How Does Happy Really Feel?

by Amy on August 24, 2009

I love wine. I like to enjoy a nice rosé on a warm summer evening.
  I like to go to a fine restaurant and order a fancy bottle. Fine, I will also 
disclose that I have a particular weakness for champagne which I am fond of consuming while watching reality TV.

As a Martha Beck life coach (I realize this isn’t the best transitional sentence), one of the first things I do with new clients is teach them a tool called The Body Compass. In a nutshell, this tool teaches people how to connect with the sensations in their body whenever they feel positive or negative emotions.

As a culture, we are so in our heads that we often go around identifying completely with our thoughts without realizing that our body provides us with important information as well.

I admit, the first time I was introduced to The Body Compass, I thought of it as a little “woo woo.” Still, I shrugged my shoulders and did it. Little by little, the sensations in my body started to get my attention. Like the sediment that rises to the surface of a lake when the bottom gets stirred up, I started noticing sensations in my body more and more. How does grumpy feel to me? How does happy feel?

One evening, feeling celebratory, I sat down with my husband to enjoy a glass of champagne (we dusted off the whole bottle). As the audience vote was revealed, I started to notice that I wasn’t feeling as celebratory anymore. I wasn’t feeling un-celebratory… I guess I just wasn’t feeling much of anything. Numb.

The next day, after a fitful night of sleep that included several trips to the bathroom, I woke up to a range of other bodily sensations. I got a much better sense of how dehydrated felt to my body. I got to explore the feeling of groggy. I observed the sensation of increased sensitivity to noise (never pleasant with toddlers running wild in the kitchen). In fact, the whole day, I noticed that my whole body just felt dull, especially my head.

My intention, whenever I drink wine, is to feel happy and relaxed. I’m beginning to see that, for me, “happy and relaxed” under the influence lasts about two hours and then groggy takes over for a good twenty four more.

I still enjoy a glass of wine here and there. Thanks to The Body Compass though I’m not kidding myself that the kind of “happy and relaxed” I’m really after will ever come from even the finest glass of champagne sipped slowly over the very best episode of Survivor. That glass or two of wine may get me there temporarily but it is a poor substitute for the happy and relaxed that I know comes from within.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen O'Dell August 24, 2009 at 4:45 pm

Amy… your posts are so thought provoking to me! I will have to think about that the next time I am enjoying some wine while “relaxing.” 🙂 Jen


Amy August 24, 2009 at 9:26 pm

Thanks Jen!! I’m so thrilled to know that you are reading and enjoying my blog!


June April 8, 2010 at 1:42 am

I think I need time to consider these, thanks for your sharing, it’s nice!!


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