Before you can address an uncomfortable feeling you need to first be able to label the feeling that you are having. Our bodies and our brains communicate our feelings to us in many ways. People are often surprised to learn that their body is screaming their feelings at them, communicating in ways such as back problems and stomach aches. There is no magic formula to identifying and labeling feelings. Everyone’s body is different and everyone’s body communicates to them in different ways. It’s important for you to learn the ways that your body communicates to you.
One way to start learning about how your body communicates uncomfortable feelings to you is by doing a body scan. A body scan is basically taking notice of your body and the ways that your body is signaling feelings to you.
To do a body scan you would close your eyes and start by just focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out, noticing the sensation of your stomach as your breathe in and breathe out. Once you feel relaxed and focused you can start at the top of your head and slowly scan downward just noticing the different sensations in your body.
- Do you notice pressure at the top of your head?
- Are you tense in your neck or shoulders?
- How does your heart feel? Is it racing, is it beating slowly?
- Is your gut communicating anything to you?
- What about your back?
- Keep moving down the body, observing and noticing the ways that your body is communicating to you.
The first few times that you do this exercise you might not be able to label your emotions or understand the ways in which your body is communicating your feelings to you. That’s OK - with time and practice you will start to be able to understand and notice the ways that your feelings show up.
Set an alarm on your phone to go off one time a day for the next 7 days. Use this alarm as a reminder to do a body scan and see if you can start to notice any feelings or messages that your body is sending you.