Making sense of your feelings
It can sometimes be hard to make sense of what we're feeling after experiencing rape or another form of sexual violence. But taking some time to identify and understand our feelings can help.
Identifying your feelings
Allowing yourself to feel your emotions somewhere safe can help you identify them.
- Try to relax. Go somewhere you feel safe and comfortable. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and try to relax.
- Pay attention to your body. You might be expressing your emotions physically. This can help you understand what emotion you're feeling. For example, If your heart is beating fast and your breathing is shallow, that might suggest fear or panic. If your muscles are tense, you might be angry.
- Turn your attention inwards and try to focus on how you feel. Try not to pass judgement on your emotions, just allow them to be. If you can, try to name your feelings.
- How strong are your feelings? You might find it helpful to rate your emotions out of ten. For example, how much out of ten are you feeling anger? Sadness? Fear?
Emotions are complicated and we rarely feel just one emotion at a time. You might be feeling a mix of emotions that change throughout the day.
Understanding your feelings
Once you've identified a feeling it can be helpful to know why you're experiencing it.
Take time to ask yourself, 'Why do I feel this way?' This can help you identify thoughts or beliefs at the root of your feelings.
You can then start to challenge these thoughts and beliefs if they're negative or unhelpful. Learn more about challenging unhelpful thoughts.