Friday, May 21, 2010

Emotion and Feeling

Managing emotions is a challenge for many individuals, young or old, whether neurotypical or somewhere on the autism spectrum. Everyone’s struggles are a bit different, with some people veering toward worry and anxiety, others tending to sadness or depression and still others prone to anger. A great deal of my work as a therapist is in helping people manage their troubling emotions, whatever emotions they happen to be.

When working with emotions, it’s helpful to pay attention to the feelings of the body, the actual somatic sensations. Many individuals are more comfortable staying in their heads, intellectualizing and reasoning, rather than physically feeling. If you’re intellectual, pride yourself on your academic achievements or thinking strengths, this could apply to you. If you struggle with overwhelming sensory issues, or physical activities like athletics, then it’s not surprising if you also avoid the more bodily experiences of emotions.

The best way to manage feelings is to actually feel them. Try it now. Stop talking, stop doing anything, try to quiet that conversation in your head. Take a breath, and feel what’s going on in your body.