Focusing Tip #753 – Focusing when the feelings are “too much”

Focusing Tip #753 – Focusing when the feelings are “too much”
May 19, 2021 Ann Weiser Cornell
Focusing Tip When it is too much, I stop the experience in order not to re-traumatize.

Focusing Tip #753 – Focusing when the feelings are “too much”

What can you do when your feelings are so intense that they scare you… and it feels like even feeling them is too much? Read on…


Edward writes:

I need help with what to do when in Focusing I go through intense feelings like anxiety, anguish, stress, etc. When it is too much, I stop the experience in order not to re-traumatize. But then I don’t know how I can get back to Focusing.

Dear Edward:

When feelings are intense, that can be scary to something in us.

And that’s too bad, because intense feelings are like somebody yelling for help. That’s why they’re intense… because they are shouting for attention. And if they don’t get it… they may just shout louder!

The gentle process of Focusing offers such a powerful way to give our feelings the attention they need. Such a powerful way to be the one who can be present and listen calmly… which I believe is what our feelings have always needed.

But what if you can’t? What if you yourself don’t feel strong enough or calm enough? What if you are afraid you are being retraumatized simply by allowing your feelings to come?

Well, in that case, the one to be with is the one in you who feels scared of the strong feelings. That doesn’t mean you need to stop Focusing. It just means you shift your attention from the intense feelings to the feelings about the intense feelings.

The Presence Language of Inner Relationship Focusing offers us a way to do that. The first phrase is:

“I am sensing…”

When you say “I am sensing…” you remember that you are here. You are the one who is sensing.

Next, say:

“something in me feels.”

What you are sensing is not all of you, it’s “something in you.”

And finally, we have the very powerful word:

“And.”

Put them all together:

“I am sensing something in me having intense feelings, AND I am sensing something in me that’s scared of how intense they are… and I am here with both.”

At that point you might put a gentle hand on the place in the body where you feel scared. Yes, you can give company to what needs your company. And if the first feeling is hard to be with, you can give company to the feeling about that.

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