For the longest time it was hard for me to feel my emotions, especially in personal interactions – dates and meetups.

If you are not in tune with yours or have many anxieties, you probably can relate.

I couldn’t feel what I actually wanted to do.

I was even forgetting about food and water if I was among people for half of the day, because I was so damn anxious all the time…

I could sense that something may be uncomfortable. But constantly worrying about every aspect of interaction I couldn’t even start to figure out what.

I was always shrinking to a tight ball of neurotic mess.

And I still do that in some way.

I had a lot of progress in meditations, mindfulness and being more at peace…

But it is really fucking hard for me to be present with someone else in non-professional environment.

Lately I started working on changing it up. And then I got the question about what approach I am taking there.

Here are some of the solutions that seem to help me in some way:

– Setting up the notifications on my phone.

Repeating timer with 15-30 minute intervals. When it goes off, I take a step back from whatever I was doing/talking about and try to be mindful and present.

It doesn’t always work great – being present can still be hard when I am feeling extremely agitated and pressured to converse with groups.

But even making some effort for it to work matters. It is a training session for the brain. It is a small step in the right direction – you have to start from something.

Interesting fact – sometimes it caused me to be more present in between these alarms. I remembered about them, then thought about why they are here – and jumped to trying to feel what I feel right now.

– Processing the situation afterwards

Processing outside of interactions helps too – writing what happened and what I will do in the future. So it is like – you encountered some problem and built support for the next time it happens – explained yourself how to treat it and what to do. After a couple of tries it starts to come up in the moment at least a little.

– Overall practice of trying to “feel” in some way

My approach is to trigger that thought of “mindfulness” by any means necessary in the interaction.

And then when it comes up in some way – it is already a practice.

It can be just noticing it, actively focusing or responding with something – it doesn’t matter as long as the intent is clearly inside my head.

It takes some form after a bunch of tries – manifests itself into the real world. Encountering it improves me over time.

– Having some “canned” questions or topics that I can bring up in the interaction

The ones that will bring attention to how we all people in the interaction feel right now.

I could think of some examples: 

“Hey people, do you feel comfortable in the conversations. Do you ever tried to take a step back and see how you feel in the moment?”.

And then you are all sitting in silence trying to concentrate on it… Ahh, sweet control over people’s actions /s.

Then here are some controversial ideas that I came up with and tried just for the writing of this article (in fact while writing it):

– Self-touching. 

Oh yes. I like touching myself. In public…

Yeah, I know how awesome it sounds, you horny shameless open-mind-ers, I am there with you.

However, I mean the more “meditative” touches. I practiced it when I took part in cuddle parties. It is basically gently caressing yourself – lightly going with the fingers of one hand to the palm of the other. Gliding to the arm and back with slow fluid motions.

And though it probably sounds very weird, can cause you to cringe and have a huge desire to call me a dirty freak, it feels damn good when you allow yourself to do it.

The sensation from the touch is awesome and really pleasant. And the notion that I can give it to myself feels… freeing.

It works especially well if you have some experience with meditation and concentrating on specific contact.

I tried it just now, while writing this article and sitting among about 15 people talking with each other. It worked wonders.

I will definitely repeat that in the future meetups as well – seems like an awesome technique to bring focus from head to reality.

I recommend trying it a couple of times – nothing really bad can happen, but potential results are awesome. If anything this practice of doing weird shit in public – kind of exposure therapy – helps greatly to overcome anxiety.

It may be awkward to do in the middle of a random group.
But fuck it – you’re here for yourself right? You’re attempting to connect to your feelings. 

And what is a better way to the vessel where they are stored – the body? 

Physical contact.

It may surprise you how good it can be and how fast it brings you back to the “feeling” realm.

– Slooowwwiiiinggg dooooowwwnnnn…..

Harder to do than it sounds.
But very efficient.

Remembering to physically go into the “chill” state. Laying back on couch/chair. Making conscious effort to stop yourself from doing any sudden movements. Slowing your speech. Not leaning to hear other people (oh that is the hardest for me).

Taking more time to respond.

Being slow and fluid in both external body motions and internal mind processes.

When I am slow, I have no choice but to be extremely aware of everything I feel – there is just too much time and too little distractions to not notice it.

And it is a funny exercise that can challenge social anxiety as well.

So now I’m giving you a challenge.

Pick some things from this list, go out there and try to be more focused on yourself. 

You are the only person who can shape how you perceive the reality.

Noticing feelings and emotions causes you to understand yourself more.

It shines light on what you like and dislike.

It opens you up to being more true to yourself, to being “real”

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