Dissolving unwanted feelings.



What is a feeling?

According to the Oxford dictionary a feeling is an emotion and an emotion is a feeling.
As you can see, this is not very helpful for us.

I believe the word feeling, describes sensing a body sensation related to thinking like knot in the stomach or lump in the throat.

For example, you see in your minds eye – a few freeze-frames from the last evening showing your friend’s reaction to something you said. Then you sense an unpleasant sensation which can be described as a so called a ‘knot in the stomach’. It makes you feel guilty that you expressed a negative comment about your friend’s dress sense.


How does it work?

Some people do not realise that thoughts and body sensations are linked.

This is how I help my clients to learn.

First, I ask them to become anxious about that ‘thing’ while they sit in front of me. It is usually very easy. Then I ask them to grade that anxiety on a scale from one to ten. It usually takes a few moments. Once they have decided on a number, I ask them to become a bit more anxious and jump one point higher on the scale. They are usually surprised with this request but after a short while, everyone does it.
When they finish, I ask how they know the anxiety has become worse. They seem confused and usually say ‘I just feel it.’ Then I ask ‘But what exactly do you feel?’ They look at me even more confused and they do not know what to say.
Then I explain – ‘The moment you try to become more anxious you think about someone or something that triggers the anxiety. At the same time you sense the physical tension growing somewhere in your body (e.g. lump in the throat or knot in the stomach). It is a spasm of the muscle group reacting directly to the anxious thinking. Once the spasm gets stronger you know that the anxiety has worsened.’


What is a thought and a body sensation. 

According to that understanding, a body sensation is linked to a thought and these two elements always come together.

A thought consists of a picture, a few freeze frames, a short film you see in your ‘minds eye’. You can also hear words or sentences which were said by you or other people. Some people talk to themselves in their heads when they think about something intensively.



A body sensation is a spasm of the muscle group somewhere in the body. These groups of muscles can be located in the following:

1. On the skull causing, a thin band over the head. This is caused by a tension of muscles located on the skull, in the neck and in both temples. Long term tension of these muscles causes tension headaches.

2. In the throat causing a lump in the throat. A lump in the throat is triggered by muscles located in the throat. They are responsible for swallowing and speaking. People who suffer from anxiety which affects these muscles have problems with socialising, public speaking and eating in public places.

3. In the bowels causing butterflies in the stomach. It is caused by spasms of muscles which are in the bowels. These muscles are used to push swallowed food down along our digestive system. They form something called a peristaltic wave. They have to be very precisely coordinated in order to do their job properly. Anxiety makes this very chaotic and undigested food gets stuck in the bowels. After some time it ferments (like compost in a garden) and starts releasing gases which have nowhere to go and we feel bloated. This is how Irritable Bowel Syndrome starts.

4. In the diaphragm causing a knot in the stomach. A knot in the stomach is caused by tension of the diaphragm which is a flat group of muscles dividing our body into our chest and abdomen. The diaphragm moves up and down all our lives and it is the main muscle we use for breathing. When anxiety locates in this muscle we can have problems with breathing. Extreme tension of the diaphragm is responsible for panic attacks.


A thought and a body sensation are interconnected and they can trigger each other.

It can start from thinking when you process thoughts in your mind and they trigger a body sensation. It can also start from a body sensation when you wake up in the morning with a lump in the throat and it takes you a few moments before you realise that you are due to an important performance.


What causes muscle spasm and how it can be dissolved?

The muscle spasm is a result of the ‘fight or flight’ response system overload. The muscles in a spasm are stuck in DOING. They keep us focused on the problem and keep reminding us that something is wrong. Therefore we cannot stop thinking about that worrying thought.

You can learn how to diffuse your attention and just BE with a thought and relevant body sensation, the rest of your body, other elements of your reality and space. It will activate the ‘rest and digest’ system and it will balance it with the other one. Once a balance is recreated the muscle spasm resolves.



What are the benefits of this approach?

I can think of a few.

1. In this method the reason of the worrying thoughts is not important. You can help yourself and others regardless of what the problem is. There is no need for long hours of talking and analysing what happened or what will happen.
2. Once successfully applied, it allows you to think about a problem without feeling bothered. It can look at the problem from a different, wider perspective, and become more creative in solving it.
3. Without unpleasant body sensations you will realise at the end of the day you will have been thinking about the problem which was stuck in your head the whole time. It will allow you to relax and to enjoy your life.
4. You can be independent in applying this method. There is no need for a qualified practitioner or hours of therapy. You can try it for yourself and feel how it works for you. Then you can use it again and again whenever the need arises.
5. With time, you will get more practice and experience in being in Open Focus Attention. It will benefit your life in many ways making you healthier and more balanced.


Lets summarise. 

A feeling (a body sensation) is a muscle spasm caused by the ‘fight ot flight’ system overload. The muscles are stuck in DOING and they keep you focused.
You can release a muscle spasm by recreating a balance in your neurology.
In order to achieve that you can diffuse your attention. It will allow you to BE and it will activate the ‘rest and digest’ system.
Once you do it you will be in an Open Focus Attention

Two systems will balance and it will resolve a spasm.
As a result you will be able to think the thought without sensing a body sensation.
You will remember what happened (or what is going to happen) without feeling bothered because without a body sensation your unwanted feeling will disappear.

In the following exercise you will have a chance to do it for yourself.


Dissoliving unwanted feelings exercise.

The exercise we are about to do will last 20 minutes. It will sound like guided meditation and will be similar to the previous one. During the exercise I will ask you to process certain thoughts in order to trigger related body sensations. Then, I will ask you to stop thinking and stay aware of the body sensation, together with the rest of your body and space which is in an Open Focus Attention.

Please, choose an unwanted feeling. Grade it on a scale OF 1 to 10. 10 being the strongest. Say this number aloud.

Notice what you are thinking about when you feel this feeling. Is it a person or a place? Is it an event from the past or the future. Can you see colours or is it black and white? Is it a still picture or a short film? Can you hear anything?

Notice a body sensation related to this thought. Where it is? How big it is? Is it on the surface of your skin or deep inside your body? Does if feel like a hard ball or it is a soft tingling sensation?

Please, listen to the exercise below.


After the exercise you can try to trigger the same feeling again and see how strong it is. I would like you to practice this exercise with different unwanted feelings every day for the whole week.

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