Did you know that a sensation in your body is the first available cue that an emotion is present?
Did you know that this is a surprise to most people?
As Candace Pert’s research reveals, there are neuropeptides released in the body during different subjective emotional states, causing a sensation in the body. In her article Where Do You Store Your Emotions?, she says, “A feeling sparked in our mind-or body-will translate as a peptide being released somewhere. [Organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands], they all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information”.
A team of scientists led by Lauri Nummenmaa ran an experiment with 700 volunteers and were able to find consistent patterns in how subjects experienced emotions in the body.
We are feeling some level of emotion almost always, even it is to a very small degree and even if we are not conscious of the experience.
Just like the waves in the Pacific ocean are constantly crashing onto the shore. Sometimes the waves are very small, sometimes they are big, but they never stop. Most of the time, we just are not consciously tuned in to this channel unless the emotions are intense.
Why is it even important to catch the first indication of an emotion?
- You are looking for a way to reduce angry outbursts. Outbursts usually happen as a result of a back log of emotion. If you keep the flow of emotion more consistent, it won’t need to explode out.
- You are experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. Usually, anxiety or depression symptoms initially show up as a result of trapped emotions.
- You experience emotions intensely on a regular basis and you want to decrease that intensity. If you tend to be more on the sensitive side of the spectrum, it may help to notice emotions sooner. This way, it takes less time for emotion to process through.
- You are looking for ways to “tune in” to your our feelings to reach a particular goal. An example of this might be that emotions are not on your radar often and someone in your life is asking you to connect or tune in more. Another example might be that you are engaging in a behavior as a result of emotion and you would like to stop the behavior. For example: you tend to buy things when you experience uncomfortable feelings. You may have a goal of getting spending over control. Tuning into emotions sooner will support you with that.
Most emotion, if experienced at an easy or moderate level, is simply a helpful message. The emotion doesn’t stay around too long once it is acknowledged. Really, it only stays around long enough to process through the body.
If you use the body to help you catch the first signals that an emotion is present, you are more likely able to “download” the message sooner.
This eliminates the need to get your attention by increasing the intensity of the emotion.
This will also allow you to enjoy the more pleasant emotions since there is no way to only turn the volume up or down for certain emotions only. So, more love, more joy, more happiness are also possible when you tune into the body.
To give you a starting point, sadness is typically experienced in the chest (like heaviness or warmth), then will move to the throat, then to the nose and then to the eyes where tears may well up and fall. Fear or anxiety often manifests in the stomach. Anger is often in the neck, jaw and hands. You will see that these areas are also highlighted in the body maps above.
What is your motivation to start listening to your body?