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Mapping Emotions On The Body

emotions healing mindset Dec 10, 2019
Close your eyes and imagine the last time you fell in love. Maybe you were walking next to your love in a park or staring into each other’s eyes over dinner.

Where did you feel the love? Perhaps you got butterflies in your stomach or your heart raced with excitement?

But sometimes we get overwhelmed by stress, tension, anguish, despair, and many other negative feelings that, without realising it, can hurt us both emotionally and physically, reducing our quality of life.

We should be clear that the body-mind connection is much stronger than we believe. Our thoughts and emotions can stimulate the production of certain substances that can affect our physical and emotional health. For example, serotonin and dopamine are two substances that our brain releases when we are happy. With negative emotions, a similar phenomenon occurs, but instead of doing good to our body, it can cause pain and numerous ailments.


 A study by Finnish researchers suggests that our emotions do indeed tend to influence our bodies in inconsistent ways.

Across five experiments, 701 participants “were shown two silhouettes of bodies alongside emotional words, stories, movies, or facial expressions. They were asked to colour the bodily regions whose activity they felt increasing or decreasing while viewing each stimulus.”

The emotions were generated by having the subjects read short stories or watch movies. On a blank, computerised figurine, they were then asked to colour in the areas of their body where sensations became stronger (the red and yellow) or weaker (blue and black) when they felt a certain way.

A few facts about this study:

They did find that these body emotion maps are the same across cultures. In other words, we feel fear the same way someone in East Asia or Western Europe feels fear. Here’s the academic jargon:

“These maps were concordant across West European and East Asian samples. Statistical classifiers distinguished emotion-specific activation maps accurately, confirming independence of topographies across emotions. We propose that emotions are represented in the somatosensory system as culturally universal categorical somatotopic maps.”

Most of the basic emotions had elevated activity in the upper chest area. The researchers guess this corresponds with changes in breathing and heart rate.

All of the emotions produced sensations in the head. This reflects that most emotions produce both facial expressions and mental reflection.

In the emotions that typically have an active response, there was sensation shown in the upper limbs—as if the body was getting ready to act.

Depressed emotions like sadness and depression had a decrease in limb activity. I believe there is no coincidence that people who are sad and depressed have a lack of motivation to do anything—the lowered activity in the limbs reflects this.

Happiness was one of the few emotions that was felt throughout the body…one of the reasons happiness is so exhilarating, it literally lights up our whole body.

Just as we experience positive and happy moments, part of living also consists of facing moments that test our strength and our ability to control our emotions. To cope with sad thoughts, it is very important to learn to see the positive side of each experience, however difficult and insurmountable it may appear.

Every day when we get up it’s important to “program” body and mind in order to face a new day. It is important to start the day with high doses of positivism and to try to see the positive aspect of things, even if it seems difficult.

When negative thoughts try to control our life and our health, we need to take a few minutes to reflect and meditate on whether it is worthwhile to waste our energy on such thoughts. This can help us to switch the mindset from letting ourselves be dominated by these emotions, to wanting to change our lives and look for solutions so that this negativity does not compromise our quality of life.

It is scientifically proven that positivity releases hormones responsible for strengthening our immune system. In the same way, negative emotions can cause a weakening of the immune system, making our body more inclined towards diseases.

  Are you ready to start your healing journey today? Start HERE.Love, Carlotta

 

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