Mindful Emotional First Aid: The ABC's
The four steps of MINDFUL EMOTIONAL FIRST AID
A = ACKNOWLEDGE
- Acknowledge that the emotion is present.
- Doing this is the first step in having more freedom to respond wisely in the face of emotion.
B = BE OPEN
- Be open and accept that the emotion is with you.
C = CURIOUSLY EXPLORE
- Curiously explore the actual emotion.
- Where do you feel the emotion in your body? (emotions are located in the body even though initially this can be difficult to discern)
- Do you notice any tension? Heat? As you observe the emotion do you experience it as solid and permanent or do you notice it changes in its quality.
D = DE-IDENTIFY
- De-identifying from emotion means you can access a space in your mind to observe the emotion rather than fusing with it and becoming the emotion.
- This observer position allows you a capacity to SEE the emotion rather than BE the emotion.
- If you can SEE it you can choose how you will respond to it. If you are BEING it, there is no space left in the mind in that moment to be able to CHOOSE your response.
- Just like thoughts, when a strong emotion arises you can silently note to yourself “I am noticing the feeling of [name the emotion] …..”
Remember that bringing mindfulness to emotions doesn’t mean you will stop feeling the range of negative emotions: anger, sadness, anxious, lonely, disappointed- rather it means you can better relate and respond to these emotions when they arise.
As you practice observing emotions you begin to appreciate their transient and impermanent nature.
By Dr. Elise Bialylew