11 thoughts on “7 Steps to Develop Awareness of Your Feelings and Thoughts

  • November 8, 2011 at 8:33 am

    Great article that reads like a primer for Nonviolent Communication, a process for communicating and connecting synthesized by Marshall Rosenberg. Marshall would add an eighth step- connection to needs. Feelings, he says, are like a road map that lead us to that place where there is never conflict- universal human needs. Every action- every thought-every word is an attempt to meet needs.

    Taking your well written process one step further moves the awareness into action. Connecting my feelings and thoughts to the unmet needs that are trying to have voice, opens me up to creative solutions. It’s magical!

    • November 8, 2011 at 10:13 pm

      Thanks for the comment, Deborah. I appreciate the insights and work by Marshall Rosenberg that you shared!

  • November 10, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Great article. This is also the basis of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and I work in this way with patients all the time. Your article is really well written and will give so many people a new understanding of their choices in life. thanks for sharing such an important topic. sarah x

  • March 4, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Excellent article. Reminds me of what a counselor I was seeing many years taught me — namely that *I* make me feel whatever emotions I’m experiencing, primarily through my thoughts, and must therefore take responsibility for them. Realization of this makes it obvious that taking control of the process was required if I wanted a different.

    Of course doing that requires lots of patience and practice, especially in the beginning.

    Glad to see it explained so clearly which may help others benefit from the knowledge, too.

    • March 6, 2012 at 8:14 am

      Thank you, Martin, I appreciate your supportive comments and reading your thoughts and insights on this. Thanks again!

  • June 30, 2012 at 6:54 pm

    Many great points, among them that emotions are bringing you vital information and that by listening to them – which often requires staying present with uncomfortable feelings in your body – you will know what action to take that is in your best interest.

    While anger is often a cover up for other feelings a person doesn’t want to feel, such as powerlessness, vulnerability and shame, I disagree that it is always a secondary emotion. There is what I call “clean” anger. Clean anger is a core emotion who’s message is “No. This is not OK with me.” We need something that sets a boundary when others try to manipulate or hurt us. This need not be aggressive nor violent in any way, but it an essential aspect of self protection.

    • July 1, 2012 at 10:04 am

      Thanks for commenting, Joie. It’s possible that we both agree on this, and the differences are in semantics. What you call ‘clean anger’ I call ‘assertive anger’ which is more like standing up for self. I agree this is a critical aspect of healthy formation of esteem, self concept, relatedness, etc.

      I conceive of it as a ‘secondary’ emotion because it’s activation allows us to not be ruled by emotions of vulnerability. Persons who have difficulty connecting to their anger, for example, find it impossible to stand up for themselves, as they are flooded by emotions of fear (of not being liked) or guilt (being selfish) and so on. Interestingly, aggression or anger is located in the same area of the brain with empathy and compassion and they have an inverse relationship, that is, when one goes up, the other goes down in intensity. Thanks again for commenting!

  • January 23, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Lately I find out that I am not how I use to be. This was very helpful, especially when one’s identity has change. Thank you!

  • October 24, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    The most powerfull feeling is love,it affects us/I mostly and it turns,metamorphosises into any other emotion it may turn to anger or/and extreme rationalization of feelings.Trying to rationalize feelings is like…uhhhh I don”know….trying to catch a butterfly.The butterfly will come to they who adire enough to let it live and not pin it on a shelf.

  • December 7, 2016 at 2:48 pm

    Great article Thanks!

  • March 6, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Dear Dr. Staik:

    Thank you for this extremely informative article. I’m wondering if there are any books or workbooks that you can recommend to help someone like me who has pushed down her emotions (why I’m not sure) most of her life and who no longer perceives any of the negative emotions. I’m also wondering if there are any online courses that someone like me can pay for and take in order to undo the stuffing down of emotions that I have engaged in for most of my long life. Thanks so much!!


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