What do you do in minutes when you feel uncomfortable and edgy, but you are not quite sure why or what to do about it? In this article, you’ll learn a simple technique to get into the heart of what you are feeling and discover the message in it, so that you can take action to move you ahead.
So, what’s your first inclination when you feel edgy? Do you need to take something to make the feeling go away? Do you distract yourself by focusing on something else? Do you try to find something that happened, something you did, or someone to blame? Do you examine it until you come up with a story which makes sense?
These are all natural inclinations which can have value. Yet they may also perpetuate the recurrence of the very same feeling again and again. Identifying with the stories we tell about our experiences can make them stick and repeat. We tend to believe our stories and tell them over and over, so our life replays at a self-fulfilling loop.
So, what can you do in such awkward moments which would change things, direct you ahead, and start something new? Here’s a simple technique called Accessing Your Emotional Centerline.
The minute you notice yourself feeling edgy and uncomfortable, rather than leaping into analyzing it and finding a story to describe it, see if you can just sit with the sensation, be present with it, and get under it.
Try these four steps:
1. Add a mental pause, let go of believing, and focus on the sensations along your Emotional Centerline: from your neck, through the middle of your torso, to your lower abdomen. Focusing on sensations along your Mental Centerline quiets the thinking mind and enables you to access your emotions without the baggage of intense storylines.
Inquire into the particular sensations in this area of your body. Is it tight, compressed, obstructed, hard, hot, cold, numb, pierced, deflated, sinking, raw, empty, tingly, fluttering, rising…?
2. Pay attention to these sensations mindfully. To put it differently, see if it is possible to accept the sensations completely, unconditionally, and non-judgmentally. See if you can get familiar with the felt sensation without telling a story about being consumed by it.
3. See if you can tag the exact feeling the feeling represents. You’ll sense a”yes” when you have the ideal label. Is it anger, sadness, fear, anxiety, joy, excitement,…?
4. As soon as you’ve identified the emotion you are feeling, ask what it is prompting you to do. Focus into the feeling along your Mental Centerline and address your question here. Notice what comes into your awareness. It could be a nonverbal knowing, particular words, an image, a song, or an inspiration to do, say, or feel something… Just notice what appears, stay with it, and allow it to grow in clarity.
If nothing arises in this moment, see if you’re able to keep an awareness of your Mental Centerline as you go about your day. Notice what you know as you do that.
As you practice these four steps over and over, you’ll discover you can catch yourself before you get too deeply entrenched in embarrassing, edgy feelings or overly-identified with your usual stories about what they mean. You’ll discover there is a deeper guidance under the surface of your emotions. Emotional intelligence cuts through mental chatter and speaks to the essence of everything you need to do in this moment. Sometimes this wisdom is vastly different from the tales your mind is in the habit of telling.