Exploring an Emotion Prompt – Sensing Form

Explore an Emotion.

This prompt is usually easier if you are already familiar with this sorta sensing work. If you are new to this – or if you are not able to feel much/access much emotion right now – I recommend that you start with a different prompt, such as Body Scan , Memory, or Physical Activation. Explore an Emotion prompt is for when you’re experiencing some, maybe, large emotion(s). Or, if you can easily access/’bring up’ an emotion you want to explore.

1. Be sure to read the advisory notes about the sensing form before you begin (2 min read).

2. Very briefly, notice your emotion. Maybe you can easily identify it with a name like happiness, annoyance, fear, etc. Maybe it is an mixture of words. Maybe no word quite fits it. All versions are great. Do NOT spend a lot of time trying to find the right word. If one doesn’t come quickly, likely a word(s) will float to the surface as you are filling out the sensing form.

3. As you begin filling out the questions on the sensing form, you may notice that your emotion begins to change. This is normal. You can fill out your form, noting the changes. Or, if you are able and/or if it is helpful to you, you can also ‘re-fresh’ the emotion you started with. Do this as often as you’d like.

4. It is often helpful to set a timer. Pick a time that sounds doable/easy for you. 1 minute, 5 minutes, 10 minutes, etc.
If only 1 minute feel doable/easy, you can allow yourself to leave some questions unanswered for this particular session.

5. Have your sensing form accessible and/or a pen in hand.

Set your timer.
If you are not already living this emotion right now, take a moment and bring it to the surface.



Sensing Form.
1. Location
Where/do you notice a sensation(s) that is ‘speaking up a bit louder’ than other areas?

For example, is it near your spine? On your skin? Behind you? In your belly area? Your brow area? A foot in front of you? Etc. Draw/Fill-in the location that seems to be closest to where you felt/feel this sensation.


2. Direction
Is this feeling staying perfectly still? Or is it moving just a little bit, or a lot – in this or that direction?
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to the directionality of your feeling:
zig zag — upward — downward — every direction — spiraling — towards my center — away from my body — hovering in one place — …


3. Tempo/Speed
If this feeling is moving/vibrating, what speed does it move, on a scale of 0 = absence of movement – to – 10 = fastest movement you can imagine:
0   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to the speed of your feeling:
frozen lake — old TV static — deer in headlights — gentle stream — storm winds/electric storm — dead or sleeping body — plants buds in spring — like a snail moves — pouring molasses — …


4. Other qualities of this movement/vibration?
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
elevator — bike ride on bumpy street — stop-and-go traffic — ice skating — flopping — floating — lightening bolt — bungie jump — like falling boulders — person getting an electric shock — stubborn donkey — ‘good’-tingly — hum/buzz — rhythmic/arrhythmic — …


5. If you imagine/touch-feel this feeling or lean your weight on it, what is it like?
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
plastic — concrete — mud — sandpaper — fog — elastic — wood — brittle — moist soil — fleshy — soft — coral-like — sparkling — fragile — solid –…


6. Flavor
If you could taste/imagine what it might taste like,
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
bitter — mellow — moldy — chocolate — metallic — warm — acidic — round –…


7. Color
Was there an element of color present in the feeling you are investigating?

Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
glitter-sparkling — like sunlight — black but with swirling streaks — like a shadow — red –…


8. Temperature
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
sauna — warm blanket — ice — refreshing/cool –…


9. Sounds/Words
Are/were there any internal sounds, words, or thoughts which seem to be related?
Circle, cross out, or add any words that apply to your feeling:
oh! — noooooo! — erghhhh! — closer. — sigh. — yes! — shwooooooosh! — that way! — …


10. More?
Did you find any new realizations or did any remembered-realizations pop up for you?
Is there anything you found that feels important to remember (for today, this week, this month, etc)?
Did anything shift in how you understand/feel how your emotions-body-thoughts relate to each other?
Anything more?


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This material is free for personal use only.

To share this material with students/clients – in teaching, therapeutic or all other purposes: include erin bell in citation + buy me a coffee, or send $1 or more via Paypal. A coffee here and there helps me try to earn a sustainable income and it helps keep these tools freely accessible to others.



Try other prompts here. To talk with others about this, share some part of your experience, or what-have-you: Sensing Form Forum.

A similar style exercise to these Sensing Form Prompts – and a resource that has deeply helped me in my life and inspired my work – is E. Gendlin’s Six Steps/Focusing.