Come to Your Senses
"Come to your senses." To me, that sentence has always meant returning from being knocked unconscious, or regaining equilibrium after a descent into some line of thought or action that you think or society tells you was wrongheaded or misguided.
Look at the actual words though. What if we re-appropriate it to mean "return to the physical sensations in your body"?
I do a lot of work personally and with my coaching clients to develop awareness of feelings. The end we are working toward is actually feeling our feelings, rather than resisting them, denying that they are happening, or distracting ourselves from feeling them. Our brains and bodies developed evolutionarily to keep us safe. Our body's reactions to thoughts are the same as its reactions to actual happenings in the physical realm. It's why athletes use visualization as part of their training.
But it's also why low grade worry stresses our bodies out physically. If you are always on an impossible deadline at work, or your boss or spouse or other person you interact with daily is inconsistent and volatile, your nervous system (the connection between the brain and the body) is always on alert, and stress hormones stay active in your system. You've probably heard about the negative impacts this has: weight gain, pain, depression, anxiety and more.
What's there to do then?
Try coming to your senses. Assuming you are someplace where you can take two minutes without interruption, you can do this right now. Feel the actual sensations in your body. What does your current emotion feel like? If you are anxious or sad, is there a clammy heavy rock sitting on your sternum? Or a band tightening around your lower guts? Or heaviness behind your eyes? From a scale of 1 -10, how uncomfortable is it? Explore and describe the actual sensation of the feeling in your body for between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. Breathe. When your mind wanders and it will (because it really wants to keep you safe and can't distinguish between thoughts and physical danger), just notice that it wandered and come back to your senses. Don't sweat it if you don't feel anything or can't come up with a clear description, just stay focused on your breath.
You just truly felt your feelings. They are just a vibration in your body, largely driven by neurochemicals and habits of thought. I find it nearly impossible to do an exercise like this when I am in the middle of a situation. The key is to practice at times when you are not all wrought up. Then it gets easier at times of greater stress.
This is a great skill to work through with a coach. And really, it's the key to getting everything you want. Curious? Get in touch for a free coaching call and see how you might be able to benefit from coaching.
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