The capacity to identify, feel, and express emotions is essential to a balanced state. Yet many people have great difficulty identifying feelings and expressing them in ways that support emotional balance, especially in the presence of chronic pain. There are several levels of awareness involved in cultivating emotional balance. The first level is becoming consciously aware that you are experiencing a feeling. Although you may not know specifically what the feeling is, it is important to simply notice and acknowledge that you have some feeling. The next step is identifying what the particular feeling is. An important part of identifying your emotions is to put them into words. As an alternative to not knowing what you are feeling or feeling confused, it is helpful to label the feeling: “I feel anxious,” or “I feel angry,” or “I feel depressed.” The more specific you can be in identifying your feelings, the more likely it is that you will understand the emotional experience. Read through the list of feelings in the left column and circle the ones you are experiencing. Next, take a moment to think about them—it may be helpful to close your eyes and turn your focus inward—then, in the right column, indicate where you experience each feeling in your body. For example, anger might be felt as tightness in your shoulders, sadness as an aching in your chest, fear as a knot in your stomach, and joy as warmth in your heart. Learning how different emotions feel in your body in terms of their location (where you feel them) and sensation (what they feel like) will enable you to identify them more quickly and accurately. This blog post is an excerpt from Pain Recovery – How to Find Balance and Reduce Suffering from Chronic Pain by Mel Pohl, MD, FASAM, Frank Szabo, LADC, Daniel Shiode, PhD, Robert Hunter, PhD; Published by Central Recovery Press (CRP). Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!