Emotion in the Body

Have you wondered what people mean when they refer to the mind- body connection?   How does this relate to energy? What role does energy play in this connection between body and mind?

One of the key forces of the mind is emotion, feelings that flow through the mind and body created by the release of hormones, neurotransmitters and other chemicals that affect the body and mind in a myriad of ways. These chemicals are released as a response to events and situations that occur in your life. There are many chemicals for the body to choose from. Which ones you choose are determined by your beliefs and values, so that you might be anxious about the prospect of talking in public because you believe it to be a threatening situation, or you might be excited by the idea because it is thrilling to be sharing your ideas to a group of people. The quickening heart, the shortness of breath, the strained voice are all symptoms of one emotional response. The steady beat of the heart, the calm breathing and the conviction in your strong voice are the symptoms of a different response. Neither emotion is right or wrong. It is just how you feel about it. Those feelings create an emotional response in your body. This cascade of events occurs because the mind and the body are connected.

Energy and emotion

Emotion is energy in motion (e- motion). All things are energy and all energy flows. Emotion is a particular energy flow that is part of the human experience bringing you the highs and lows of living. Emotions can be joyous and painful. That joy and pain is felt most keenly when it flows, as it courses through your body and you experience that flow of energy. Sometimes that flow can be over- whelming as you feel the intensity of it. The joy of loving and feeling loved and the pain of bereavement are two more common examples. These emotions are sometimes so powerful that you cannot stop them flowing.

Some times in your life you might have been taught not to express your emotions. As children it is common to be told not to cry or not to be so silly, to grow up when upset or not to display anger. These restrictions are sometimes cultural and can also be because the people around you cannot handle these emotions themselves and so feel uncomfortable with them. In a desperate effort to control the situation, children are told by parents to stifle their emotions.   Humiliation at school by peers can be a powerful learning ground for suppressing emotion.

When energy is trapped

So what is really going on inside of you when this happens? From the point of view of energy, the emotion you are feeling in that moment is energy in flow creating a response in your body that generates anger, sadness, jealousy or whatever, manifesting certain behaviour- you cry, shout, scream etc. When told to stop, you try to stem that flow, stopper it like a cork in a champagne bottle or holding tight onto the lead of your dog when it is trying to get away. This takes effort and energy of it’s own and the body tightens to contain it. Muscles stiffen to hold on to the energy as it tries to flow. Because the energy is contained, the bodily response subsides. Perhaps unknown to you, the energy is still inside you, trying to flow and held back by your body through muscle tension.

You know this if you have ever relived a past experience- the emotion resurfaces as if the event had just happened- powerful and emotional. Over many years, with repeated events such as these, the body becomes increasingly tense, limiting movement, strength, breathing, posture, digestion, presence and preventing relaxation that allows the body to act naturally. With so much emotion trapped in the body, the mind also becomes tense, as it has to monitor the muscles that are trapping this energy and make sure nothing gets released. Over time, this takes up more and more of your energy, splitting your mind and body, making it harder to focus on the present and relax into the moment.

Restricted energy in motion manifests as tension throughout the body

Restricted energy in motion manifests as tension throughout the body

The consequences of this learned behaviour over time can be severe. As well as reducing emotional range because you do not allow yourself to express more than just mild emotions, the mind and body become tight, increasing stress, accelerating the aging process, reducing learning and adaptability, preventing flexibility and agility of body and mind and affecting health as well as well- being.

When you release energy

How do you release this trapped emotion? What is most important here is to do so in a safe and appropriate way. Sometimes it might be important to seek professional support in dealing with emotions that are otherwise challenging to handle and work through. Meditation can be an excellent method for releasing tension and becoming mindful of your feelings when that emotion is released. Yoga too can be a brilliant method for stretching out tension throughout the body, creating calmness and relaxation in mind and body. Massage, reflexology, acupuncture and shiatsu are all methods of relaxing the body and therefore the mind as part of a programme to bring the mind and body into balance and towards well- being. There is another energetic advantage to relaxing body and mind and allowing the energy to flow through you rather than be trapped inside: that is connection. When relaxed you are more connected, more present and open to the fullness of the moment. Here you connect not just to your self, but to the world and humanity. Through doing this work, you reconnect to your natural state, connected to the expansive whole of the universe.

Over to you

How do you experience the mind- body connection? How do you allow your emotions to flow? What can you share about stifling and suppressing emotions? We’d love to hear from you and share in the discussion about energy, so come on over and post your comments in the box at the bottom of the page.

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