Curiosity expands, judgment contracts.
Clench your fist tightly for a few seconds.
Notice the feeling of CONTRACTION...
Now release your fist.
Allow your fingers to soften and stretch outward.
Sense the feeling of EXPANSION...
When we judge ourselves and specifically our emotions, we create a contraction. This amplifies the emotional state we're in and creates more internal (and often external) pressure.
Alternatively, when we bring curiosity to ourselves and our emotions, we create room to experience whatever we're feeling in a broader container of awareness. This can diffuse especially intense emotions and also creates more space for possibility, including different perspectives and wider array of emotions (e.g. excitement alongside fear, eagerness alongside anxiety, caring alongside hurt, etc).
The next time you feel a strong emotion coming on, see if you can pause and get curious. Where do you feel the emotion in your body? How do you know which emotion is present? You might use the Wheel of Emotions to get more specific.
The primary definition of curious is: eager to know or learn something.
Instead of immediately stuffing down or resisting your emotions, how might it feel to approach them (or the emotions of your colleagues, kids, or partner) through the lens of curiosity instead?
Written by Ryan Kenny, Pause Cofounder