Photo of a cloud shaped like a dragon

Help! Too much internal awareness! I’m self-conscious and uncomfortable!

I whipped this out for my SFSU students. Perhaps you will find it useful.

Sometimes in Somatic study, we can feel destabilized by too much internal awareness – especially if it is negative. If you are feeling this, you are not alone. It is something that happens to everyone at one point or another. We focus too much on the feeling inside and lose sight of the whole of our being in relationship to the world.

Somatic study is relational. Our bodies, our emotions and our neurological mapping of ourself includes the space around us and other people. Scientifically this is called “peripersonal space” and “interpersonal neurobiology”. You can look it up. It’s fascinating.

But what can I do on a practical level if this is happening to me?

Expand your field of vision. Allow yourself to see off into the distance and far to the sides as if you were standing on the top of a mountain or at the beach. Letting your sight be far, free and wide will have a relaxing effect on your mood and breathing.

Look around and orient to pleasant things in your environment. Looking up at the sky is a good quick tip.

Practice sensing the space above you, behind you, to either side, below you and in front of you – kind of the way you can sense the edges of a swimming pool when you are standing in it. Do you have a favorite direction, that feels especially good to you? Indulge in that. Try sensing the space at 3 feet distance, and then expand it to the edge of the room. See how far it feels good to go. Some people go out to the edges of their perceived Universe. All of this can help take the focus off too much inner sensation.

Expanding spatial awareness will also expand your body physically – alleviating some of that unpleasant too-much sensation. Our body expression follows our attention. If we focus inward, we contract; outward we expand. In the future, if you are sensing inwards, keep some part of your awareness outward as a tether. See if you can do inner and outer at the same time, for a 50/50 awareness split.

Prof Elyse

p.s. you can also try this with hearing

p.p.s.Photo of Sky Dragon/ Sea Horse. Magical messengers are everywhere if we look. Photo by Elyse Shafarman