The start of the Katy Perry song, Firework, goes like this, "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?" Heard it on the radio the other day, and it got me thinking about how would I describe my various feelings? I started paying attention and realized that...
When I am angry, I feel like I am pushing with all my might against a brick wall, I feel tight. I can't take a deep full breath because it is too tight and there is no give anywhere.
When I am sad, I feel so heavy inside, like its too difficult to carry on.
When I am excited, I bounce off the walls, I feel young and energetic. I can't keep the smile off my face.
When I feel discouraged, I feel emotionally and physically tired. I feel drained, like a wrung out wet rag. I have no energy, I am dragging.
When I am happy, my heart hums. I feel like all is right with the world, I feel like I'm literally glowing.
When I am afraid, I feel my insides churning. I feel shaky and my heart turns cold.
When I feel ashamed or guilty, I literally wither and shrink into myself. I feel it in the pit of my stomach, this uneasy "thing" that I just want to get rid off.
When I am content, I feel a deep sense of love and peace. Everything is still and clear. I am at rest. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. Just be here now.
This little exercise really helped me become aware of the sensations in my body, mind and spirit as my feelings changed through the day and the week. The interesting thing was, instead of reacting to my feelings (e.g., yelling because I felt angry), I found that pausing to observe and name the feeling released some of its power over me. I was able to choose how I wanted to deal with my anger or sadness (e.g, walk away, distract myself, exercise) instead of reacting to it habitually (e.g., grumbling or moping).
Emotional Intelligence is defined as the the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions. In other words, being able to pause and name what you are feeling in the moment and then consciously deciding what you want to do. With some practice, it can be a total game changer in your life. It was for me.
Tune into your emotions this week and see what it does for you.