What to do when feelings are too big or overwhelming.

What to do when feelings are too big or overwhelming.
August 9, 2017 Ann Weiser Cornell
What to do when your feelings get overwhelming

Focusing Tip #571 – Do you hesitate to spend time with your feelings because they are likely to swallow you up?


Eve writes:

Last week you wrote about Distant Process and what to do with feelings that disappear when you say Hello to them. Could you write about Close Process and what to do when feelings are too big, too overwhelming?

Dear Eve:

A great follow-up question! Yes, last week I wrote about the distinction between “Close Process” and “Distant Process,” and I gave tips if you typically have distant process. (If you missed it, go here.)

“Distant Process” means your emotions and body sensations are faint, elusive, easily lost. Often you feel nothing.

“Close Process” means your emotions and body sensations tend to be strong, sometimes too strong.

Amazingly, Focusing helps with both!

Here are some tips if you typically have close process:

  1. Take time even before you start Focusing to look around, feel yourself in the here-and-now, feel your body’s grounded support. Breathe. (Repeat during the process any time you need it.)

  2. When you bring awareness into your body, notice what you become aware of, and then acknowledge it. “Hello, I know you are there.”

  3. Let a gentle hand move to the place in your body where the feeling is. As if you are saying, with your hand, “I am with you now.” (Or if placing your hand doesn’t feel right, just say the words.)

  4. If you feel scared of the strong feelings, or have the urge to escape, try saying “Something in me is scared of the feelings,” or “Something in me has the urge to escape.”

  5. And say Hello to that part of you as well! YOU are not the one who is scared… that is another part of you.

When feelings could become overwhelming, what is needed is for you to be Self-in-Presence… And you can cultivate your Self-in-Presence with small, simple steps like the ones in this tip. I also have a book about this!

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