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Physical vs Emotional vs Physical

I have been astounded by how much we can change our emotional behaviours through physical stretching, massaging, and manipulation. It’s obvious to lots of us that if we have aching legs from physical activity it makes sense to soak in a warm bath, massage them, or stretch them gently to ease in a bit of movement. But what if the same kind of physical care could ease out tension in your emotions? Well it can.


Do you ever feel a surge in your body when you become cross, anxious, sad, or delicate? Does your head ever feel like it’s going to explode? Maybe you feel your face go red, or your hands tense up. Does your body lose strength and what you’d really like to do is collapse in a heap on the floor? Do you ever get a surge of pressure from your chest up into your throat? Feel your throat constricting?


These are all physical indications of emotions, signs that your brain is working. It’s the thought processes in your brain firing up your nervous system, which is sending messages around your body to take action. What action does your body want to take? Explode, fight, collapse, cry? And where do you feel it? Head, hands, legs, throat?


The magic is – if you can notice which part of your body feels physically uncomfortable when you have a certain or frequent emotional reaction, you can start taking physical care of that part of your body and, believe it or not, that emotion will begin to soften and fade away from your life. If your head wants to explode – give it a massage. If you feel your hands tense up, then do some hand stretches. It doesn’t need to be at any particular time, though when you feel them tensing is definitely a good one. It doesn’t need to be fancy, it’s just about easing out the tension in whatever way occurs to you, like spreading your hand as wide as you can. If you feel like you want to collapse then can you let yourself do that, either in the moment or later on? And once you have, can you ever so gently, so gently, start bringing a little movement and life back into your body? If your throat constricts – stretch your throat, tilt your head back as far as is comfortable so the muscles around your throat stretch.


Does it seem crazy to you to suggest that specific, tailored physical care of your body will ease your strength of emotion? That massaging your head will increase your clarity and calm? Stretching a tense hand will ease anger out of your life? Softly bringing movement to your still body will help you be empowered? Or stretching out your throat muscles will reduce how often you feel like bursting into tears? Well, give it a try.

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