I regularly struggle to connect with and articulate my feelings, even when i’m in a space specifically designed to facilitate it like my weekly therapy session. I suppose that I shouldn’t be particularly surprised as talking about my feelings is relatively new for me. What i’ve noticed though is that the way I go about answering the big how are you? question is wrong and probably makes answering it even more difficult.
“I think I feel” is wrong because thinking and feeling are completely separate. The answer to the question isn’t to be found somewhere in our brain. Instead, we should be searching for it in our body. Sure, it is our thinking brain that needs to find the word to describe and voice the feeling, but the sensations that let us know what we feel come from our body. Instead of racking our brain we should tune into our body. Slow down, take a few deep breaths to quiet the brain and see what comes up. What sensations do you feel? Where? Once you’ve tuned in, and I realize that purists will call this cheating, having a list of feeling words like this one can help you find the right words to articulate what you are feeling.
This sentence also includes another important component that can sometimes be mistaken, “I.” I’ve found that I sometimes drift into the third person by saying something like “when you feel…” or “one feels…” even when the you and one are me. It may seem trivial but that it’s important to stay in the first person to make clear who is feeling something and truly owning it.