Day 007 – Exploring feelings

I woke up on Monday feeling, as I mentioned, a bit glum. One thing I think we can certainly be curious about is our feelings. There is, of course, the kind of curiosity that asks “Why am I feeling this way?” and perhaps “What can I do to feel better?” but for this post I would like to stick with the kind of curiosity that is very close to mindfulness and simply asks “What am I really feeling?” and “How do I know that?”

A very simple exercise for this is to stop what you’re doing and go through the following list:

  • Am I feeling a positive or negative feeling right now?
  • On a scale of -10 to +10 where would I put my feeling? (-10 is “Couldn’t feel worse” and +10 “Couldn’t feel better”)
  • What name would I give this feeling?
  • How do I know that is what I am feeling?
  • Recapitulation, and with it a kind of acknowledgement, of the feelings involved before moving on

I’ll try to recreate my Monday experience as an example:

  • Positive or negative? Negative
  • On the scale? -1
  • What name? I’m feeling glum
  • How do I know? Mild lack of energy and therefore no real desire to get up, face rather immobile, a sensation of weight on my body and face
  • Recap: Negative, -1 or so, glumness, lack of energy, lack of desire to get up, little facial expression, and a sense of weight. OK, interesting, now let’s get back to life.

A few points:

  • Some people may prefer to avoid the words “positive” and “negative”. In that case, how about “pleasant” and “unpleasant”? I propose “positive” and “negative” for this exercise mainly because of step two.
  • Eckhart Tolle recommends using the phrasing “I feel … in me” as in “I feel glumness in me” to keep us from identifying too strongly with the emotion. I offer that up for anyone who wants it.
  • For me one of the most interesting parts of this exercise is the fourth question, “How do I know that this is what I am feeling?” I believe that curiosity about how we recognize feelings or reactions–what the symptoms are, so to speak–is almost always profitable and at least interesting.
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6 thoughts on “Day 007 – Exploring feelings

  1. Pingback: Day 061 – Checking in on my hypothesis | A Year of Living Curiously

  2. Pingback: Day 085 – Curiosity and gratefulness | A Year of Living Curiously

  3. Pingback: Day 100 – 100 days | A Year of Living Curiously

  4. Pingback: Day 183 – Curiosity about feelings | A Year of Living Curiously

  5. Pingback: Day 251 – Exercises mentioned, now with links | A Year of Living Curiously

  6. Pingback: Day 258 – Exploring feelings exercise | A Year of Living Curiously

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