Did you know that emotions get stored in the body if you try to stuff them down or ignore them?
First, let’s define emotions. These are the messages we get that guide us to take action and make decisions.
Be sure to grab our free The Princess & The Peeve™ Emotion Assessment Worksheet to see what YOU’RE feeling right now and what it means about you!
- Energy in motion that arises to alert us to our current alignment to our higher self
- Carry actual energetic weight that has to be stored somewhere
- Often stored in jaw, eyes, back, hips
- Hips often store unexpressed sadness
- Exercise and deep stretching can help dislodge and release this energy
- Held on for too long, packs itself in more and more, forcing your body and spirit to carry it
- Energy is often painful and will interfere w/ ability to get into or stay in Home Frequency
- Energy is MEANT to pass through your body so you don’t have to carry it
Your body as an emotional translator.
“Your brain may try to rationalize how you’re feeling, excusing it, mitigating it, or even trying to convince you that you feel something else. But your body will not mislead you. The tightness or pain you feel in your body holds a wisdom all its own, and that wisdom speaks not only of your physical condition but of your mental, emotional, and spiritual condition as well.” – Dr. Laura Berman, Quantum Love
Places Where Different Emotions Are Felt
A Finnish study published in 2013 found locations were the same nearly across the board:
- Fear: heart center
- Anger: a surge of sensation throughout the entire top part of our bodies (head, face, arms, shoulders)
- Envy: head
- Love: almost our entire body, particularly in head, heart, and genitals
- Depression: diminishment in sensation all over the body, with almost complete absence of sensation in the extremities
Each emotion carries its own wisdom. We want to welcome all of them as guidance. The trick is to release all of the emotions we’ve suppressed and then be present to our free-flowing emotions in the present moment. We allow that energy to flow through our bodies and inform us of our current alignment to our higher self (aka soul), without expressing them onto others.
Sometimes we may need to retreat to a place where it safe to channel them in an expressive way, however. For example, a grieving mother may need to hit a pillow with a bat in anger or sob into a pillow in sadness. Expression is fine; expression onto others is unnecessary. It is never ok to hit another person or hold them down to snuggle!
A Note About Depression:
Depression is the result of chronic stress. It stops us in our tracks to rest because we’ve not been honest with ourselves or others about the amount of stress we’ve been carrying.
Depression basically says: “You can’t go on until you acknowledge and heal from or get help with what you’ve been or are going through.” This is why depressed people can feel suicidal. They feel like the solution to all of the stress is to stop existing. I don’t take this lightly or say it without personal experience.
If you feel depressed and have considered ending your life to “solve” your problems or save yourself from the stress, I ask you to please share your problems. Call the suicide hotline at 800-273-8255, call a friend, call a coach, call a family member — just talk to someone. Tell them what you’ve been through and what you’re carrying.
Then go on a radical self-care spree. Your body demands care and attention. If you saw a baby bird cold on the street, near death, you would take it in, warm it up, feed it, and love on it. You would care for it until it was well enough again to fly off. You wouldn’t kick it out in traffic to die. Please give yourself the same love and care that baby bird deserves, because you deserve it too.
How Do I Know What I’m Feeling?
If you don’t know what you’re feeling, look to where you’re feeling it! Get grounded then do a full body scan and notice any sensations you’re feeling and note where. If you’re really in tune and trust your higher self, you can ask the sensation what it wants or what it has to tell you and you’ll hear the information you need.
Suppressed Emotions Affect Our Health
If you had parents that told you to stop crying or they’d give you something to cry about, chances are you’ve suppressed emotions. Just like they did as children. This isn’t just a parenting choice; this is a based on a lack of understanding of the human body. No animal suppresses their emotions. Have you ever seen a dog or horse after something stressful? They literally shake it off. That’s how they get the energy of the emotion they just used to act out of their body. No matter how much we pretend we’re different, humans are not immune to the energy of emotions. In fact, suppressing them ruins our immunity:
“Emotions are physiological phenomena. When poorly managed or regulated, they can lead to negative health and psychological consequences… It is important to acknowledge that feelings and emotions are not responsible for health disorders and sicknesses. Rather it is the protracted reliance on self-defense against the expression of emotions and feelings that creates the tension required for the disease to thrive. Conversely, the free and uninterrupted expression of emotion possesses clear and sustainable benefits for physical and mental health and general wellbeing. In fact, research on aging and longevity has demonstrated that psychological factors bordering on emotions are more important predictors of a long, healthy life than other factors like diet and activeness… Individuals who repress their emotions also suppress their body’s immunity.
“Studies of patients with serious medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, kidney failure, and obesity, reveals that those who do not comply with medical advice also show strong use of defense mechanisms”. Other findings have demonstrated that patients with cancer and other forms of malignancy that chronically mask their experiences and feelings are more liable to die despite treatments than expressive patients. Empirical evidence indicates a substantial reduction in pain and discomfort from arthritis following the expression of negative. As a matter of fact, the amount of relief from pain and discomfort reported by patients with chronic illness has been found to be commensurate with how able they are to deeply and authentically express their emotions and feelings… The body can hold information below the conscious level as a protective mechanism, so these memories tend to become dissociated.” – Patel, J., & Patel, P. (2019, February). Consequences of Repression of Emotion: Physical Health, Mental Health and General Well Being. Retrieved August 21, 2020, from https://openaccesspub.org/ijpr/article/999
And we can be triggered into feeling our repressed emotions just depending on the position our body’s in:
“Memories that are state or position-dependent can therefore be retrieved when the person is in a particular state or position. While the information is not available in the normal, conscious state, the body’s protective mechanisms keep us away from the position that our mind/body awareness construes as painful or traumatic.” (From J.F. Barnes’ “the Body Remembers”)
Emotions are stored in the muscles and fascia of our body. “Fascia is a sticky layer of tissue that coats your muscles, nerves, and organs,” according to Fitness Is My Life. You’re in a veritable cage of your past emotions, just waiting to be expressed. And you may not even know it if you experienced something particularly traumatic, where you may have left your body during the experience:
“During these times of trauma or injury, our fascia system stores a “holographic” image of our body’s position, complete with all the fear, anger, sadness, etc. that was present at that time. Sometimes, our consciousness actually leaves our body if the situation is too traumatic for us to handle as it’s happening (flight and fright response). That is why the fascia has often been called the “handle of the consciousness”. – Myofascial Release Center
And what’s worse, that emotional trauma actually keeps your body in position.
“The energy of the trauma is stored in our bodies’ tissues (primarily muscles and fascia) until it can be released. Yoga enters this twin “chemical-physical” emotional landscape and does something quite unique: it operates on the place where these emotions, experiences and traumas are often stored, our fascia. “Muscle is two strains of protein lined up together. And then this protein is wrapped in collagen, which is fascia,” explains Tanekeyeva… The current science understands that fascia responds to trauma, be it physical or emotional trauma. “Fascia is primarily made of collagen and is 70% water. And so what happens is that when fascia is traumatised, let’s say you hit it or there is an emotional trauma, your fascia dehydrates.” When this trauma-induced dehydration occurs, our fascia becomes less liquid and more gel-like, thickening and becoming sticky—as the theory goes.” – Elle Magazine
Psychiatrists Willhelm Reich, Alexander Lowan, and John Pierrakos developed Segmental Armouring Theory or Character Structures, or a set of bodily postures, muscular skeletal structuring, touch, feeling, and contact presentations to the world in Characterology. ” Most people exhibit at least one of these six patterns, with shades and overtones of the other structures,” according to Dr. Anodea Judith in her book, Eastern Body, Western Mind. They are:
A. Schizoid/Creative Character
There’s a split between mind and body that results from not feeling secure or safe in the world. People with this character structure are intelligent and highly creative. Their upper chakras are overdeveloped. Their issues center around the right to exist. (deficient 1st chakra)
Body Signs: Tension in joints, constricted, jumpy
B. Oral/Lover Character
People who felt deprived in the nurturing/nourishment stage of development can have this character structure. They are oriented toward emotional merging and giving. (excessive 2nd chakra, excessive 4th chakra)
Body Signs: Sunken chest, too fat or thin, pale, soft
C. Endurer/Masochist Character
This person was robbed of their autonomy, blocking their energy at the will. They tend to hold everything inside in a conflicting pattern of pleasing and resisting. They turn that blocked energy inward against the Self. Strong, loyal, and enduring difficulty well, they are referred to with the more positive Endurer structure. (blocked 3rd chakra)
Body Signs: Compressed, ass held tightly, jerky movement
D. Rigid/Achiever (also Perfectionist or Obsessional) Character
People with this character structure were wounded in the heart by lack of approval, so they focus their energy on achievement. They’re highly functional but often afraid of commitment, feelings of intimacy, and relationships. (deficient 4th chakra)
Body Signs: High head, closed heart, active pelvis, blocked middle
E. Hysteric Character
A variation on the Rigid/Achiever structure that occurs more often in women who aren’t afraid to be emotional. Their wounds and patterns are similar but where all the emotions are initially held back they later erupt with intensity. (deficient 4th chakra)
F. Psychopath/Challenger-Defender Character
Similar to the Endurer, this character structure also had issues at the will but they have an excessive rather than deficient energy here. This type is oriented toward power-over but they may defend the meek and challenge the strong. Their holding pattern brings energy upward in the body to the neck and shoulders. (excessive 3rd chakra, strong 5th)
Body Signs: Attractive, upwardly displaced, loose pelvis
“Character is the shell that energy leaves behind, as such it provides a house; but the shell, as we grow, becomes too small.” – John Conger