A feeling is a spontaneous inner reaction to a person, place or situation. It can be a present situation or a situation which I am thinking about or picturing in my mind. Feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad. They can be pleasant or unpleasant (or difficult).
Feelings don’t mean anything. A feeling is what it is. A feeling is a feeling is a feeling.
We can describe feelings using P.I.I.B.M. (Physical sensation, Image, Inner conversation, Behavior, Memory).
Example: “I feel nervous ”
|Physical Sensation||Heart pounding, sweaty palms, upset stomach, dry mouth, chilled, hot, giggling, etc||“I feel nervous. My heart is pounding, my palms are sweating and my stomach is upset.”|
◆ Painting a picture
|An image of a scene or a situation||“I feel nervous like how a person might feel walking down a dark alley” or “I feel nervous like a child giving an oral report in front of the class”|
|◆ Intensity||Rate the feeling on a scale from 1 to 10||“I feel nervous. It’s about a 9”|
|◆ Nature||A beautiful sunset, crashing waves, dark forest, ominous clouds, a sunny day, a raging storm, etc||“I feel nervous like when I see ominous clouds rolling in” or “I feel nervous like a deer might feel smelling a scent of danger.”|
|◆ Color||Red, blue, black, white, etc||“I feel nervous. If it had a color it would be orange like a warning sign that is flashing danger.”|
|◆ Taste||Sour, bitter, sweet, etc||“I feel nervous. If it had a color it would be orange like a warning sign that is flashing danger.”|
|◆ Touch||Scratchy, soft, prickly, sharp, etc||“I feel nervous like touching a prickly porcupine”|
|◆ Sound||Screech, crack of thunder, birds twittering and chirping, high pitched||“I feel nervous like when I hear the sound of thunder”|
|Inner Conversation||What am I telling myself, what am I thinking, what am I “believing”||“I feel nervous. I’m telling myself ‘I’m trapped. There is no way out.”|
|What do I tend to act out? What do I tend to do? Where do I tend to go?||“I feel nervous. I tend to want to go eat something to soothe me”|
|◆ Words||What words tend to come out of my mouth? What do I tend to say?||“I feel nervous. I tend to say ‘don’t bother me. Stay away from me’”|
◆ Past experience
|Something you have experienced in the past like childbirth, riding a bike for the first time, walking on the beach, watching a movie, death of a loved one, etc||“I feel nervous like the time when I had to perform in front of an audience for the first time”|
|◆ Shared memory||Something you have experience together, like your wedding day, buying a house, vacationing together, meeting each other for the first time, etc||“I feel nervous like how we felt waiting to hear if we got our mortgage approved” or “I felt nervous like how we felt when we got lost on our vacation”|
Go to the next journaling exercise: Guidelines For Dialogue and Writing
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*Journaling exercises written by Cort Curtis, Ph.D, used with permission.