Processing Emotion with C.A.L.M.
“Genius is the ability to renew one's emotions in daily experience”
- Paul Cezanne
When we respond to a trigger, we feel emotion. This emotion arises, not because of what happened but because of what we tell ourselves about what happened. In other words, the meaning that we give to the event rather than the event itself. The meaning that we give to an event depends entirely on our unique model of the world which is derived from our individual set of experience and our genetic blueprint.
Emotions are body experiences. We feel them in a sensory way.
Emotions are felt as a result in changes in body chemistry that come about through unconscious interpretation of our environment. For example, if we are experiencing low Self-worth, our interpretation of our circumstances will reflect that. If we believe that everyone is out to get us, we will interpret everyone’s actions as malevolent towards us.
Throughout daily life, often our emotions remain unprocessed. This may be because we are too busy, or because we find them too uncomfortable and difficult to address. We may push them to one side or deny or belittle their importance, but they never truly leave us unless we have fully understood what they have to teach us. When we have not processed the emotions surrounding an event, we will revisit that event repeatedly and re-experience the negative body sensations that we felt at the time. This means that we repeatedly experience negative body chemistry which we know is ultimately going to cause us harm.
As we explained in our recent article’ Fear Patterns,’ an unpleasant emotion will often immediately lead to an unconscious ‘knee jerk’ behavioural response, which is designed to make the unpleasant situation go away, but which often ultimately leads to the manifestation on unwanted outcomes.
When we press pause on the automatic system and process our emotions rather than acting from them, we introduce conscious choice which restores our power.
Today we would like to share with you a tool for processing emotion so that you can let go of adverse events and take from every situation the gift of what it has to teach you:
C.A.L.M is our step-by-step framework to help you process any emotion or event:
It is worth remembering that you may not always be able to process events as they are happening because of time or circumstances, but the rewards of setting a little time aside to do this later, are immense.
It is also useful to remember that the same applies to positive emotions but that we are focussing on the negative hear because they are the most noxious and detrimental to our wellbeing.
Imagine that you have been triggered. Something has happened and for whatever reason you have become very upset as a result.
Remember that no one and nothing has the power to upset you unless you allow it to.
You have in fact responded to a trigger.
Set the intention to use C.A.L.M. as your method of processing your emotions so that you can let them go.
CONNECT – Connect with your body. How does it feel? Where do you feel it. How much of you is consumed by it? Churning stomach? Tight chest? Hot and cold all over? Paralysis? Head pressure? Prickling or itching skin? Allow yourself feel it fully with no holding back.
ACKNOWLEDGE and ACCEPT – Name and claim those feelings – they are only information. They are a signal from the body that there is work for you to do. Is it anger? Disappointment? Jealousy? Irritation? Rage? Sadness? Fear? Claim those feelings – they are yours to process, and they are a signpost as to where on your Self you can work. What did you tell yourself about the event that evoked these emotions? What was your interpretation of the event? Say ‘thank you’ to your body for the message.
LEARN - What is the learning in this for you? What in your psyche led to you interpreting the event in this way? How have you stopped yourself from moving forward? What are your blocks? – Remember, all obstacles can be removed. What is this response telling you about where you can work on your Self? Self-worth? Negative core beliefs? Reflection? Shadow? Lack of clarity in communication? Too much empathy? Issues with boundaries? What can you be grateful for here in terms of the lesson?
For example, jealousy might indicate that your Self-worth is good enough to know that you deserve something but that you are getting in your own way to receiving it, or anger may point you towards having been unclear about your expectations of another or you have not set defined boundaries.
MEDICINE – Here you look to applying the medicine that is needed and set about removing the blocks.
For example, breathing - to down regulate the fight-flight response and bring about balance, becoming present, pressing pause and stepping away from automatic fear patterns such as defence, blame, sarcasm, lashing out or judgment, practising clear uncontaminated communication, reframing the narrative to align with truth, choosing positive, conscious actions, applying balm by practising Self-compassion, meditation, forgiveness, considering invoking humour and as always practising gratitude.
Below is a list of links to articles which each address separate ways to apply the various types of medicine listed above:
For more insights and a host of tools and techniques for exploring the Self and improving your human experience see our book: