Q. How do you stay connected with feelings while dealing with mental health challenges?
A. I stay connected with feelings while dealing with a mental health challenge by communicating what emotions I am experiencing to a safe person in my life. I am honest about what I am feeling with no judgment about if it’s rational or logical (most of the time, the feelings are not).
Q. How has connecting to your feelings affected your life?
A. Connecting to my feelings honestly has changed my life and how I am in my relationships in a good way. I no longer lie to myself, and that helps me with my confidence and self-worth.
Q. How do you maintain a long-lasting connection with your feelings?
A. I check in with my feelings regularly and honor them to the best of my ability. I recognize that feelings are not reality and will change.
Q. What small things do you often do to connect with your feelings?
A. I check in with my heart. I do breathing exercises regularly. I ask for hugs when needed. I work on giving myself grace.
Q. What issues can prevent a person from connecting to their feelings?
A. Issues that prevent a person from connecting to their feelings vary greatly. Anything from trauma, culture, the family of origin systems, media, school, bullies, and mostly not having a safe place to connect to their feelings.
Q. What do you do to check in on your emotions and feelings?
A. Mindfulness, meditation, asking myself, and checking in with the body.
Q. Do you recommend morning rituals? If so, How do morning rituals help you?
A. Morning rituals are essential. I engage in a set routine for my mornings. I do some stretching and yoga to help connect me with my body and help it move and flow first thing in the morning. I smudge every morning after I get ready to set the tone for my day. I have a mantra that I say to myself, “I love you, I thank you.” While driving to work, I make it a point to observe nature and the beauty surrounding me. In complex trauma training to help, they list four things: Empowerment, bilateral stimulation, attunement, and ritual. Ritual doesn’t have to have a religious connotation either; it’s just a practice you engage in regularly.
Q. How can I be more aware of my thoughts and feelings?
A.I always encourages individuals that are having difficulty connecting to their feelings to do a feelings journal (check-in) 3x’s per day (morning, afternoon, and night). Write down at least one sensor for those check in’s. Learning to identify feelings may need some help; a suitable worksheet or chart of feelings is helpful. Check in with your body and label physical sensations. Emotions are usually linked to these sensations. Taking time to be still for a moment with yourself is also a benefit to help to connect—practice, practice, practice.
Q. How does exercise help you connect with your emotions?
A. Being active is always good to assist with connecting to our feelings and help them shift.
Q. How do you get past emotional blocks?
A.Ride the wave and be gentle with yourself. Check in with your body and ask it how it is feeling. Getting honest with yourself is also a big deal, and it is incredible how much we lie to ourselves about what we think.
-Sabra Dixon, ACMHC, LSUDC