In therapy, we often encourage our clients to sit with their feelings. We therapist sort of throw this term around like it’s common knowledge. But the truth is, to sit with one’s feelings is a bold act of practice and trust for oneself. It’s actually no small practice.
To sit with one’s feelings is to bring awareness to how you are feeling at any given moment. It is to allow yourself to feel these feelings for a length of time without pushing the feelings away or trying to suppress them. It is to ask where you physically feel the feelings in your body and allow the physical sensations to co-exist with you. In the moments that you allow yourself to feel, you may cry excessively, feel adrenaline rushing throughout your body, experience rapid heartbeat, or become overwhelmed with strong and intense emotions. My encouragement is to still sit with it.
Practical steps that will help:
1. Ground yourself in the present moment by acknowledging that you are safe
2. Plant your feet flat on the floor and notice everything around you
3. Repeat verbally “I am grounded in this very moment and I am safe”
4. Set a specific time to feel the feels: 5, 7, or 10 minutes
5. Mentally and verbally affirm to yourself it is okay to feel intense emotions and they won’t stay that intense forever
6. Deep breathe through it: in through your nose slowly and out through your mouth slowly
I always tell my clients that the feelings have to come up and out. If you keep them suppressed they will do more harm than good. Also, it is super helpful to practice sitting with your feelings with your therapist. They are trained to help guide you through the practice and can help affirm that you are safe while you work through.