Managing how you feel - tip #2

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One of the things clients most often want to talk about early in psychotherapy is how they can get into a better relationship with their feelings. It may be that feelings are overwhelming, or unpredictable, or that they sometimes feel out of control.

In this series I present a number of tools and techniques that you can use to begin to engage differently with your emotional state. Feelings are messages, letting us know about something our system wants us to pay attention to. In this way, symptoms are trying to help, its just their approach is outdated and for your needs now, misguided.

These tips are ways of learning to make space for, and contain, the way you feel, so that the message the feeling wants to convey can be received, and the intensity of the experience can ebb away. Not every tip will fit for everyone, the trick is experimenting, finding things that resonate for you, and tweaking them to make them your own.

Tip #2 - Move

Our emotional state is influenced by three things:

-  the way we unconsiously filter information

-  the way we represent our experience to ourselves internally

-  our physiology

Today's tip is a simple, physiological one.  Move.  Your body regenerates your emotional state around about every 90 seconds.  This means you have many, many opportunities to shift what you are experiencing.  One of the most direct, rapid ways to do this is through your body.

Stand up.  Shake your arms and legs.  Do the twist.  Shake your head. Walk around the room.  Have a dance.  

It doesn't matter so much what you do, it matters that you do something different.  This is called a 'break state' and it serves the purpose of interupting the pattern that is currently running inside you, and makes space for something new or different to begin.

So next time you feel stuck in rut, lost in thought, down in the dumps...get up, and move.  You just might shake it off.

Fe Robinson, Psychotherapist

I am here to help you thrive, whatever life brings. I offer Psychotherapy, EMDR therapy and Couples Counselling to clients based in Durham. I am UKCP Accredited and an EMDR Europe Practitioner, and offer Clinical Supervision to counsellors and psychotherapists locally. I have worked in private practice, the NHS, and in charitable organisations, with a wide range of clients and conditions.

1 Comments

Amy Sinacola 3 months ago

I use this technique a lot with my 7 year old when her emotions are overwhelping her. Dancing,  running on the spot or a quick wall round the block works a treat.