Self-Helpapedia

Powerful techniques to optimize your emotions, beliefs, and behaviors

Learning to Feel and Integrate Our Feelings

Learning to feel and integrate our feelings is fully feeling our feelings and allowing them to be there with no intention of getting rid of them or keeping them. This approach puts us in full contact with ourselves and allows us to naturally integrate and process our feelings. This integration and processing leads to our clearly seeing ourselves, others, and the world. Feeling and integrating is the basis of sound mental health and aliveness.

Feeling and integrating our feelings stands at the middle way between avoiding our feelings and overidentifying with our feelings. Feeling and integrating is basically a relaxed opened focus and non-interfering approach to our feelings. This approach does not judge or evaluate our emotions and feelings. We simply experience our feelings in a state of allowing and greet them with acceptance, love, and a sense of that's the way it is.

 

 

 

In noting that feeling and integrating resides between ignoring and over identification, we recognize that ignoring is when a feeling emerges and we attempt to avoid it, deny it, medicate it away, repress it, tense up, distract ourselves, talk about it, or get lost in daydreams. Overidentification is when feelings show up and we are caught up in them. Here we are so immersed in a feeling we can't see the separation between ourselves and the feeling. We almost become the feeling!

 

Allowing ourselves to feel feelings brings relief and greatly lessons symptoms, habits, compulsions, stuckness, panic, depression, anxiety, and chronic moodiness. Feeling and integrating operates on the common observation that when feelings are resisted they intensify and persist. Yet when feelings are fully experienced and accepted they integrate and dissolve. This is our nature. Resistance and overidentification create havoc in our lives. We don't get our feelings important messages. Emotions seem stuck.

 

Take Care, Steve   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Feelings Primer

Here's a quick Primer on Feelings.

 

Awareness of Feelings

In doing processing or integrating, we will be bringing our awareness to our feelings and noting what happens in our inner world.

 

 

One of the larger challenges facing folks in knowing their inner-self and feelings world is that we simply don't put time aside to experience our inner natures. We may have other responsibilities, work, families, relationships, and hobbies. Many of us are outer goal-oriented rather than inner-directed. We miss our interior life because of this and feelings get lost in the shuffle.

 

Sorry to say we often don't become aware of our interior life until the emergency buzzer goes off and we start to become conscious of a stressful emotional overload. Feelings got shoved out of awareness. Dissociation went on too long. It's usually in crisis points when folks become aware of their emotions and feelings. Addictions. Compulsions. Bouts of depression. Illness. Stress related disorders. These will draw our attention inward if we're fortunate.

 

Our feelings, emotions, and beliefs deserve our priority if we wish to live meaningful, stimulating, and enjoyable lives. What stands in the way of feeling feelings? Avoidance. Not putting time aside. Dissociation. Not putting feelings high on our priority list. Impatience. Denial. Or believing we're selfish for attending to our inner life.

 

For folks with strong negative filters, looking inside may call on courage and patience. It isn't always easy being with painful and stuck feelings. What this forum and its processes page provide are some of the ways this inner exploration and growth can be done without being overwhelmed.

 

How important are feelings and beliefs in your life? What priority do you assign them? If you've ever had a major emotional crisis you likely give feelings and beliefs high priority.

 

Attending to Your Feelings:

 

Generally we notice feelings in relationship to events. When we recall events we often get an emotional reaction. The stronger that emotion, the higher the probability that our feelings are being resisted or suppressed from awareness.

 

Feelings may come in these flavors:

 

Physical sensations/pain

Emotions

Compulsions/obsessions (The after effects of deeper feelings)

Impulses

Desires or wants

Moods

 

It probably isn't all that important that we have scientific sounding names for our feelings. What is important is that we fully feel them with no intention of getting rid of them or keeping them. When we do this in an attentive and accepting way we get their messages and they become integrated. When we don't, we get missed messages, growing stress, losses of awareness, and all sorts of challenges. Our health can be affected.

 

When we process or integrate, we soon discover many more feelings are there. The intellect cannot fathom what is there. As we explore, we come to realize our feelings are more based on our views of events than the events themselves no matter how impactful.

 

Thoughts and emotions come hand in hand. Emotions are spawned by beliefs and thoughts. Beliefs and thoughts are the stimulus for emotions. When emotions are processed or integrated they lose their emotional charge and their stuckness.

 

Physical sensations may be pain, hunger, fatigue, sensations of alertness. They may or may not have any emotional content.

 

Emotions are filtered and stimulated by beliefs. Because we believe someone should not have thrown trash in our yard and they are slobs, we become angry due to their going against our rules. Emotions can be anxiety, depression, anger, rage, sadness, guilt, shame, embarrassment.

 

Compulsions and obsessions are activities and thoughts that show up when we are overwhelmed and our unconscious utilizes the compulsion or obsession to keep our awareness from other unfelt emotions and feelings. The compulsion is a driven sense like a dire need. An obsession is a stuck focus on thoughts and images. Because of their urgency, compulsions and obsessions keep our awareness away from feelings. Compulsions  and obsessions are an unconscious defense mechanism. They can be witnessed in addictions.

 

Impulses are related to unconscious motivations. They are generally irrational where desires, wants, and preferences frequently are not.

 

Moods are vague overall feelings. They can be negative and distressing or they can be positive and uplifting. Even neutral moods can appear. Moods can be witnessed in a sense of dissatisfaction, loneliness, and insecurity.

 

Feelings ask for our attention. If we spend sometime each day feeling them we can enhance our lives. Unintegrated feelings can create emotional overload and stress. We also get out of contact with ourselves when we don't feel our feelings. When we integrate feelings and emotions we have more energy, feel more alive, think more clearly, have access to our intuition, and view life in a clearer fashion.

 

Take care, Steve

 

Learning to Appreciate Our Feelings Exercises

Warning: Folks with a history of mental illness, PTSD, or panic are urged not to use these techniques without a therapist. If you decide to do these processes you will agree to absolve the webmaster, the webhost, Emoclear.com, and Steve Mensing of any responsibility for the application or misapplication of these processes. There is always in any process the possibility that someone could experience some discomfort.


Engaging the spectrum of feelings in light reverie or in deeper trance and noting how they've been helpful, even though painful in the past, can lead to an underlying sense of appreciation. Someone can recall feelings' yeomen like duty in various situations. If someone wants to daydream about their emotional past they can do so while allowing the all seeing eye of their unconscious to review the small miracles and wonders our little friends performed. Our unconscious is stocked with all kinds of memories and resources it can appreciatively link to our emotions and feelings.

Someone could go emotion by emotion and feel them through recalling or imagining situations where the feelings became intense and held their ground for our resisting attention. Then when a feeling is in full view, we pop the magic question to them. "After I have gained an appreciation and acceptance of you, how will I feel? What good and valuable things will I have noticed about you?" Your unconscious, after intuitively tuning into your feelings, will answer those questions for you and in doing so will lay down attitudes leading to future appreciation.

 

Measuring Your Progress

You could use the "Resistance/Acceptance Scale, which is basically a rating scale of resistance to acceptance, ranging from overwhelming hate/can't stand your feelings to loving and fully appreciating them. Jot this scale down or print it out.  This scale could also be used instead of the Subjective Units of Distress (or SUD) scale often referred to for measuring progress in emotional processing and integration work.  Here goes:

 

You will find this scale useful during many processes and integrations.  At any time that you want to access the scale, click here or access the Measure Your Progress page from the navigation bar.  On that page, you can access the SUD scale and the scale for measuring beliefs, the Validity of Cognition (or VOC) scale.

Resistance/Acceptance Scale


10 Overwhelmingly hate/Overwhelmingly can't stand my feelings.
9   Strongly hate/ Strongly can't stand my feelings.
8   Hate my feelings/can't stand my feelings.
7   Mildly hate.
6   Very much dislike my feelings.
5   Dislike my feelings.
4   Experiencing some negativity toward my feelings.
3   Putting up with and not quite accepting my feelings.
2   Accept/have some appreciation for my feelings.
1   Love/have strong appreciation for my feelings.

 

When you've written down or printed out this scale, ask yourself what your various resisted feelings would feel like at each number on the Resistance/Acceptance Scale. This exercise can lead to developing acceptance/appreciation or even love/strong appreciation for a feeling. Let your unconscious do this intuitive work. Feel the resisted feeling and ask it how it would feel at each number on the scale. Start from 10 and work your way down. When you arrive at (2) and (1) you can reinforce these emotional experiences by intuitively asking your feeling these questions:


Feeling what would you feel like if I accepted and had some appreciation toward you? What would I appreciate about you? Is there anything else I would appreciate about you?

Feeling what would you feel like if I loved and strongly appreciated you? What would I strongly appreciate about you? Is there anything else I would strongly appreciate about you?


Some Tips For Doing Resistance/Acceptance Scale


Place your right palm on your heartbeat region for the duration of the exercise and do some left nasal dominance breathwork prior to doing the scale. Simply pinch your right nostril shut and breathe deeply and fully through your left nostril only for 12 inhalations and exhalations. When you've concluded this left nasal dominance breathing, then remove your finger and return to regular breathing.

Make sure you are properly hydrated prior to this exercise.

Closing your eyes can help in tuning into each emotion. Use each of your 5 senses in evoking memories or imaginal imagery to stimulate your emotional reaction. Hear what happened. See what happened. Feel what happened. Taste what happened. Smell what happened.

Fully feel your feelings and allow them to be there without attempting to get rid of them or keep them.

Have fun, Steve

Where next?

Try the Learning to Feel & Integrate page for tips on avoiding beginner mistakes and choosing appropriate targets for processing.  You might visit the Techniques A to Z page, where you can choose a process or integrator that interests you.  Consider beginning with the Emo Integrator.

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