Observing your feelings.


When you hear the term mindfulness, what that means is to quietly observe your own emotions, not judging or denying them, but just accepting that they exist.     This includes observing the way an emotion makes you feel physically or where it seems to reside in your body.    When you quietly observe your feelings this way, by default that keeps you in the present and you are not likely to act out impulsively on an emotion.    It’s central to mindfulness therapies like DBT.

I feel very anxious today.  I don’t know what’s causing it but that doesn’t matter.  Probably nothing is causing it; it’s just free floating anxiety.    In the past I might have drank too much, snarled and snapped at people to relieve the stress, or just suffered.  I might have told myself I was being stupid and to snap out of it, mirroring the very words my narcissistic parents and ex would say to me whenever anxiety (or any other emotion they didn’t like) would strike.   Feelings themselves are never wrong, though acting out on them in impulsive or destructive ways can be.

I went outside and sat on the porch and just observed my anxiety.    I realized how physical emotions really are.   The anxiety manifested as a tightness in my chest (heart area) and the middle of my abdomen [these may correspond with the third (solar plexus) and fourth (heart) chakras, if you’re into that].   I know I  have blockages in those areas and this is causing a lot of my anxiety.    I breathed deeply, imagining my breath flowing into these constricted, painful areas.   It didn’t help a whole lot, but it did a little.  I tried to connect the anxiety with a triggering event but couldn’t think of one.   I told myself the free-floating anxiety was temporary, like a headache, and that it wouldn’t kill me, so I just surrendered to it without judging it as a good or bad thing, and that the anxiety wasn’t ME, it was just a feeling and would pass.  And after a while, it did.


12 thoughts on “Observing your feelings.

  1. I think you telling yourself those things was excellent. Especially that it’s temporary and not going to last forever. You’re a recovering BPD so you’re in health:) Borderlines in the throws of illness freak easily because they think that what’s going on in the present is forever. You knew better than that. Cheers!

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  2. That was great. I have never had really anxiety but as a codependant those feelings of loneliness. And its strange because I do like lonely time but just sometimes it comes to me and I feel it in my chest. I also tell myself. Youre not real . Go away. Actually I al happy on my own so .. Dissapear.. Sometimes it works and sometimes I have to call up a friend,

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  3. I liked how you said the anxiety wasn’t you, but just a feeling you were having. In the moment it’s good to have things like that to say to yourself and I may try that one. Anxiety also makes me have a tunnel vision of sorts, so I’m learning to force myself in those moments to look at my surroundings and note and take them in. When I remember to think of it.

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    • LOL, sometimes i have to remind myself to think of dong it too. My therapist was the one who told me to start looking at my feelings as not ME, or even part of me, but just something I have.

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  4. Mindfulness and observing really does help. I find I can observe my less extreme emotions and thought patterns but when I go from 0-60 in seconds I can’t.
    I have only just started a few weeks back with DBT and Mindfulness and know that with more practice that the rapid cycles will also reduce. Mindfulness is difficult for me but I do see small improvements since starting with it and I act out less.

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    • It takes time, it’s like learning a new habit. I was terrible at it when I was in the classes and it wasn’t really until years later that I took it up again and really took it seriously. But it sounds like you’re doing well. 🙂 Good luck!

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