What do you feel in your body when you experience painful emotions? Where does the emotion live in your body?
Muscles tense, blood vessels dilate, heart rate increases, temperature increases…
Many of us learn how change our body and facial language to appear less emotionally vulnerable, especially if we grew up in an emotionally invalidating enviroment. If negative emotions are ignored or even punished we learn very quickly how to present a positive image, and push down the negativity. Hiding emotions is usually automatic; we do not intend it, or are not aware of it.
You’ve heard of fight or flight responses to danger, there are two more: freeze and befriend.
Fight is a violent and /or explosive response, flight is a self-preservation response through distance, freeze is a physical and mental paralytic shut-down, and befriend is a more difficult one, it is usually used over a longer period of time, when the threat is too close or too subtle to define. Befriend is often a self- preservation tactic of a person in an abusive relationship.
Pay attention to the way your body feels when you are experiencing painful emotions. Which action urge are you most likely to use? What are your facial expressions, posture, gestures?
Expression of primary emotions is hard-wired in humans, we learn to inhibit emotional expressions or express them differently than others depending on biological, environmental, or cultural differences. And what an emotion means can vary from time to time and from person to person. We often misread the emotions of others
Make a chart to track the expression of your emotions. Start with something small or mild and then work your way up to the bigger more intrusive and unpleasent emotions.
|Emotion name: ____________||Intensity (0 – 100):____________|
|Prompting Event for my emotion|
(who what where when?)
what started the emotion?
|Interpretations of the situation|
(beliefs, assumptions, appraisals)
|Body Changes and Sensing|
What am I feeling in my body?
What is my facial expression?
What do I feel like doing?
What do I want to say?
|What I SAID or DID in the situation|
|What After Effects |
does the emotion have on me?
(My state of mind, other emotions,
behaviour, thoughts, memory, body, etc.)
|Function of Emotion|