DID YOU KNOW? The amygdala is at work 24/7. It is wired to receive sensory stimulus from our external and internal environment. It sends signals to energize the body (an e:motion) and to activate the mind (a thought.)
Stop! Hold on … Are you saying that an e:motion is energy in action?
Yes! By definition, an e:motion is a glandular reaction to external or internal stimulus. All too often we ignore this fact and label the feeling as an emotion, tripping a bank of unconscious memories and behavioral expressions related to how we “feel.”
I am amazed constantly at how easy it is to label an emotion in my head, but how difficult it is to locate an e:motion in my body. For example, I say to myself or another person, “I feel angry.” But, it is more difficult to answer, “How do I know?” For example, “I feel anger in my muscles tightening across my right shoulder, tensing my forearm, closing my hand and forming a fist.”
Now my e:motion generates a behavior. I can express it outwardly by punching someone in the nose, yelling or screaming or I can turn it inwardly, silently screaming so it wears and tears on my body. My heart beats faster … my breath becomes short and shallow. My mind floods with cortisol and my prefrontal cortex ceases to think clearly. I react instinctually to survive … fight, flight or freeze. But, there may be another way!
What if I ponder, pause and plant myself. What if I locate my e:motion in my body? What if I give voice to a physical description of my e:motion as a non-verbal expression of something important to grasp. What difference does it make when I listen to the wisdom of my body and perceive my e:motion as energy in action? What happens when I respond intuitively and thrive by practicing ABC Tool #12?
The Locator Brain orients you in space and time.
ABC Tool #12: Locate Your E:motion
A – Alert – Be Aware! Ponder the following questions.
Q. “How do I feel?" A. I feel anxious
Q. "What label do I give this emotion?” A. “Anxiety.”
Q. “How do I know I have this e:motion? A. It is a feeling ... a physical sensation.
Q. Where do I experience this e:motion in my physical body?” A. “It is located in my chest. My chest tightens. My heart beats loudly, throbing in my throat region.”
The above is an example. You are welcome to select another emotion and respond to the questions.
B – Blink – Be Present! Pause to breathe into your emotion’s somatic location.
Stop, Drop and Roll Breath: Exhale! Follow your breath to where the e:motion is located. Inhale and repeat 3 times. (Please refer to B – Break in ABC Tool #2 for detailed instructions.)
Stop, Drop and Roll Eye Pattern: Focus your eyes! Imagine a clock with numbers in a circle from 1 to 12. As you exhale, look at #6. As you inhale, move your eyes to #1 and then to #12. Repeat 3 times. (Please refer to B – Break in ABC Tool #3 for detailed instructions.)
C – Change – Be Located! Plant yourself in your body.
Describe the sensation. For example, my chest is tight. My heart is pounding at a rapid beat.
Acknowledge the sensation. Choose one signal … my heart beat
Place your hand over your heart. Tap out the rhythm you feel. Slow the rhythm down. Pay attention to your breath. This is like patting the baby on the back when it is crying to reassure him/her that all is well.
Talk with your body signal. Listen to the wisdom of your body. Say, “Thank you my beating heart. Please decrease your intensity.” Ask it, “Do you have a message for me?” Often, it will answer directly through words. Sometimes, it needs prompting by asking it yes/no questions.
Other times, it will give you an image of what it is like. For example, it is like a loud-fast pounding drum. If this is the case, change the image to the slow-soft sound of a snare drum. Let your body talk. Connect your gut/heart-brain with your head-brain.
Harness the Power of Your Brain!
May the Fullness of Your E:motions flow through You!