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Skill Stories

Tune Your Emotional Processing: Stories

March 2018

A reader after 2 months of emotional tuning writes:

I'm spending less time with distracting things, like youtube videos, random wiki articles, video games etc. I more often just deal with the thing I would usually distract myself from.

Normal and more stable sleep rhythm. I used to tend to go to bed very late (3am or 4am) and it would also often get later and later every day, eventually needing to "roll over" one day to get back to a socially acceptable sleep rhythm. If I went to bed late one day it was almost impossible to go to bed earlier the next day to catch up on sleep deficit, since I simply wouldn't be able to fall asleep. Now I usually get tired around 10pm to 1am, at which point I go to bed, and then sleep until around 7am to 10am, waking up naturally without an alarm, since I don't have external commitments at the moment. Occasionally I do go to bed later, or sleep until 1pm, but then the next day I just fall back into my usual rhythm again, catching up on any sleep deficit within one or two nights. I believe this is related to the point above, since I would usually be doing distracting/procrastinating things instead of going to bed.

If I'm in a bad mood, it usually takes less than a day for it to resolve and for me to feel very good again. Knowing this also makes it much easier to endure the bad mood.

Knowing that I have the tools/abilities to resolve unpleasant emotions is very relieving. Instead of "running around in panic" when I get an unpleasant feeling, all I need to do is sit with the feeling for a while and I will likely understand it better and it will go away.

I'm also still noticing [...] it's more difficult to just distract myself from something unpleasant or try to ignore it.

I'm trying to cultivate a mindset where I don't view my unpleasant emotions as annoying, or an obstacle that needs to be overcome. Instead I can feel grateful that they're looking out for me and that they're just trying to bring something important to my attention.

January 2018

A reader comments on the relation between Focusing and emotional processing, and also on applying Focusing to itself:

My impression is, that the emotional processing tuning is a natural extension of Gendlin's Focusing. [...] The way I see it right now, Focusing is a technique to make information conscious, that is available only in your sub-conscious. And then the natural next step is to use that information.

I started doing a lot of Focusing in late October, and I've since noticed a few times when communicating via text, that I can use Focusing to get a wonderful clarity on what my feelings concerning the situation are, and then it follows automatically what I should say. It was nice to see that sort of thing confirmed in your Focusing description. Also, I'm assigning a lot of recent improvements in my life to the skills I got through Focusing, and so I'm now sort of viewing practicing the Tuning stuff as More Dakka for Focusing and I'm rather optimistic that I will get some good benefits.

Another thought/thing I noticed: One of the first things I used Focusing on was a nervousness I felt about doing Focusing itself. And now the first session where I deliberately did the emotional processing tuning I chose to process the resistance I felt to doing it. I think it's really cool how this is a thing that can bootstrap itself, and I suspect many people may benefit from the advice to Focus on their feelings related to Focusing when they are just starting to learn it and want to practice it. I think I got a bit lucky, in that I had the insight that I could do this.

Another reader had some initial successes:

I looked at [BWT] for the first time a little over a week ago. Since then, I've been going back to the guidelines for Gendlin Focusing and "Tune Your Emotional Processing" regularly. I've noticed feelings of boredom, agitation, (often physical) discomfort, and overwhelm. Sometimes, going through the processes from [BWT] have helped me find a clear way forward.

For example, I focused on the feeling of overwhelm at all the knowledge in the world, and the hopelessness of my learning it all. I think thinking about this, using the processes from [BWT], has led my mind to better realize that I have finite capability (i.e. all the employees are on board with this), and made it easier to prioritize. It's easier to say "Oh yeah, that action isn't worth doing, let's forget about it."

Sometimes, focusing on feelings doesn't lead to much, so that a part of me still feels mostly unresolved, even after trying to process it. This happens in degrees -- problems can feel unsolved, partially solved, mostly solved, or totally solved, though usually after processing them, there is some sort of shift in attitude.

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