Beliefs and emotions in the body
Your thoughts may become embedded physically or stuck as emotions in the body. Thoughts are powerful. And mindfulness is a vehicle to change them. As Louise Hay says, “Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back. What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us.”
Your body reflects your negative self-talk: sometimes by contraction, making yourself small; sometimes by inflation, puffing up. Some people thicken, create layers of guarding and protection from people, feelings, or perceptions in the past. Or you may resign yourself to collapse, when you give up. Some people unconsciously choose illness or injury that makes it safe to receive care from others instead of facing unbearable emotional pain alone.1 Your body is the receptacle for the unconscious. But you can wake it up and solve those childhood habits that kept you safe at one time.
The experience of safety is mostly a perception. It is relative to a perception of threat. If you expect safety from your environment, it brings up fear when the environment changes. Then fear inhabits your body as stress, saps your energy. Or, you may tighten with tension to keep anyone from knowing how unsafe you feel inside, or generate anger in response to what you perceive as a threat. But there is no need to be a helpless victim. Integration Massage specializes in helping you reclaim control over your body and regain choices in how you show up.
How Do Emotions in the Body Show Up?
You may ask, how do I represent myself to the world? Do I still carry the sense of “not good enough” from childhood? Emotions in the body may show up as contracted or expanded posture1. Do you still believe that you are worthless, and heave yourself like a sack of potatoes? Do you shrink from criticism of a voice from the past you still hear echoing within? Tighten your shoulders to protect your heart?
How do you show up? Do you create current pain with a rounded back, and a sunken chin, to avoid being noticed? Do you instead hold the belief that you are “a bad girl”, “never good enough”, or “a failure”? Where do you hold the belief that you “can never do it right”? How do these beliefs show up—as a turtle shell, as pelvic contractions, or as a puffed up chest of armor? Do they show up as weight gain to avoid feeling pain, or to keep others at a distance? How does this body language attract the same experiences you once had, and maintain a perception of safety just because it is familiar?3
It hurts to hold on to old patterns
Do you create constant knee pain and foot injuries to have a reason to not move forward in life? Or shoulder injuries from bearing the burdens of the world? Perhaps you need to keep a straight face, and hold your feelings in, to prove you are not a cry baby? Or, if you once felt betrayed, “stabbed in the back”, does your posture keep you closed to new experiences?4
How would you rather hold yourself? Tension creates a direction of movement. In conflict do you “back down”? Do you “hold back”? Would you want to stop “putting yourself down”? Would you you want to get rid of the “pain in the neck” or “pain in the butt”? When you become conscious of how you hold tension, you can make new choices. You can regain voluntary control over muscles you have forgotten. However, that may bring old beliefs up to the surface. You can then examine what comes up, with loving, compassionate awareness, and move differently.5
As you consciously reclaim your body, it changes what you feel. You become more present to yourself and loved ones. Your emotional reactions become more in line with who you are, and how you want to live.6 And, it’s not just the body that changes. You also stimulate new circuits, new brain pathways.7 This is the basis of voluntary neuroplastic changes. The magic is that as you recognize emotions in the body, and free up your body from habitual contractions, your beliefs and old tapes change as well. Welcome to a new you!
Call me for questions, 503-708-2911, or schedule a Body-Mind healing session with Integration Massage using the purple “Schedule Appointment” button in the upper left corner of this page.
References and Recommendations for Further Reading
1 Keleman, Stanley Emotional Anatomy and Your Body Speaks Its Mind
2. Stone, George C. Health Psychology: A Discipline and a Profession; and Health Psychology-A Handbook: Theories, Applications, and Challenges of a Psychological Approach to the Health Care System
3. Borysenko, Joan Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
4. Levine, Peter A. In An Unspoken voice: How the Body Releases Trauma and Restores Goodness
5. Baniel, Anat Move Into Life. Feldenkreis, Moshe Awareness Through Movement
6. Hay, Louise You Can Heal Your Life “Life is really very simple. What we give out, we get back. What we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us.” –Louise Hay. Also, Hay, Louise The Power Is Within You
7. Cozolino, Louis The Neuroscience of Human Relationships