Using Your Body to Express More Than Emotion

Have you ever heard a child complain of a stomach ache when they’re actually anxious about going to school? From a young age, we learn to use our bodies to express emotion. Take this story for example: A young mother witnesses her child fall and cut his leg on a rock. Of course, the mother’s first instinct is to care for the child and tend to his wounds. However, as soon as the wound is dressed and the child is calmed, the mother is overcome with emotion and begins to have stomach cramps. She runs to the bathroom with diarrhea. Worry can make a situation larger-than-life. Diarrhea is the body’s way of cleansing these emotions so the body can regain balance.

Whether stomach aches and diarrhea, or headaches, indigestion and back pain, we often use our physical bodies to express what we’re feeling and are unable—or unwilling—to communicate. Our minds rush to create physical symptoms to help tell the story of what we are experiencing. Sometimes, this happens subconsciously, without our full awareness.

How do you use your emotions to communicate? Try this experiment: For the next two weeks, track your emotions in a journal. Simply write down a short description of a situation, like “parking lot scuffle” and the emotion you experienced, like “frustration”. Then jot down any physical responses you may have had, either right then or after the fact. Begin to make the link between body and mind, physical “message” and emotion. After the two weeks, look over your notes. What are the connections?

Emotions are closely linked to the energetic functioning of our organs. Liver Qi works to process stress, anxiety and frustration. Stomach Qi digests not only food, but worry and all of our life encounters. Lung Qi processes grief and Kidney Qi processes fear. Heart Qi conducts all of these energetic frequencies to help maintain peaceful balance and harmony within the body. Looking at it from this perspective, it’s easy to see how these energetic vibrations can translate into physical responses.

When we experience an emotion or a physical response to an emotion, our bodies are communicating with us. So instead of using your body to express your emotions, why not use it to express your gifts? Each one of us has a bevy of gifts to share with the world. Imagine if instead of showing worry, fear, anxiety and frustration on our bodies, we showed perseverance, enthusiasm, confidence and gratitude. What a difference this would make in our lives, and what an amazing lesson this would be for our kids!


Learn More!

How do your emotions create commotion? Read more here.

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