Mind-Body-Emotion Awareness: for your Better Wellbeing & Freedom from Pain
Our minds and bodies are intricately connected. Our thoughts & emotions create chemical & physical reactions which, if we notice, we can feel in our bodies.
However, most of us keep ourselves busy and distracted to avoid noticing or dealing with our many thoughts, memories, emotions - & these linked bodily sensations. Some of us have become so practised at this, we now really struggle to feel any associated sensations at all – even though these reactions are still occurring.
Our thoughts are highly influenced by:
i) our basic beliefs, eg from "I'm never good enough" to "I'll always be the best";
& ii) our understanding of the world around us, eg "it’s a scary place" - through to - "it’s full of exciting wonders & adventures waiting for me to explore"...
& the many variations in between, perceptions mostly formed by the time we’re 7 years old.
Our mind’s responses to this perceived world – of the people & the events, close by and afar - will be based on these deep beliefs: responses such as happiness, sadness, anger and fear.
As mentioned, these emotional responses create chemical & physical reactions in our bodies – instantaneously & mostly out of conscious control. For example, blood vessels in our facial skin dilate as we blush with embarrassment; our muscles tense when we’re angry or in fear; we laugh when we see something funny; and many of us shed tears when deeply saddened.
How often, though, do we do our best to push down our emotional responses because we deem it inappropriate to express them?
Over time, repressed emotions & tension build and eventually create symptoms - perhaps a headache, a back or neck ache, knee pain, heartburn, a cold, etc. Think back along your own life-timeline: you’ll probably discover the varying symptoms you had were preceded by an event or episode in your life which you perceived to be stressful - such as excessive workload, a difficult deadline, exams, financial issues, troubling neighbours, family illness or loss.
Such symptoms offer us a warning to make some changes, perhaps set better personal boundaries, to take more care of ourselves - mind & body.
Taking Better Care of You
By getting into the habit of pausing your daily schedule - to notice, acknowledge and allow yourself to feel in your body the emotional reactions to your world - you’ll help release the emotional energy & tension which you would otherwise ignore, and continue to bury & accumulate in your mind & body.
As you pause, take a few moments to focus on slow, deep breathing. Notice and feel any subtle tightness/heaviness/tension/tingling/etc anywhere in your body - perhaps in your chest, abdomen or shoulders. Allow yourself to also become aware of any emotion that arises.
Don’t try to change anything. Remind yourself you’re safe, that emotions & their sensations themselves cannot physically harm you. Just curiously observe whatever comes to your awareness - for up to 90 seconds. You’ll be helping the emotional energy discharge - and therefore also some of the cause behind your symptoms.
If this feels overwhelming to do, be patient with yourself, be compassionate with yourself. Just do a little, even just a few seconds, to start with. Over time, with practise, it’ll get easier. Over time, you’ll be gradually releasing years of buried emotional turmoil and therefore gradually relieving your persistent symptoms.
Building in fun downtime as well as daily quiet rest (not screen time) into your busy life, will give you the chance to notice what your mind & body’s trying to tell you - you need to take more care of you!