Shifting

Next time you’re feeling anxious, irritated or sad (although it might also do to try and remember this when you’re feeling happy …) notice the way you are sitting, standing or lying. What are you doing in relation to the thing that’s on your mind? If you shift yourself at all, maybe uncrossing your legs or moving your arms, what happens? It may feel unpleasant, in which case go back to how you were! After some time, though, refocus your attention on your position and try moving again. The uncomfortable sensation that may accompany you moving is likely to generate thoughts and feelings, perhaps not at once, but some time afterwards. Talk to someone about them. Someone who’ll listen and take note without trying to overwhelm you with advice or suggestions, or perhaps try and side-up with you against someone you’re angry with, or have been hurt by. Giving yourself this kind of attention can help you better tolerate all kinds of unpleasantness.
        Another aspect to this exercise is to recognise how closed off you seem to be when you are caught up in your feelings. How aware are you of anybody else in the room, of what they have been saying or doing? Think about how what’s on your mind might be affecting your relationship with whoever’s around you. We sometimes think we’re doing a good job of not worrying or leaning on people in our lives, bothering them with our problems, when we are actually eroding those relationships by being distant, unresponsive and enigmatic. What looks like ‘nothing’ happening can be corrosive. If we hold onto secrets it’s likely whoever’s close to us will pick up on something feeling out of place: a kind of inexplicable dislocation, lives that have become out of joint.

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