“Tell me, where does it hurt?” This is a common question, right? When someone isn’t feeling well, we want to know the source of the discomfort. We add up the symptoms to zero in on a diagnosis. Most times their suffering is the result of a virus or bacterial infection – nothing too serious, but do you realize that you can also suffer physically from emotional pain? We hold our emotions in our body, tucked away to be forgotten or dealt with at another time.
Like puppies and toddlers, our emotions can wreak havoc if left unattended for too long.
Do you push through your discomfort thinking that you can deal with all of that stuff later? I used to distract myself by over-doing. I was so busy that I didn’t have time to process my emotions. Some people self-medicate with shopping, sex and substances but my favorite method was to numb myself in busy-ness. An idle mind felt dangerous!!! I had no idea that I was setting myself up for a crisis!
Dr. Brene Brown, the guru of vulnerability and shame research writes in her book “Rising Strong” that we “off-put” feeling hurt at least five different ways,
Chandeliering means that you take it all in, bit by bit until one day you explode! There is no predictability to what may set you off. You hit the ceiling—you go from zero to sixty in record time! We walk on egg shells around these folks.
Numbing your mind, not just with food, substances and sex but with money, work , position and an “over-doing lifestyle” will mess you up too. You keep the exterior looking good but even on a good day, the interior resembles the West Bank.
Bouncing is another name for not letting yourself feel anything; you push it all away. Feelings are for the weak! What these people don’t realize is that they are smothering themselves in anger, blame and resentment while they keep pushing everyone and everything away, including happiness.
If I start to process my uncomfortable feelings, I might get stuck in that awful place. This is called “high centering”. You are out of gas. You can’t deal with the present AND you can’t move forward UNLESS you deal with the present.
If you are stockpiling emotions, one day your body completely shuts down. You successfully ignored all of the warning signs until finally, there is no more passing go to collect $200. You are spent, burned up and down for the count. You seriously hurt from all of the neglect.
This is not a hippie woo woo theory here!!!! For centuries Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) demonstrates the correlation between our emotional state and our vital organs. The Chinese Medicine Living website tells us that,
“TCM is all about balance and flow. Emotions that do not have avenues for expression and release can create disease and disharmony in the body manifesting as physical symptoms. So, it is very important to have a healthy emotional life, expressing your emotions freely and not allowing things to build up.”
If I could wish something, it would be that we start talking about mental/emotional well being as it connects to the physical body the same way we talk about cholesterol and high blood pressure. Let’s make it a normal part of the conversation pertaining to wellness! My bonus wish is that we all find the courage to pause and evaluate what we have going on in our life.
I endured many a crisis before my mind – body – connection severed. I could no longer put on a happy face and my thinking was a murky as my mood. After all, the body can only take so much abuse. I am blessed that with help, I was able to develop a recipe that works well for me. If I wanted to feel better, I needed to move my body, help someone (volunteer/acts of kindness) and write daily. Today this advice remains the foundation of my wellness program.
How does your body alert you that it is in trouble? Have you become so immune to stress that your mind no longer recognizes the hyper vigilant state? Fear of processing your emotions will lead to disease. Change your thinking and you’ll change your life.
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From the heart,
Editor’s Note: For an excellent overview of this topic, I recommend reading: https://www.chinesemedicineliving.com/philosophy/the-emotions