When people start working with me who come to me because of anxiety, they usually have two emotional or mental states. It's either anxious or not anxious. I find that their emotional spectrum is pretty limited. When my clients learn more emotional language and use mindfulness, their anxiety goes down quite a bit.
The emotional work soothes the nervous system. When I use the term emotional work, what I'm talking about is pretty specific. The first thing that my clients and I do is we get good at identifying emotions beyond the anxiety. And what that looks like is using emotional charts.
I have a emotional chart that has 300 emotions on it broken up into four different categories. And depending on what category your emotion is, it helps know how to approach it. Next, it is important to notice how the emotions feel in your body. And one of the reasons this is helpful is because it allows you to take a step away from your automatic thinking. And finally, being intentional and conscious in your thinking, for example, validating or using self-compassion
If we educate ourselves about emotions and how our nervous system works, then we have a understanding what's going on. And we feel like we have a better handle on it. If we can break our anxiety into these different components, and take a moment and say, “Oh, this part, the physical part feels like this, and the cognitive part feels like this, the emotional part feels like this..” then we can feel like we have a lot better handle on our emotional process.