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Emotional Awareness Relaxation: Sensory Relaxation Script

This emotional awareness relaxation is a sensory relaxation process that can allow you to become more aware of feelings based on the sensory experience of an emotion. This script is especially relevant for survivors of trauma, but can also be effective for anyone who wants to better understand emotions. By familiarizing yourself with the sensory experience of emotions, you can become skilled at recognizing what it is you are feeling in a given moment, and address both positive negative emotions you experience in daily life.


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The word "feeling" is used to refer to emotions and to sensations. This is because emotions and sensations are closely linked. The connection between the mind and body causes emotional responses to be reflected in the physical body. The book "The Body Remembers: The Psychophysioloy of Trauma and Trauma Treatment," by Babette Rothschild, discusses emotions and the body. This book provides more information about the concept of emotions as a physical body experience.

In this emotional awareness relaxation script, I'll guide you to focus on feelings, one at a time, and notice the effect of each emotion on your body. As you do this exercise, be aware that some of the feelings are unpleasant, but this discomfort can be important and helpful. You will spend about half a minute with each feeling.

It is important to be aware of the fact that some parts of this emotional awareness relaxation script will be uncomfortable. Before beginning the emotional awareness relaxation exercise, I'll guide you to create a safety zone in your mind. If any aspects of this exercise become too uncomfortable, you can mentally go to the safety zone for a break. Make sure to keep yourself safe and respect your limits when doing this or any other relaxation exercise.

Let's begin the emotional awareness relaxation. Sit or lie down, and make yourself comfortable.

Begin to relax your body by focusing for the next few moments on breathing. Take a deep breath in... and breathe out.

In... and out.

Breathe in again, and as you exhale, release the tension in your body.

Breathe in.... and exhale, releasing tension.

Continue breathing slowly, allowing your breaths to relax you.

Create a picture in your mind of a place of safety. Picture a place where you felt safe as a child, or a place you feel safe now. Where would you go when you needed a break? Did you have a favorite room, or chair, or place outdoors? Think of a place were you have felt safe before, and imagine this place in your mind. Picture all the details of the safe place.

(Pause)

Now that you have the safe place fixed in your mind, this image can serve as your safety zone throughout the emotional awareness relaxation. Notice how you are feeling right now. Feel the feeling of being safe. How does it feel to be safe? How does your stomach feel when you feel safe? How about your muscles? Your face? Where in your body do you feel this feeling of safety? Notice your body while you have this feeling right now. If you need a break during this emotional awareness relaxation script, you can mentally return to this place by imagining your safety zone. Do so whenever you need to.

An emotion may be experienced in one place in your body, or several. When you experience each of the feelings I mention during this emotional awareness relaxation, notice where in your body you are feeling something. Also notice what you are feeling. For example, you may experience feelings of heaviness, tightness, tingling, pain, comfort, lightness, warmth or fluttering. Notice your body as a whole and the individual parts of your body. You may notice changes in muscle tension (clenched jaw or relaxed jaw, tight or loose fists, etc). You may notice changes in the way your face, stomach, head, chest, throat, or other areas feel.

With each emotion I mention, I will guide you to experience the associated physical sensations. Each time, just notice how your body is feeling, what it feels like, and where the sensations are located. Remember that if you need a break at any time, you can mentally return to your safety zone.

Now let's begin the sensory process of experiencing emotions and getting in touch with feelings with emotional awareness relaxation.

Start the emotional awareness relaxation - Imagine a feeling of happiness. Think of a time when you felt happy, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "happy" feel like in your body? Create these sensations now. Where in your body is the feeling of happiness located? Experience the physical sensations of happiness for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Now imagine the feeling of anger. Think of a time when you were feeling angry, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "anger" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of anger located? Experience the physical sensations of anger for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Imagine the feeling of pride. Think of a time when you were feeling proud, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "pride" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of pride located? Experience the physical sensations of pride for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Now imagine the feeling of sadness. Think of a time when you were feeling sad, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "sad" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of sadness located? Experience the physical sensations of sadness for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Now imagine the feeling of excitement. Think of a time when you were feeling excited, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "excited" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of excitement located? Experience the physical sensations of excitement for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Now imagine the feeling of guilt. Think of a time when you were feeling guilty, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "guilt" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of guilt located? Experience the physical sensations of guilt for a few moments.

(Pause)

Continue the emotional awareness relaxation - Imagine the feeling of interest. Think of a time when you were feeling interested, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "interested" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of interest located? Experience the physical sensations of interest for a few moments.

(Pause)

Now imagine the feeling of embarrassment. Think of a time when you were feeling embarrassed, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "embarrassment" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of embarrassment located? Experience the physical sensations of embarrassment for a few moments.

(Pause)

Imagine the feeling of amusement. Think of a time when you were feeling amused, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "amusement" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of amusement located? Experience the physical sensations of amusement for a few moments.

(Pause)

Now imagine the feeling of joy. Think of a time when you were feeling joyful, and allow yourself to experience some of this feeling again now. What does "joyful" feel like in your body? Where in your body is the feeling of joy located? Experience the physical sensations of joy for a few moments.

(Pause)

You have imagined several feelings. Now just relax, and allow the feelings that arise for you to be present for a moment. Notice how you are feeling right now, without trying to encourage or discourage any particular emotions. Just be. Let yourself feel whatever it is that comes up for you.

Notice how your body feels. Where in your body are you feeling something? What does this tell you about the emotions you are experiencing?

Does your body feel right now the way it did when you imagined a particular emotion a few moments ago? If so, which one?

Can you identify the feeling or feelings you have right now? Is there a name for any of the emotions you are experiencing in this moment? Just notice, observing the state of your body and allowing your body to speak to you.

(Pause)

Notice that all of the emotions, both positive and negative, can serve a useful purpose. It is okay to feel. It is normal and natural to have emotions. When you are in tune with your body, you can allow your body to speak to you, and find out what your body is telling you. Your body will let you know which situations are positive, and which ones you may want to change.

You will experience both positive and negative feelings. From time to time, you can deliberately help yourself feel good by imagining a positive emotion and the physical feelings that accompany it.

Let's do that right now. Imagine again the feeling of happiness. Where in your body is this feeling located? You can experience this feeling now. Feel the sensations in your body that accompany happiness. Allow the sensations to build, and grow... feeling a positive sensation of happiness.

Just be with this feeling for a few moments. Let the sensory relaxation process evoke the physical and emotional feeling of happiness.

(Pause)

When you are ready to conclude this process, keep with you the feeling of happiness and a feeling of calm.

Return your awareness to the present, noticing the environment around you.

When you are fully awake and alert, you can return to your usual activities, feeling happy and calm.



References:

Rothschild, B. (2000). The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. W.W. Norton & Company, Ltd. New York, NY.

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