5-step Feeling ProcessProcessing Emotions

In this post, I’ll share several powerful resources and a 5-Step Feeling Session to process emotions.

We all have unprocessed emotions lingering in our bodies. They undermine our thinking, sap our confidence, drive our behavior, and sabotage our best efforts.

Your body is more than a physical organism that processes food and moves you through life. It’s intelligent, hell-bent on your survival, and inextricably connected to your mind and emotions.

​​​​​​​When you have strong emotions like anger, grief, fear, or sadness and avoid or hold them in, they can get stored in your body. There’s mounting evidence that repressed emotions wreak havoc on mental and physical health.

Conditioning by our patriarchal society encourages emotional repression, especially for women. We’re taught that we’re strong if we hide our pain. We’re weak if we cry. We’re unstable, crazy, or bitches when we express anger. We’re forgiving and kind if we repress it. And we’re resilient when we rise above tragedies or heartaches and carry on.

The problem is when we suppress, deny, or avoid our feelings, they do not resolve or go away. Instead, they fester and undermine our mental and physical well-being, and perpetuate our pain, To free ourselves, we must know how to process emotions.

Many outstanding books explain the science and psychology behind somatic healing. To learn more, check out The Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk and The Myth of Normal by Gabor Mate.

Our focus today is effective ways to process emotions to release them from our bodies.

These resources changed my life.

The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer

The Untethered Soul, written by Michael Singer, offers powerful insights and practical techniques for releasing stored emotions and finding inner peace. The book explores the voice in our heads and how it constantly narrates our lives, influencing our emotions and actions. Singer believes that by quieting this voice and embracing the present moment, we can free ourselves from emotional turmoil and experience true liberation.

Singer introduces the concept of “opening the heart” to release emotional blockages. He suggests that instead of resisting or suppressing emotions, we should allow them to arise and flow through our open heart center. We can accept our emotions without clinging to or identifying ourselves with them by remaining open. This practice helps in releasing emotional energy and finding inner peace. He further emphasizes the importance of surrendering to the flow of life by dropping behind events and witnessing them without immersing ourselves in them.

A Samskara is a blockage, an impression from the past. It’s an unfinished energy pattern that ends up running your life.

Singer, Michael A. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

Singer also focuses on releasing samskaras, the deep-rooted patterns or impressions in the subconscious mind that influence our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors. These samskaras are created through past experiences and wounds, and they can cause us to react in certain ways or hold onto negative emotions. Singer believes that by becoming aware of these samskaras and consciously choosing to let go of them, we can free ourselves from their grip and find inner peace.

If you want to be free, you must first accept that there is pain in your heart. You have stored it there. And you’ve done everything you can think of to keep it there, deep inside, so that you never have to feel it. There is also tremendous joy, beauty, love, and peace within you. But they are on the other side of the pain.

Singer, Michael A. The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself

This book is short and concise, and the practice taught is life-altering.

The Power of Letting Go by David Hawkins

Letting Go: The Pathway to Surrender, written by David R. Hawkins, offers profound insights into releasing emotions and finding spiritual liberation. The book explores the concept of surrendering to the present moment and letting go of attachments and resistance, which Hawkins believes is the key to inner peace and personal transformation.

One of the central teachings in Letting Go is the idea that emotions are energy that can be consciously released. Hawkins introduces the concept of the “letting go technique,” which involves acknowledging and fully experiencing emotions without judgment or resistance. By allowing ourselves to feel and express our emotions fully, we create space for them to dissipate and release naturally.

Hawkins emphasizes the importance of acceptance in the process of letting go. He suggests that by accepting our emotions and circumstances as they are, we can reduce the emotional charge and attachment to them. Through acceptance, we can detach ourselves from the stories and narratives created by the mind, allowing for a deeper sense of peace and freedom.

“Letting go involves being aware of a feeling, letting it come up, staying with it, and letting it run its course without wanting to make it different or do anything about it. It means simply to let the feeling be there and to focus on letting out the energy behind it. The first step is to allow yourself to have the feeling without resisting it, venting it, fearing it, condemning it, or moralizing about it. It means to drop judgment and to see that it is just a feeling. The technique is to be with the feeling and surrender all efforts to modify it in any way. Let go of wanting to resist the feeling. It is resistance that keeps the feeling going.”

Hawkins, David R., Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender

Throughout Letting Go, Hawkins emphasizes the importance of self-awareness and self-compassion. He encourages readers to cultivate a non-judgmental and loving attitude toward themselves as they navigate the process of emotional release. By practicing self-acceptance and self-forgiveness, we can create an environment of inner safety and support for our emotional healing.

This book guides those seeking to let go of emotional baggage and live with greater authenticity and joy.

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process by David Bercel

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process, developed by David Berceli, is a unique and innovative approach to releasing trauma from the body.

Berceli begins by explaining the impact of traumatic experiences on the body and mind. He highlights how trauma can become stored in the nervous system, leading to various physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms. Berceli emphasizes that trauma is not limited to major life-threatening events but can also result from chronic stress and everyday experiences.

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process introduces a series of physical exercises called Tension and Trauma Releasing Exercises (TRE). These exercises involve gentle shaking and trembling of the body, which activates the body’s natural mechanism for releasing stress and trauma. Berceli explains that this shaking and trembling process helps to discharge the pent-up energy and tension held in the muscles, allowing for the release of trauma stored in the body.

The book provides detailed instructions on how to safely and effectively practice TRE. Berceli emphasizes the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment for the practice and encourages readers to listen to their bodies and adjust the intensity and duration of the exercises accordingly. He also offers guidance on integrating TRE into daily life as a self-care practice.

In addition to the practical techniques, Berceli explores trauma release’s psychological and emotional aspects. He discusses the importance of self-compassion, patience, and self-acceptance in healing. Berceli also addresses the potential challenges and resistance that may arise during trauma release and offers guidance on how to navigate these experiences.

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process is a book and a comprehensive approach to trauma healing. Berceli’s work combines scientific research, personal anecdotes, and practical exercises to provide a holistic understanding of trauma and its release. The book offers hope and empowerment to those struggling with the effects of trauma, providing them with a roadmap for healing and personal transformation.

5-Step Feeling Session – My Practice

Drawing from the above resources and adjusting them to suit my practice, I follow this 5 step practice to process emotions. My life functions best when I am proactive. This means that instead of acting in reaction to life problems, I implement daily practices that help me process emotions. It’s like training for life’s inevitable surprise iron man races. When those challenges come, I increase my practice and often re-read the books above. This has made a profound difference in my ability to navigate tough times.

Step One:

Begin with breathing.

4-7-8 Breathing.  Activate the parasympathetic response (aka the relaxation response). Find a comfortable position and take a few breaths to settle into your body. Then, inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Lastly, exhale slowly and completely through your mouth for a count of 8. Take 5 to 7 breaths like this. Place your attention on the flow of breath. If you prefer, use box breathing (4-count inhale, 4-count pause, 4-count exhale, and 4-count pause).

Step Two:

Identify what your mind is thinking.

For example, My mind is thinking:

-that she’s betrayed me
-I’m exhausted.
-I am dreading this.
-I’m scared it won’t work out.
-I don’t like the way they treated me.

Breathe and allow the thought to be. Don’t analyze it. Don’t judge it. The point is to include and honor your mind.

Step Three:

Observe what you’re feeling about what your mind is thinking. What emotions come up? State the emotion out loud. Say. “I’m feeling anxiety, stress, fear, sadness, anger, tension, etc.  Don’t think about the reasons behind the feeling. Don’t add on to it, judge it, talk yourself out of it, or push it away.

Breathe slowly and evenly at your own pace and accept the feeling. Be with it. Place the light of your awareness on it. Be with it. Treat it like a lost friend who will find its way home if you sit with it. Accept it.

Step Four:

Tune into your body. Move your awareness over your body and locate where you feel sensations. You might find tightness in your shoulders, heat in your chest, aching in your belly, discomfort in your lower back, or many other manifestations.

Stay with the sensation observing it and being with it. It may expand and cause you to cry or feel more intensely. Breathe into it. Be with it. Don’t pull it in. Don’t push it away. Just be there. Feel it. Allow it to shift and change. Breathe. Emotions are ultimately energy. Let the energy release. Be willing to let it lighten, expand, change, and dissipate. Breathe.

After 5-15 minutes, when you feel you’ve settled and allowed the energy to move gently, come back to material awareness.

BONUS STEP: Emotions are made of energy. Repressed emotional pain is energy that was assigned negative meanings, went unprocessed, and got stuck in our bodies. Fast-track release by recategorizing negative emotions as simply energy you’re willing to process and release. When we label it as energy we strip away the details that we’re often using to stay attached to the negative feelings. This helps us let go. If you’re spiritual, ask your higher power to fill you with healing energy on every inhale and to remove all negative energy.

Step Five:

Stand up and shake it off. Bounce up and down. Shake your hands and feet. Sigh, sing, or growl. Get that energy out.

I allow 15 minutes of active feeling on most days. Sometimes I do as little as five minutes. When I’m struggling, I do it often and in short snatches of 30-60 seconds throughout the day. For big life challenges, sometimes several Feeling Sessions are needed. In these situations, the practice often functions as letting the steam off of a mass of energy.

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