Aug 24, 2021
Dr. Sarno taught that unprocessed emotions, particularly anger and rage were responsible for chronic pain, back pain.
Now with Trauma informed care and Polyvagal Theory the conversation has shifted to safety and fear.
Underlying it all is this concept of Emotional Awareness.
And more important (in my opinion) creating safety with Emotional Experiencing.
There's research that shows, the more granular one is in being able to describe their emotions, the better sense of well-being one has.
In this episode I discuss the reasons why we want to do this practice and the simple skill of the cognitive-somatic tool I call "I Notice."
Here's the link to the emotion wheel article I mention. https://flowingdata.com/2020/03/20/wheel-of-emotional-words/
[00:00:00] Welcome to Move With Deb. I'm Deb your friendly
neuroplastician. And this is a podcast that explores the
relationship between the body and the mind from a health at every
size, judgment, free perspective. I teach you how developing a new
internal conversation based on curiosity, self friendship and
simple neuro-plasticity techniques can rewire your bodymind out of
pain and emotional overwhelm to help you build the rich full life
that you want to live. Disclaimer, this is not a replacement for
[00:00:50] Hello, everyone. And welcome to move with Deb.
This is episode number 28. And I want to encourage you. This is an
encouraging pep talk of a podcast. Today my suggestion is that you
owe it to yourself, to tell yourself, the truth about your thoughts
[00:01:21] And I promise you that this is a key piece of
mind, body healing. This is a key piece of changing your
relationship to anxiety, to pain, and to fear.
[00:01:37] So how do we do this? Gonna try to keep it
short and sweet.
[00:01:42] My suggestion is to start using the phrase. "I
[00:01:48] So right now, I noticed that I am feeling
[00:01:53] And nervous. Feels like a little bit of
tightness in my throat. My breath is a little short in my chest.
And my head feels a little wiggly.
[00:02:05] And I'm just noticing that.
[00:02:07] There is a great tool called an emotion wheel.
The emotional word wheel by Jeffrey Roberts. Here's a great quote
from a website called Flowing Data.
[00:02:20] " I work with people who have limited emotional
vocabulary and as a result, the intensity of their negative
emotions and experiences is heightened. Because they can't describe
their feelings. Especially their negative feelings. This is why the
list is heavily focused on negative emotion/experiences. Being able
to clearly identify how we're feeling has been shown to reduce this
intensity of experience because it reengages our rational
[00:02:55] So I like to. Explain this process of emotional
awareness as like a dance. And this noticing language, this
cultivating what I call our lazy detective, allows us to sense into
an experience and also step out of it. We're creating this habit of
building this neutral relaxed observer, which by its nature
curiosity, is an antidote to reactivity.
[00:03:29] So it's this little cognitive somatic awareness
practice, it's like a little dance. It's a little inside touching
in, pulling back and not analyzing, but just witnessing. You don't
have to know why all the time. Why implies. That there's some
reason that something is happening. And that if we just fixed that
reason, then it wouldn't be happening anymore. In some ways that's
true when you pull the whole view back of the mind, body
experience, what is happening? Is that you're having a thought and
a feeling which creates a sensation in our body. So it's not the
why of the thought and the feeling. It's kind of more the how of
the thought and the feeling because we are human, we have thoughts
and feelings. So learning to not get sucked into the content of the
story, of the thought, of the why, of the trauma, of the
experience, it can really help to build this cognitive sematic
Metta. Awareness practice. I am a human being. I am having a
thought. I am having a feeling. I noticed that I'm feeling nervous.
I noticed that I'm feeling anxious. This is what these sensations
feel like in my body.
[00:05:01] When we use the emotion wheel, it gives us so
many words to help us explain and describe and get creative and be
able to tell ourselves the truth about how we're feeling, what
we're feeling without this quality of shame that comes with
believing that we shouldn't be feeling. That when we allow negative
emotion to be felt and witnessed within ourselves then there is no
need for shame. Shame creates this resistance to what is. And what
is happening when you're experiencing a negative emotion is that
you are experiencing a negative emotion. If you look on the emotion
wheel. Fearful expands out to threatened, rejected, weak, insecure,
anxious, which expands out to helpless, frightened, overwhelmed,
worried, inadequate, inferior, worthless, insignificant, excluded,
persecuted, nervous, exposed.
[00:06:16] Now of course those feelings are uncomfortable.
When we believe that those feelings mean something about us, we are
not going to want to experience them because in our mind body
experience we have told ourselves if we feel this, then it must be
[00:06:41] But it's not true as in a verifiable fact about
your worthiness, about who you are as a person. The only thing that
is true is that this is the emotion that you are feeling. So that's
what's important. Because when we tell ourselves that we shouldn't
feel something or if you're like, I wish I didn't feel this, or
even when you get lost in the fantasy of um, my life would be
better if I only felt good things all the time. You're not telling
yourself the truth. The truth is that this is the feeling you're
having right now. And that is okay. Because human beings feel all
the things. And so when we have a feeling, if we tell ourselves I
noticed that I am feeling inadequate, we can offer ourselves some
compassion. We could also say to ourselves what is the thought that
you were thinking that is creating this feeling of inadequate?
Well, when I think about that, then the thought that I'm thinking
right now, Is that I don't know how to share this tool, that I
don't know how to explain this well. That I don't have the skills
to do the work that I'm doing, maybe that is what creates the
feeling of inadequate.
[00:08:06] And now I have a lot of evidence that, that
thought isn't true. And also our thoughts are not true as in the
same thing as this table is a table. it's a sentence in my mind. I
can find lots of evidence for the opposite. But what's important is
also to just notice.
[00:08:25] This is the thought that's in my
[00:08:27] And then this is a sensation that is in my
[00:08:31] When I am able to step back and witness that
these are just thoughts that I think sometimes, I can give myself
grace. Give myself love. Speak to that part of me that always
thinks she's failing. I can meet her with humor and say like, okay,
brain this is like your favorite thought to think. Like, I really
appreciate that you're trying to keep me safe. That you're trying
to protect me by like telling me, in these kind of harsh words to
like, not be vulnerable, to not try new things, because what if
they're scary? What if we fail? What if, what if, what if, what
[00:09:15] Or what if we succeed? And what if then we have
to do more? What if? So there's a way in which I like to frame that
all my thoughts and my feelings and my sensations in my body are
working in my benefit, they are here to keep me safe. I can also
choose to have gratitude for this, kind of unhelpful in trying to
be helpful, part of me that's just doing its best. And I can you
know, pat myself on the head and say, yes, thank you for wanting to
protect me, but I got this.
[00:09:57] I am willing to say things and maybe be bad at
it. I am willing to try really hard to explain these concepts to
people. You know, that what it is, that you've learned for your own
mind body, for your own healing process can help other people. I'm
willing to try. And it doesn't mean that I won't have this thought
again. I might have this thought again.
[00:10:23] I've spent a lot of years thinking thoughts
that are just like this. And it doesn't mean anything, other than
it is a well-practiced thought. I have a well myelinated neural
pathway that loves to go there. I'm in the process of rewiring my
brain and learning how to do this is just noticing what I'm
thinking, noticing what I'm feeling, creating peace with that,
allowing that process. That's the cognitive somatic awareness dance
that we do.
[00:10:58] And how we practice is important. We practice
with fear and urgency. We will have more fear and urgency. If we
practice with a sense of lightness. Humor. Peace. Love and
compassion, for ourselves. Love and compassion for the child in us
that wishes that things had been different when we were
[00:11:24] But we get to make things different for that
child who lives inside of us now. By letting them tell the truth
about how they're feeling and then offering comfort. When we're in
this practice, we can begin to notice what does pushing through
feel like? That's a lot of what we create for ourselves when we are
in pain. This sense of having to push through. This belief that,
you know, I don't have time to feel this. I don't have time to feel
sad, angry, frustrated, I have this long list of things that I have
to do. I don't have time for these feelings.
[00:12:05] What I'd like to suggest is we don't have time
to not have these feelings. That making time, but more importantly,
learning to practice, how to allow a feeling is different than
expressing a feeling. It's different than sharing a feeling with
another person. It's just the practice of noticing, with a sense of
peace. Noticing with a sense of welcome.
[00:12:36] I want to train my brain that emotions are not
a problem. So when I am in resistance to a feeling arising in my
body. I'm literally teaching my brain no. We can't have this. No,
there's no room for this or No, I'm afraid to feel this. Literally,
I have clients who tell me, I can't feel this. I can't feel this,
[00:13:02] And when they say that statement, Their body
mind believes them. And therefore will help you in not feeling that
again. By giving you something else to feel. Or by just taking you
out of the whole picture. Sending you into overwhelm, sending you
into fight flight, sending your brain off down the drain. Because
you're not willing to feel something painful. To be with yourself,
as it hurts. And the more that you get good at creating emotional
allowance and making room for feelings to be felt, feelings get
quieter. They, they just aren't as scary anymore. And maybe you
don't believe me. Because you haven't experienced it. Maybe you
need some other support for this. Which might mean working with a
coach or working with a therapist. Working with the tool of somatic
tracking. It's great practice tool for being safe with the
sensations that arise in our body. Or being safe with the emotions
that we feel.
[00:14:11] So when we are in resistance. And we're not
allowing the feeling to be felt it's usually because we believe
that it means something about who we are. So. If you can't get to
the feeling part. Start with the thinking part. If you're like, I'm
afraid to have this feeling. Ask yourself. Why? What am I making
that mean? What will I believe about myself? If I allow this
feeling to be felt in my body. And just see what comes
[00:14:45] So like when I suggest that you sit with your
feelings, what thought or sensation arises? Now notice that. We
want to develop this practice of noticing.
[00:14:57] Maybe you have the thought. What good will this
do? Maybe you have this just giant, like pushing away. No.
Rejection. Like if your body spoke it would feel like you're
pushing something away.
[00:15:13] Or defeat. Nothing will change. Right. Just
like deflated feeling in your body. What good will this do? What
does that feel like for you? Is that a thought that pops up? Any
thought can be felt. What is the felt sense of that thought? Start
[00:15:36] You can also do this with positive feelings. We
don't only have to deal with negative feelings. Sometimes it's just
good to start with positive feelings or neutral feelings, neutral
thoughts, neutral feelings, pay attention to those. The same mind,
[00:15:56] So, you know, I don't want to send you into
overload and overwhelm. This noticing, witnessing, self kindness
practice will open your window of tolerance. And help you be with
yourself during all of it. So we get to make that entry point be
wherever you want, because the thing is, it doesn't matter. We
don't have to deal with the biggest scariest thing. We can deal
with the smallest most innocuous thing first. Because it is about
building this practice, about building this cognitive somatic
awareness piece. So. If starting with your pain seems too hard
start with something you enjoy. Start with a smile that you get on
your face when you see your pet.
[00:16:50] What is the thought that you're
[00:16:53] What is the sensation in your
[00:16:56] Where does your mind go?
[00:16:57] I invite you to notice what arises. And then
welcome all that arises. Hello fear. Hello doubt. Hello pain. Hello
joy. Hello ecstasy. Hello kindness. Hello love. Hello
[00:17:15] You are welcome here. I don't need to kick you
out. I also might not give you all of my attention. Let's just sit
next to each other and share space. Peace. Like meeting a skittish
cat. Or a dog who's very afraid. If you hold out your hand, they
might run away. So you start by just sitting down. Being calm.
Allowing them to come to you. Allowing them to see that you are
[00:17:47] That's what we can create for ourselves with
our own thoughts and feelings. I cannot express to you enough but
this is an essential. part of healing. I've had clients roll their
eyes at me. Cross their arms in disbelief. And tell me that they
think it's a load of bullshit and that they literally don't have
time. They don't have time to be with their feelings. And I just
want to suggest it's because they think they have to do something
about their feelings. And that it requires other people to comply
with them, other people to change their behavior. Things in the
world to be different.
[00:18:33] I need to know that I'm financially secure. I
need my mother to feel well. I need my children to stop screaming.
I need the, you know, climate to stop changing. I need. I need
something. Yes, we all want things to be different. But that's not
[00:18:51] This process is quiet. It is internal and it is
for you. Your feelings are for you.
[00:19:01] They are you talking to you.
[00:19:04] And if you don't listen they just get louder.
And they keep showing up. They just want to be heard. There is a
part of you that just wants to be acknowledged. And when we only
train ourselves to get that acknowledgement and validation
externally it is very challenging, we just make it 10 times harder,
a hundred times harder. Because then we can reinforce this story
that other people don't know how to take care of us. That if only
my parents had been better, if only my life had been better when I
was young. Then I would be okay.
[00:19:46] The problem with that is that, that is in the
past. We don't have a time machine. We cannot undo things that have
happened in the past.
[00:19:54] What happens in your body mind as an adult, we
can be that self witness. We can be that loving, compassionate
listener. To soothe ourselves. To say. I hear you. I am with
[00:20:10] And to just let that feeling be felt. And you
will be amazed at how quickly an emotion will move through
[00:20:19] When we teach ourselves that emotions are
problems. Or that they indicate that there is some kind of systemic
problem with who we are. Some kind of pathology, we don't spend any
time getting to know this part of us. We don't spend any time
practicing this very quiet, relaxed, neutral observer. To getting
to know this felt sense. This absolutely universal human experience
[00:20:51] Feelings are not negative or positive. They're
not good or bad. They just are.
[00:20:58] So that is my best pitch. For feeling all the
feels, for caring for ourselves when we are feeling. When we allow
ourselves to be seen and witnessed by ourselves we build a sense of
unshakeable self-trust. I feel like I can go on and on and on and
on. So, I don't know that pitching this any harder is going to
help. I'm just gonna suggest that you try it.
[00:21:30] Just notice what comes up in your mind when you
listen to the words that I say on this podcast. Even just say I'm
listening to Deb and I noticed that I'm feeling x. That's the
entire practice. Try it out. Let me know what you
[00:21:46] I'm here for you. And if you're curious about my eight week pain recovery program. Please message me. Hop on a curiosity call, go visit my website, debmalkin.com. Visit me on Instagram @ movewithedeb. I am here for you to help in any way I can. Help you shift your pain. Help you connect with this felt sense of being okay.