Focusing Tip: What do I do first with my anxious feeling?

Focusing Tip: What do I do first with my anxious feeling?
May 16, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #609 – “What do I do first with my anxious feeling?”


Eric writes:

I’m confused about something in Inner Relationship Focusing. It’s about what to do first.

In my own Focusing, say when I’m aware of anxiety happening inside, do I:

  1. simply get an accurate description of it? or,
  2. say: “there’s something inside that feels anxious…”

I’ve tried both, and both seem to work, but I’m wondering what you’d recommend.

Dear Eric:

I applaud you for sensing for yourself what works, what helps you. Let’s see what I can add to that!

Focusing works best if we are not identified with a feeling that we are having.

A person who is identified with a feeling sounds like this: “I am anxious.” or “I am upset.” or “I am worried.”

Like trying to look into your own eyes without having a mirror, it’s hard to spend time with “anxious” if you ARE anxious.

So if you are identified with the anxious feeling, then your first step would be to say, “Something in me is feeling anxious.”

Often, this dis-identification allows you to feel it more distinctly in the body, in a particular place. (“I am anxious” was all over, but “something in me is anxious” lets you feel the anxious feeling in your chest.) This is good.

The next move is to sense and describe it in your body as a way of gaining deeper contact with it.

So the implication there is that if you were NOT identified, you can just start with sensing and describing it.

That might sound like this: “There is an anxious feeling in my chest. I am going to stay with it and describe it…”

Another way to say this: If you CAN describe it, go ahead… and if you can’t, because it feels like “all of you” – then we need the “something in me” move.

Focusing and anxiety

Are anxious feelings too much for you?

In my first seminar on Focusing in Daily Life, I cover how to use fast, “first-aid” Focusing at the times when you feel overtaken by anxiety in the midst of life. You’ll come away with powerful and practical moves you can use immediately to feel more at ease, more balanced, more clear.

This webinar is available after purchase by streaming or download (MP4) for you to watch at your convenience.

Available here ($39)

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