Emotions in the Body – an introduction

How emotions take effect and how this knowledge helps to handle them.

 

Everyone has experiences with emotions. More precisely, everyone has experiences with them before the mental is even able to name these conditions.

Of course, this leads to the question what emotions are to begin with.

Emotions always have something to do with pulsation and rhythm. Relating to the body, this means that all rhythmic, floating and pulsating processes are connected to emotions, such as breathing, blood which is pumped through the body, the craniosacral pump, digestion, tension and relaxation of the muscles and the movement of the cells themselves. This is one of the most basic functions of life. Just like a stone thrown into the water produces waves which disappear again with time, biological systems react similar to external influence. Whether a nervous system similar to a human’s is involved or not, doesn’t matter. Literally every animal, every unicellular organism, every plant and even solid matter is involved in the principle of stimulus and reaction. How this should be possible with solid matter? Throw a stone for example. What happens if it hits the ground? Its kinetic energy will be transformed, either through a deformation of the stone itself or of the ground it hits. Or, if both are “strong” enough to not show any visible deformation, the movement will be transmitted into a bouncing impulse. In the case of solid bodies, this is called an elastic collision. Simply said the stone, thrown on a hard surface, bounces off once more until it lies still. Now what does this have to do with emotions? No matter how hard both materials are, there will always be a small deformation, even if it’s not visible to the eye. This deformation instantly dissolves again if the material doesn’t get damaged. It can be compared to a trampoline you jump on. It deforms, gets charged with energy and after releasing this energy again returns to its original shape. What’s happening here is a pulsating process. The basic principle of emotions is therefore something much more fundamental than complex mental or neurological processes. Especially in this day and age this is important for people to realize. Emotions are real and very powerful. So again, what are emotions? Taking the last explanations into account we would have to argue that emotion doesn’t seem to be any special principle on its own within the body The answer is yes and no. What we call emotions, like excitement, fear, sadness, hope, love, etc. is a mental term for physical processes. A child which is happy or sad has these feelings but no words to describe them. An emotion is never a word. It is a vibration which we learned to mantle with one word, in order to talk about it with others of the same species and language.

What we call emotion is a vibration which embodies a particular principle and facilitates correspondent interaction and spreading of energy. Different forms of being have different possibilities to interact with these principles on a physical level. A human with its flexible body, can display different vibrations in physical expressions. However, the physically manifested vibration principles which we call emotions are subordinate principles of the universe and enable a multitude of forms for us to live with them in interaction. This means that, a feeling basically exists for a human as well as for a stone, but appears in different forms.

 

How does an emotion, or better said a vibration, which we name originate in a human?

Let’s say you are in a situation that “touches” you emotionally. This description is to be taken literally because your body reacts with its individual possibilities to external influences. It directly absorbs vibrations from the surroundings, or respectively receives signals through its sensory organs. This influence can be physical or energetic (we receive many impulses out of the electromagnetic spectrum of which we can only perceive a fraction with our eyes but much more on a physical cellular level). The cells react first and change their own pulsation rate, the elasticity of the membrane changes and the communication between cells, electric as well as biochemical, is strongly weakened, paused or intensified. Let’s take fear as an example. Everybody has already been afraid in their lives (actually, there is too much fear among people and our society these days). Fear contracts the body. The muscular tension increases and in intense moments leads to consequences which are often described with terms like “petrified with fear” and related expressions. Feeling petrified isn’t a psychological phenomenon but a physical. The communication between cells decreases, the cell-pulsation slows down and the surface of the cells becomes more rigid. Thereby, structure and movement become quite stiff and uncoordinated. These are reactions everybody of us knows from personal experience. If we look at the positive side, i.e. love or pleasure, the exact opposite happens in the body. The cellular communication improves significantly, the pulsation rate increases and there is a much higher flow of energy. This results on soft, reactive musculature with a good elasticity and hence, a lower risk of injury. The body and ones awareness are directed more to the outside in a more extroverted manner than in the example of fear.

Each emotion that can be differentiated is a definite, physically manifest reaction pattern which is named. Thereby, it is either our immediate reaction to a current situation or a vibration which we establish in ourselves through our minds, by pondering or remembering, which leads to a physical reaction. Of course, reactions of the body go much further than pulsation and communication. The hormonal system, the level of neurotransmitters and basic biochemical processes such as enzymatic processing of eaten food also show measurable and clearly differentiable changes.

The first parts of the nervous system processing emotion-specific changes in the body are not in the brain but in the highly complex neural web of the belly. In the area of the intestinal loops and the connective tissue of the stomach, is our emotional brain. Also in this case just think about the connection to our language use through expressions such as “that’s hard on my stomach” and similar, which gives an astonishingly accurate description of physiologically detectable processes. It is not until the next step that the information which has been pre-processed in the abdominal brain is forwarded to the brain where the mental analysis decides on how to react. Only now, patterns and what we’ve learned about socially acceptable behaviour become effective. A big problem of our time is that many people live in such an “adjusted” way that they have only little or no relation to the original trigger. Subsequently, they are caught in their own or society’s mental patterns. This limitation is not always beneficial, even if it’s clear that there has to be a certain amount of rules to make a social cooperation possible. In a healthy and positive interaction the framework is much wider than society, politics, tradition and parents often want to make us believe.

You might ask now what your emotional reaction depends on and if you react emotionally at all. The answer is variously shaped, albeit surprisingly simple. The reaction characteristics, i.e. which reactions take place so that we can describe them as love, happiness or sadness, etc., are always the same. Whether someone shows a stronger or weaker reaction depends on what they have already experienced and how much attention individual patterns have received in the past. If you’ve had especially intensive experiences connected to gratitude you will react different to certain situations than if you have intensive experiences with depression. The most often used path is also perceived the easiest. It has been proven neuro-physiologically that dealing with positive emotions leads to physical changes in the brain. It literally gets re-wired. Also the current condition of the body plays a role. A healthy and physically balanced person will mostly be able to deal with emotional impulses better than someone who has whatever kind of deficits or illnesses. Everybody knows the phenomenon that when they are sick they feel more vulnerable. Still, it is important to know that nobody has to be controlled by their feelings. Even physically disabled people can acquire adapted possibilities of contact. Many people with massive physical disabilities or illnesses who have an extremely positive attitude confirm it. Sometimes, also the inner survival mechanism strikes and pushes a person into the reverse extreme – in this case, confidence.

List of the most important, physical parameters which have an effect on the emotional reactivity:

  • general level of energy
  • lack of sleep
  • restricting clothes
  • restricting body position
  • freedom of breathing – the level of acidity in the body
  • diet
  • certain drugs or hormonal preparations
  • gridlocked thinking patterns
  • social do’s and dont’s, social imprints (“it’s not sociable to cry in public, etc.)

 

How this helps you to deal with emotions better

Let it be said again that nobody has to be exposed to their emotions. Often it feels like you don’t have a choice, but this isn’t true. It isn’t always easy to handle emotions, even if you may have already worked out a few ways to deal with them. But you can always do something.

To give further explanation let’s take the example of love and fear. Love in its free floating energetic aspect (not only romantic love) is definitely the most pursued emotion for most people. As already discussed, fear is the contractive, separating, introverting principle which generates a lot of friction and blocks movability. Since this also concerns physical conditions or, better said, physical reactions to an inner or external trigger, the body is also the area where an efficient solution can happen. If you try to control your emotions using your mind your effort is targeted to the wrong place. You will always only focus on the interpretation of a reaction instead of the reaction itself. The unconscious muscles of the body react to emotional triggers, long before the mental censor becomes active. In the case of the musculoskeletal system, however, the unconscious muscles close to the bones serve as precursor for the action through the conscious skeletal muscles. Only here, the mental interrupts the process where we think that for example a certain reaction isn’t appropriate in a certain societal group. What’s getting unnoticed here is that the unconscious muscles that aren’t controlled by socially imprinted patterns have already prepared for the movement. The consequences are inner tensions and, in the long run, disorders and shifts in the connective tissue. Hence, this process is one of the main reasons for age-conditioned restrictions in our modern society.

 

“Many people establish their own restrictions through a socially induced misuse of their emotional and mental habits.”

 

In the case of fear this means that it dissolves when you re-establish a free pulsation and comfortable vibrations in your body. The simplest ways to do so are going swimming, getting a massage (also from a massage chair), taking a bath in a jacuzzi, go into a sauna with moderate temperature, cuddling or getting stroked, going into the forest and exposing yourself to the sounds and scents of it and so on and so forth. Another radical possibility to wipe out fear is to focus on your exhalation. This works best if you sing. No matter what, no matter how false your singing may sound. Singing supports your exhalation and thus relaxes your body (more on that in the chapter on breathing).

For every emotional pattern there is a simple physical or emotional approach which is much healthier and more effective than only the mental taking over control. Sport is also a good option to keep the balance or to get emotions under control. In the best case you adapt the kind of sport and the intensity with which you practice it to the emotion which you are currently dealing with.

Emotional states are the basis of our existence and yet you shouldn’t forget that you are much more than your emotions. We are forms which consist of many functional layers and possibilities of interaction in order to be able to experience. We are never only our emotions or our minds or our bodies. They are merely parts of our whole conscious being, which constantly offers us multitude of options which often get too few attention, especially in difficult and urgent situations. Hence, this might be the most important hint in the whole article, because if you manage to stay aware of the principle “I am more” or to remember it during an urgent situation you are a huge step closer to the solution. Once you have realized that you are always free in certain parts you can also lead the rest of you to this freedom from there. It is up to you. It takes only a bit of training but you can do it.

There will be more articles that lead you into greater depth of understanding emotional principles and possibilities to deal with them in the near future, so stay tuned 🙂

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