Stay at the sensation level of your experience

Vandik’s enlightening book about calming the emotional storm was written specifically for people who find it difficult to understand, express, and process intense emotions. 

One of the key insights the cognitive behavioral therapist shares is what the actual definition of what an emotion is. 

An emotion is a full system response that includes physiological reactions, which are changes in body chemistry and body language, thoughts, which are triggering images and memories and action urges, as well as the actual feeling we’re experiencing, like sadness, anger and anxiety. 

Simply reading that definition was a blessing for me. Because nobody had ever explained the complicated idea of emotions in such a holistic way before. 

My misconception, probably like a lot of people, was that my feelings and emotions and thoughts were one in the same. But they’re not.

The challenge is, how do we make the essential discrimination between our stories and our living experience? Here’s a useful technique. 

When an event happens, try staying at the sensation level of your experience. Your literal, simple bodily feeling. Because it’s very hard to find a problem there, unlike immediately escalating straight to the interpretive level, where your emotions and thoughts run rampant and find problems that aren’t really there. 

For now, simply observe your biology. 

Twitchy stomach. Sweaty back. Flushed skin. Tight chest. 

Notice it. Accept it. Thank it. Walk around it. Wonder about it. Even love it. Whatever you do, just stay with that sensation. 

And know that it’s not about whether it feels yucky, but whether you relate to your experience with fundamental kindness. 


What healthy things have you done in the past that helped you get through difficult situations? * * * *

Scott Ginsberg

That Guy with the Nametag

Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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