Mind and Body

One theme which appears in the reports of many of my clients is that they do not always understand their emotions, and they do not realize how that lack of understanding can lead to unhappiness.

Men are especially likely to experience this lack of understanding. How might this be so? Is it possible that some people were born lacking the ability to feel an emotion? Did their upbringing teach them to ignore certain emotions, or to deny what they’re feeling? Or, did they learn to distrust their judgement, because they lacked confidence in themselves, generally?

A great number of people labor under misconceptions about the way emotions work. You probably know someone who believes the old adage that time heals all  wounds. That is not always true. Additionally, many people believe emotions are subject to analysis, as if an emotion is a question of reasoning; or as if an emotion could be right or wrong, appropriate or inappropriate. In one family therapy session, a domineering father said to his adult son, “Why are you so angry at me? You have no right to feel that way.” Another unhappy client told me, “I don’t know how I should feel about what my husband is doing.”

Such an approach is not only ineffective, it can be harmful. Students of human behavior agree that emotions require no justification – in other words, emotions are not right or wrong – and furthermore, that people have the right to express their emotions  respectfully. In fact, people who fail to do so are likely to experience a multitude of problems connected to internal tension and confusion.

Let’s look at one particular problem that can result from the inability to accept, to recognize, to feel and to express an emotion. It has to do with the body. According to reliable studies, unprocessed emotions do not merely go away. In many cases the negative energies of sadness, anger and fear, for example, can be transferred to and then stored in various parts of the body.

People who have auto-immune disorders such as asthma, irritable bowel disease and other maladies know this, and so do their doctors. Many of them report that stress makes their condition worse. It may be that, for some of them, stress worsens their symptoms because they have already stored up negative emotional energy in some part of the body: the muscles, glands, the gut, the neck, back or the respiratory system. Nearly every system in the body can be a depository of negative emotional energy.

Theories do exist regarding the places in our bodies where specific emotions are stored. They may be of interest, but your own experience is the most reliable guide to help you understand your personal mind-body connection. That is, how unwanted emotions have been stored in your body.

If you have experienced physical discomfort or disorders, and you also have a history of hurts, losses, financial setbacks or emotional trauma, it would be wise to listen to what your body is saying. If you’re not sure how to do that, you may benefit from consulting a professional. Often, when the emotional issue is resolved, the physical symptoms can subside or disappear completely. 

There are no guarantees, and there is no cure-all. However, if you’d like to know more, please reach out. The phone number is (219) 309-3928. I’d be honored to be of service.

Click here to learn how EMDR therapy can help.


Thanks for reading!