ourselves these questions, the more disconnected from ourselves and from others we can become. 

Slowing Down to Connect to Our Feelings

Slowing down to connect to our feelings can give us more perspective, help us understand a situation better, and support us in feeling more self-connected. Thinking in terms of feelings can help us all have more empathy and compassion for ourselves and for other people in our lives. 

When we can identify what it is that we are feeling, it allows us to connect to ourselves more fully. Identifying our feelings can also help us articulate our feelings in a way that others can understand and relate to rather than expressing ourselves in judgmental or reactive ways. This creates more opportunities to connect with others and to feel heard and understood. 

Here are two different ways we can slow down and choose to connect with ourselves, and maybe even with others along the way. 

Body Awareness and Our Feelings

Next time you notice your body reacting to something unpleasant, unsettling, or upsetting, slow down to connect with yourself and your body. 

  • Notice what is happening in your body. Are you feeling tense? Does your gut feel turned and twisted? Do you feel nauseous? Studies show that you can feel emotions in your body, so when we pay attention to our bodies, we can link our physical sensations back to what is going on with us on an emotional level.

  • Take a deep breath and release. Take as many breaths as you’d like. Maybe it’s just one. Maybe you spend a few minutes breathing.

  • Take a moment to review this list of feelings

  • Do any feelings listed stick out to you in this moment? Try some on, like a coat. Is there one, or maybe two or three, that fit?

  • Sit with those feelings while taking some breaths. Inhaling and exhaling. 

Sometimes, all that is needed is to identify and label what you are feeling in order to release it. Sometimes you may need to sit with that feeling and take time to connect with it in order to release it.  You may want to express this feeling in a safe space, where you can feel heard, validated, and worthy. You may want to find support in a group setting where sharing feelings is common. Or, you may want to find a group where people can relate to your feelings and experiences - (hey new moms and women, check it out!). You may need to connect further with your feeling(s) by connecting it to an unmet need and go through a process of mourning and healing to release this feeling. 

Checking-In to Connect

This self-check in can be used at any time in any place. 

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  • Take a breath and release. Do this however many times you’d like.

  • Think about how you are feeling right now, in this present moment. You may think about your day up until this point, or what else you have going on, but try to think about how you are currently feeling. 

  • Take a moment to review this list of feelings.

  • Do any feelings listed stick out to you in this moment? Try some on, like a coat. Is there one, or maybe two or three, that fitting?

  • Sit with those feelings while taking some breaths. Inhaling and exhaling. 

  • If you are feeling up to it… you can try to connect your feeling(s) to a need/needs. Maybe your feeling connects to multiple needs. 

Staying curious about how we are feeling and remembering to check-in with our selves makes all the difference in the process of becoming aware of our feelings and being able to communicate about them. Taking time to slow down, identify, label, and articulate our feelings can actually have a therapeutic effect on our brains and help us feel more connected to ourselves. There are so many ways to describe how we are feeling, and learning descriptive words that really connect us to our experience can help us release our emotions, and can help others better understand what it is that we are experiencing. 

Why not try to connect more fully with yourself and others by becoming curious about your feelings, and maybe even the feelings of others? 

Thanks for your presence & curiosity!

With care and appreciation,

Alex

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Alex is a Nonviolent Communication facilitator, MSW Candidate, and reset brain + body Intern. She has always had a desire to contribute to society. Her desire and direction developed when she discovered Nonviolent Communication (NVC) in 2015. NVC helped her on a personal level and she enjoys supporting others who are interested in learning/re-learning this way of thinking, being, and communicating. You can meet her at reset brain + body, or at a Metro Detroit Nonviolent Communication practice group or workshop she may be leading.