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How to “sit” with uncomfortable feelings

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

man sitting down near a lake

If you have completed your ketamine journey and find yourself experiencing uncomfortable feelings, it is important that you know that this is normal and part of the process. This can happen because the medicine may bring up trapped or unresolved feelings so that they can be witnessed, acknowledged, processed, and released. Once released, you can find a sense of relief and can create space for healing and transformation to take place.

So, how do you actually “sit” with your feelings?

1. If possible, actually sit: On a couch, outside, in your car and plan on taking a few minutes to yourself.

2. Shift your focus to your body: notice where in your body you feel the sensation or discomfort. It may be your chest, your throat, your heart. Maintain focus on the area in your body where the discomfort is. It may be helpful to close your eyes here.

3. Acknowledge what you are feeling and name the feeling: I feel afraid, I feel sad, I feel angry. Tell yourself that it is okay to feel whatever you are feeling: It is okay to feel afraid/sad/angry because I am human.

4. Stay with the physical sensation: Notice how this feels and allow yourself to keep sitting with that feeling. Describe the sensation: does it have a temperature, a shape, a color?

5. Breath and self soothe: Support yourself through this process by taking deep slow breaths: inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Self sooth by hugging yourself, rocking slowly back and forth, or tenderly massaging/gently tapping the area where the discomfort is

6. Allow what arises to be released without judgment: It may be tears, the need to shake, or make a sound- even a scream. This is your body working to release the feeling. Do your best to let it happen. It may help to remind yourself that the feeling is temporary and to trust that it will pass. Notice how the sensation has shifted and how you feel once it has been released. Did the temperature change, did the shape shift or shrink, or do you feel better/neutral?

7. Self Compassion: After the feeling has passed, be gentle and kind with yourself as you would be with a friend if you find that you are judging yourself.

8. Self Care: You may feel the need to rest, move your body, journal to foster curiosity or to reflect on the experience, or to do something fun. Whatever you need to do to take care of yourself, go for it.

Sitting with your feelings may feel uncomfortable because it is new and unfamiliar to you. If this was “hard”, know that you are learning and that with time and practice, it will feel more natural. If you’d like a softer start, you can try sitting with comfortable feelings like joy, love, or peace using the same steps. So, I invite you to give it a try, you are worth it. You got this!

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