The most common diaries handed out in CBT are thought, feeling, physiology, and behaviour diaries. A particularly difficult concept for some people, which will need to be identified before completion of this diary is the notion that feelings are in the body and not the head. Diaries will encourage the use of regular body scanning. This will be beneficial as it, a) evokes greater sensory awareness and b) encourages increased experiential processing.
We define physiological reactions as specific sensations that occur in our bodies.
Specific body changes that people may notice when they are psychologically upset include increased tension, jaw tightening, a tight chest, a pounding head, heart racing, heavy feelings in the legs, pain in the chest, stomach churning and such like.
We define emotions as a way of labelling and giving meaning to specific bodily changes. Many physiological reactions connected to emotions are very similar: for example, the physiological changes associated with anxiety and anger both involve a) heart rate increase, b) a rise in blood pressure, and c) tension in major muscle groups. However, similar bodily reactions can be perceived or interpreted very differently, and trigger different consequential behaviours. Therefore, we attach importance to the labelling of emotions. Labelling emotions assists people to notice what they are feeling, where the feeling is located, and to recognise that what is happening to them is 'just a feeling'.