Besides responding to the cues to eat or sleep, have you listened to your body lately?
Your body holds the keys to unlocking your greatest potential, all you need to do is listen.
Think back to the last time you were overcome with emotion, how did it feel in your body?
Did your heart rate change, was there a tightness in your throat, did your hands sweat, did your body start to shake? How did the emotions show up in your body?
Emotions get processed in the limbic system of the brain, when we feel something the limbic system releases chemical messages to the rest of the body. Our body then responds to the chemical messages with a specific physical reaction. For example, when we feel stress our brain will cause the release of adrenaline and cortisol, which will trigger a variety of physical reactions; increased heart rate, changes in breathing, digestive upset, perspiration... etc.
How we respond to these physical sensations is entirely up to us.
We can surrender to them by bringing our awareness inward, focusing our attention on one sensation at a time, and using our breath to facilitate the calming of our body and the release of the emotion.
We can deny, ignore, suppress the sensations that are showing up, essentially trapping these unexpressed emotions and/or traumas in our body.
This is how illness is created.
Our bodies are not designed to store emotions, emotions are fluid, they are meant to move through us. When we resist feeling emotions as they present themselves we are choosing to carry them around with us, and every time a similar emotion gets activated and we resist it, it gets added to the pile of buried emotions.
Until eventually that pile, that we've been building for god knows how long, is full to the brim. Your body can only hold so much. Then when the tiniest little thing happens, activating those emotions, you either explode disproportionately to the event that triggered the emotion or you breakdown and lose all capacity to function, or you fall ill.
The point being, there is always a limit to what you can hold and the longer you hold onto things the more dramatic or painful the eventual release will be. So practice letting go as emotions show up. Do this by listening to your body, it will guide you.
Next time you feel an uncomfortable physical sensation, sit with it. Close your eyes and bring your awareness to the discomfort. Don't analyze it, there is nothing to figure out, just breathe into it, until it starts to move and eventually release. It may move with tears or talking or your body may shake or you may feel the urge to write or laugh or dance.
Just allow your body to do whatever it needs to release the emotions.
If you feel the urge to eat, to watch tv or to check your phone, try to resist those urges, they are simply distractions. Instead, stay with the sensations as they come up. You may move through several sensations, you may stay on one for a while, it may feel like it'll never move or release but it will, just soften your awareness, stay with your breath, invite movement and release.
This is why I love Yoga, especially an asana practice. It allows me to bring awareness to my internal body, to listen closely and breathe into whatever comes up.
I was completely overcome with uncomfortable physical sensations this week. An emotional soup that showed up as a low–grade headache that wouldn't go away and subtle nausea. As the week progressed the sensations got more acute and spread throughout my entire body until I couldn't tolerate them anymore. I was forced to pause from my busy life and tend to what was coming up. I had no conscious awareness of what triggered them, it felt like a slurry of old deeply buried emotions that were just asking to be released. All I had to do was make time to sit with the sensations and allow them to move through.
I started with a hot bath with 2 drops of doTERRA's proprietary blends; Console and Peace. Nothing like soaking in water to get you feeling more fluid. Then I climbed into bed with my journal. I closed my eyes and allowed myself to sink into the sensations in my body, particularly, the heavy–hearted feeling I'd been carrying around all week.
It wasn't until I started breathing deeply into the sensations that things starting to move, thoughts would trigger emotions that would allow for release; some crying, some journalling, and when it would subside I would come back to my breath, with the intention of moving more, clearing out all those old emotions, making space for new lighter sensations within my body.
We need to release before we can receive.
If you are wanting to bring more joy and lightness into your life, there is a good chance that you'll need to let go of some old negative emotions first.
Allowing yourself to sit with whatever is showing up in your body, bringing awareness to any and all the sensations you feel within, invites the opportunity to release blocked emotions, trauma, limiting beliefs, pain, grief, suffering of any kind.
Your body is always seeking balance. Your job is to listen, to pay attention to whatever sensations show up and make time and space to sit with them, to look inward and allow the healing process to unfold.
Every time you ignore these simple but powerful cues, you're trapping emotions in your body. Your body will hold on to whatever you ignore until it can't bear it anymore. The longer you ignore your body the more painful the eventual release will be.
This is a life long practice but like all practices, it gets easier with time. Eventually, you won't have a backlog of emotions all spilling out at once, you'll just be dealing with them as they show up, one at a time.
So, I encourage you to sit and look inward. Listen to your body, allow it to guide you back to a balanced state of wellness. It knows the way.