Feelings: The Model-Brooke Castillo
This is the third of a five-part series where we are breaking down The Model. Each of the five builds on one another. So if you haven't yet already, go back and check out the posts in this order:
All right, let's get into it!
Quick Recap of The Model
Okay so let's do a quick review of The Model so far. We have Circumstances, which are just existing in the world. Then we have Thoughts about those Circumstances, which give them meaning. Then those Thoughts we have cause our Feelings.
What is a Feeling?
Simply put, a feeling is a vibration in your body caused by a thought. Feeling is another word for emotion.
Feelings don't include involuntary physical sensations such as body temperature, illness, fight or flight mode, hunger, and physical pain. These are involuntary responses hardwired into our primitive brain that have helped keep the human race in existence and protect us from predators.
For example, you don't need to have the conscious thought "I ate bad sushi" to feel sick. Your body just senses that you have food poisoning, and then creates the physical sensation for you to feel ill so you stop eating and get the bad food out of your system.
Another example: You're walking through your home and someone jumps out out behind the door with a mask on. You don't have a conscious thought prior like "Oh no, a scary monster is attacking me" and then you feel scared, scream, and jump back. No, instead your brain skips past the conscious thinking part of the step and goes straight to "DANGER, activate fight or flight mode!". Once you realize that the person who jumped out of the door is just your husband playing a prank and that there is no real threat, you then may have the conscious thought, "Oh, it was just my husband pulling a prank". As a result of that thought, you then start to calm down because that thought caused you to feel relief. If we're taking a look at The Model, feelings would go right under thoughts.
Some Examples of Feelings Are:
P.S. Here's a great feelings list you can check out.
Building Awareness of Your Feelings
Most people know when they are happy versus sad. Or excited versus angry. But why? Sometimes we don't even have a good understanding of what feelings FEEL like. So when we don't have practice at feeling or identifying our emotions, we just know we don't like it and want to get away from it as quickly as possible. But, it's important to not be afraid of feelings and instead just understand and allow them.
Feelings are personal to everyone, meaning people experience emotions in different ways.
What does anxiety feel like to you in your body? For me it feels like fast energy everywhere in my body, a buzzing in my head, and tingly electricity in my arms and legs.
What does relaxed feel like to you in your body? For me my body feels lightweight, warm, and steady.
Take 5-10 minutes to identify what emotion you are feeling and then describe it to yourself of how it feels in your body. If you can't name the emotion right now, that's okay. Just describe the vibrations in your body you for now. When you do this, explain it as though you were explaining the vibrations you feel to a cute martian who has never experienced emotion before.
Feelings are not permanent. They are always changing. If we are feeling anger, we can know that we will not feel that emotion of anger forever. There will come a moment in time where we are no longer feeling anger. We will feel courage or happiness or fear instead...because our thoughts are also changing.
Not only do feelings change from type to type, but the vibration of the feeling itself changes too. If you take a moment to observe the way an emotion feels, you will notice it changes slightly. The speed, weight, color, shape, temperature, or location of the vibration will change. We may notice that the location of the heat we feel in our chest from anger may start to move to our head. The buzzing sensation we felt in our arms may start to not feel as intense as it was a few seconds ago.
Feelings Won't Hurt Us
It's important to know that feelings won't hurt us. Are some emotions much more uncomfortable than others? Of course! But they can't hurt us, and there's no emotion we cannot survive.
It's amazing how often we do or don't do something to avoid an emotion. We may pass up an opportunity to speak at an event that would help propel our career forward, because we are afraid of feeling embarrassment. We may overeat and dive head-first into a package of cookies because we're bored or drink too much to avoid feeling uncomfortable at a party.
But, when we realize we don't have to run from our emotions, we can start allowing and understanding them instead of resorting to behaviors that help us feel good in the moment, but do more harm than good in the long-term.
Why Emotions Matter:
When we work in partnership with our emotions and meet them with understanding, we can better achieve the results we want in our lives. We will start to learn what thoughts cause which emotions. If we are feeling discouraged, we don't have to assume that it's just our reality. We can trace the emotion back to the thought causing us to feel that way, and decide if we want to change it. We will know that it's not the circumstance causing our feelings, but our thoughts.
When we feel lonely, we will know we don't have to reach for a package of cookies to change how we feel. We will know that we can, in this moment, just sit and experience the emotion and that we can survive it. When we are given an opportunity to apply for the job, speak at the event, ask that person on a date, or take any other risk, we might stop trying to shy away so much from the opportunity to avoid feeling negative emotion. Our lives become bigger.
So Now That You Understand Feelings...
It's time to look at how they contribute to action or inaction. You can read more about that in the next post!
Want to take this work further?
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