Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Emotional Bodies

It’s no surprise anymore that stress wreaks havoc on our health. Even allopathic, mainstream doctors are well aware of the effect that it has. We know that it can affect the immune system, blood sugar levels, melatonin levels, blood pressure, and cause hormone imbalance. Many people who are stressed have sore necks and backs and many times they will have chest pains even when their hearts are checked and declared perfectly healthy. What is this phenomenon?

In this example we’ve used the emotion of stress and it is just that - an emotion. It comes from our thoughts. Stressful thoughts react with our body’s physiology and the way it functions.

This is a perfect example of how the mind, spirit, and body are inextricably linked. You can give your body all of the nutrients it needs to function, but if you are a psychological wreck, your body is still going to suffer, even if medical diagnostic testing can’t find anything wrong with your body.

Scientists are learning more and more every day about how our bodies deal with our emotions. Many are suggesting - and finding - that we actually store our emotions in various parts of our bodies. Some feel that this is quackery science, but the evidence is awfully persuasive. It’s not necessarily quackery - it’s just new and different to some, and different can be scary. Nonetheless, it’s quite compelling and worth further investigation.

A study published in 2013 by Finnish researchers revealed very interesting things about the way emotions work in the body. They studied participants across cultures, races, ages, and languages. Their job was to say where they felt certain emotions in their body. They came up with consistent results regardless of the vast differences in the populations. The findings suggest that found that the participants felt similar emotions in the same parts of their bodies.

Think about it:
  • When you feel saddened, you instinctively tense up your jaw in preparation to cry.
  • When you feel stressed, you may feel a tightening in your neck and back.
  • Fear can cause you to feel warm all over.
  • A person who has a lot of anger has oftentimes rightfully earned the name “hot head” - because we feel anger in our heads and necks.
  • We know that oxytocin is released when we feel love or connection to those around us.
  • Though still not well understood, some yoga instructors report that people in their classes can have an emotional breakthrough and release after a hip opening session. They suggest that the hips are a place where we hold a lot of emotion.

There are some holistic health providers that call the body the “storehouse of the subconscious mind.” What an interesting concept. More research, similar to that of the Finnish study, is surfacing that is confirming their findings.

The question is: if we store these emotions in our bodies, what effect do they have in the short and long term? We don’t fully understand these questions yet, but we obviously continue to learn more and more about ourselves and the world around us all the time.

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