|Competency||Concentration / Empathy|
|Skills Developed||Emotional Mapping|
|Created By||Hugo Alberts (PhD) and Lucinda Poole (PsyD)|
- Observing and understanding emotions in oneself is considered one of the four key ingredients of emotional intelligence and crucial for an actor. Mindfulness can help one develop emotional intelligence, by increasing one’s understanding of their own emotions. Since the practice of mindfulness involves noticing one’s current thoughts and feelings without judgment or interference, one learns to observe different emotional states. Additionally, mindfulness is positively correlated with increased clarity of feelings, attention to feelings, and lower distraction. Just as intellectual intelligence is manifested through reading and learning, emotional intelligence can be fostered through mindfully attending to current emotional states.
The goal of this exercise is to help the actor develop their emotional awareness through mindfulness meditation. This exercise focuses on emotional awareness only, and actors are invited to notice and connect with an emotional state. The goal is not to regulate or tolerate emotions but to help actors become gradually more familiar with their emotions. Actors who have a low level of emotional awareness may struggle to find words to describe their emotions or find it hard to detail the characteristics of the emotion. If this is the case, actors should try to adopt a curious attitude while completing this exercise. Understand that it takes time and practice to become emotionally aware and, eventually, emotionally intelligent.
This exercise invites you to become more aware of your emotions so you can build your emotional intelligence. To start, find an area where you can sit for as long as you need to complete each question.
Emotional Awareness Meditation Script
Follow the steps in this order:
1. Find a comfortable seated position. Either sitting on a cushion on the floor, or in a chair. Allow your spine to be straight and long, and let your shoulders drop. Gently close your eyes, or, if you’d prefer, simply gaze down in front of you with a soft focus.
2. As you sit here, notice where your body is making contact: your feet touching the floor, perhaps your back on the ground, your sit bones on a chair…
3. Notice your breath. For the next five or so breaths, follow each inhale and exhale, feeling or imagining the breath flowing into and out of the body.
4. Now, shift your awareness from your breath to your body, and begin to scan through the body slowly from head to toe, observing any feelings or emotions that are present.
5. You might detect numerous feelings or emotions throughout the body. For this exercise, choose one feeling or emotion to focus on for now.
6. Notice where in your body this emotion located… so what part of the body is holding this feeling?
7. How big or small is the feeling?
8. Where are its edges? Are these edges sharp or soft?
9. Does the feeling have a color? And if so, is the color changing or remaining the same?
10. Is the feeling heavy, or light?
11. Is the feeling moving, or still?
12. Is the feeling hard or soft? Is it rough or smooth? If I could touch this feeling with my hand, what would its texture be like?
13. Now, if you were to give a name to this feeling or emotion, what would it be? Can you identify it? Can you give it a label?
14. If a name for this feeling doesn’t come to mind, that’s OK. Be kind to yourself, and continue to observe the feeling in the body with curiosity and without judgment, until the nature of this emotion becomes clearer to you.
15. Continue to get to know this emotion for another five or so minutes. When you feel that you have reached a level of comfort with and understanding of this feeling, gently open your eyes and bring your attention back to the room you are in.
16. On a piece of paper, write about your experience in the above steps in as much detail as possible. Writing about your experience
of this emotion will enhance your understanding and familiarity with it.