Thinking Exploration Prompt – Sensing Form

Thinking Exploration

This exercise is for when you are thinking in some particular way. Or, if you can easily access/’bring up’ a type of thinking that you want to explore. If you are new to this I recommend starting with Body Scan, Memory, or Physical Activation.

This exercise is made to help you FEEL how your thoughts are interwoven with your body. Note: ‘thinking’ involves physical, measurable, parts of your body moving, such as neurotransmitters opening and closing, and chemical and electric impulses being passed from one cell to another.

The goal is not to be able to feel each neurotransmitter. Rather, the goal is to feel that thinking feels like something. It produces an effect that reverberates, echoes, through your body.

I find that one of the surest ways I can raise my stress levels and increase my depression is to fall into a pit of ‘dangerous thinking’. You know this sort of ‘hamster on a wheel’, worrying, self deprecation, or when you are frustrated at someone and you think of more and more and more reasons why/what they should do differently – this sort of stuff. If this rings a bell for you, this exercise might help you to learn how to avoid pits of ‘dangerous thinking’.

In other situations, you might be deep at work writing, organizing your bank account, playing music, telling a story – when your thinking feels fast and well-oiled. There is a specific sort of way that this ‘flow’ thinking feels.

With any sort of thinking, this exercise can be helpful to make you more familiar with how different versions of YOUR own thinking, feel.

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

2. To ‘access’ a certain kind of thinking, try thinking about a topic. For example, thinking about money often brings me to a familiar set of thinking worry-loops and so forth. If I start thinking about molecular bonding, a different type of thinking usually emerges. If I start thinking about if I hurt my friend’s feelings, that is a particular style of thinking, or if I start thinking about the colors and textures of a painting I’m working on, yet another style of thinking happens.
Play around until you have figured out the type of thinking you want to explore.
Pick one to begin.

3. As you begin filling out the questions on the sensing form, you may notice that your sensations 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 or interesting to you, you can also ‘re-fresh’ the type of thinking that 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, 30 minutes, etc.
If only 1 minute feels 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 the style of thinking you have chosen is not already ‘at the surface’, take a moment to ‘re-fresh’ it.
Begin.

 

 

Sensing Form.
1. Location
Where do you feel this thinking/the echos of this thinking?

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 the feeling in this area 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?

 

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

* This material is free for personal use! * Got a question about using this form? You can email me at: eenaction a t gmail.com.
To share this material with students/clients in teaching, therapeutic or all other purposes: include erin bell 2019 as citation + send from $1 to $100 – to gertrudious AT gmail.com via Paypal.

 

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.