The Mind Body Connection With Emotions – Skill #8
The Mind Body Connection is powerful; our emotions are stored not only in our brain, but in our bodily response. When we have a strong emotion, our body has a physical reaction. Emotions can seem trapped in our body when we have a chronic stress response, or other hurts.
This idea of the mind body connection isn’t just some woo-woo hippie idea, our emotions directly impact our body, our physiology, our physical being, and can directly impact our brain and emotions.
In this section, you’re going to learn about the mind body connection, the physical impact of emotions, and this is really important, because if we want to change how we feel, if we want to change how we think and how we live our lives, we need to learn how to resolve emotions that get trapped in the body.
Everyday Evidence of the Mind Body Connection
Almost everyone has had this feeling after a strong emotional experience, but most people have zero education about what to do about it.
Emotions are as much in the body as in the mind. But, as you’re going to learn in my next section, strong emotions make it hard to think clearly. If we want to learn to process through and resolve intense emotions, we have to learn to soothe our body first.
Listen to some common ways to talk about how we feel:
“My boss is a pain in the neck.”
“My coworker gives me a headache.”
“My ex-boyfriend makes me sick to my stomach.”
“I’ve got a broken heart.”
“I’m so tired of dealing with this.”
“He got cold feet.”
“My heart’s pounding with excitement.”
“That sent a shiver down my spine.”
Many of our thoughts, emotions and actions, are rooted in a deeper part of our brains and bodies that are not part of our conscious thinking process. The Fight/Flight/Freeze response comes from deep parts of our brain and body, deep knowledge that is subconscious. We have many, many more instincts that are also not part of our conscious reactions.
There’s some really cool research showing that emotions and memories are stored in the stomach, glands, heart and other muscles (think your jaw or neck or back pain), and throughout the body.
Mind Body Connection Research
There is also very rigorous research showing the links between stress and physical illness, like cancer, heart attacks, decreased immunity, and all others. We really cannot separate the mind from the body, they are intricately connected.
When we learn to notice the physical aspect of emotions, that gives us a key to working through them, and just because our emotions are in our bodies and sometimes get stuck, doesn’t mean they have to be trapped there forever.
Not only does the mind lead to how our body feels, but how our body feels can lead to how our mind feels. There are some simple physical changes we can make to improve our ability to resolve emotions.
When we change our thinking, or emotions, we can change the physiological responses. This is called a “Top-Down approach”. We can also take a “Bottom-Up” approach to improving our mental health by accessing our brain through our bodies.
So let me show you a simple way; Lean into an area of tension. Let’s do it with the shoulders, don’t resist your tension, just exaggerate it a little, and then consciously soften. You can do this with your face, with your hands, with your breathing. Small changes in our physical habits can create big changes in our brains.
Physical Habits That Can Improve Your Mind Body Connection
Simple physical changes that we can make to improve our ability to resolve emotions.