Many of us aren’t comfortable with our emotions; we have learned to push them away, so we don’t have to feel and think about them. Feeling your emotions physically can be a challenge but a necessary one relevant to your overall health.
This article was originally published on January 13, 2018, and has been updated.
How do you feel when intense emotions come up?
Maybe your ears start to burn, your head starts to pound, or your heart starts to race.
Many of us aren’t comfortable with our emotions. So we’ve learned to push them away, so we don’t have to feel or think about them.
“What’s wrong with that?” you ask.
Feeling your emotions physically is relevant to your overall health!
It’s necessary to living your best, healthiest, and happiest life.
We need to process and experience our feelings to live fully.
What is an ideal life, you might be asking?
An ideal life is when we feel good about ourselves, have healthy relationships, and are able to manage day-to-day stress with relative ease.
Because your mind and body are so tightly connected, one of the most effective ways to understand your emotions as they are happening is to learn how to spot the physical changes that accompany your emotions. - Dr. Travis Bradberry
What happens when emotions come up?
When you experience an emotion, electric signals course through your brain and trigger physical sensations in your body.
The physical effects of these emotions send important signals.
When you are aware of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, you have good emotional health—one reason why feeling your emotions physically is crucial.
Each of us has a mind/body connection where our body reacts to the way we think and feel.
Feeling your emotions physically and understanding the effects of these emotions is paramount to a healthy mind/body connection.
When we feel distressed or anxious, our body reacts and sends a signal to let us know that something isn’t right.
Sometimes we have health issues that act as a messenger to indicate there is a problem.
For instance, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer can be a symptom of stress.
Appreciating the physical effects that accompany specific emotions is vital to early detection and awareness of an issue.
4 Ways to Assess the Physical Effects of Your Emotions
Take some time when you're alone to practice feeling your emotions physically by making these assessments:
- Assess the speed at which your heart is beating - Is it fast or slow?
- What is the pace of your breathing?
- How tense are the muscles in your arms, legs, back, and neck?
- Reflect on events in your life that create a strong emotion in you– one positive and negative.
Take time to re-create the event in your mind so you can feel the emotions stirred in you.
You can do this by asking yourself these questions:
- What are Physical changes attached to those feelings?
- Do they affect your heart rate and breathing?
- Do your muscles feel tense?
- What does the temperature of your body feel like?