Have you ever experienced physical pain or discomfort with no apparent physical cause? For example, dreading doing something and after thinking about it for a while, having a headache or stomach upset? What we experience as physical pain in the absence of any injury or physical cause may stem from our emotions. Our thoughts and feelings are so powerful that they can manifest in our body. We become aware of this process when we feel discomfort. Emotions somatized can actually be the cause of our organs and systems not functioning properly.
Some examples of how emotions can manifest in the body:
- Anxiety/Fear may be experienced in the body in many different ways. Often these feelings will affect the adrenal gland and the kidneys. Of course they can affect other parts of the body as well.
Possible causes: Lacking in confidence and security. If you dispute irrational thinking and keep your thoughts in present time rather than negative futures, you will eliminate anxiety and fear from your life.
- Sadness often will affect the heart and the thymus gland.
Possible causes: Holding on to negative experiences, the inability to “let go.” Letting go of negative thoughts and past experiences will allow joy into one’s life and sadness will shift. Refer to the post Letting Go for more on this.
- Depression often will affect the way we think, our head and brain.
Possible causes: A need for acceptance, self-consciousness; unable to see path; over-thinking or over-feeling with the perception of having no choice in life. Truly accepting yourself with all of your flaws and strengths decrease your need for outside approval. Practice seeing yourself as one with infinite possibilities.
- Grief often will affect the liver, gall bladder and can cause many other challenges in the body.
Possible causes: Denying and/or not releasing grief,
- Anger often will affect the liver, which cleanses our blood and stores our emotions.
Possible causes: Not releasing anger, bitterness, or resentment; not allowing forgiveness. By acknowledging experiencing, honoring and releasing these negative feelings you will be free of anger and able to allow joy in.
- Stress in general can affect all organs, depending upon the person.
Possible causes: Imbalance in one or more aspects of life. Refer to the post, Life Balance, for more information and how to create balance.
- Feeling stuck or confusion usually affects the throat area.
Possible causes: Having something to say but fearful to speak the truth, which results in feeling “stuck.”
Can affect: Gall bladder (for example, gall stones). The gall bladder acts as a passage from the liver to the small intestines.
Possible causes: Self-resentment, not allowing yourself to speak your truth.
Areas of the body that can alert us to emotional causes of pain:
- Left side of body – represents feminine energy. Ask yourself are you denying your feminine qualities or ability to receive.
- Right side of body – represents masculine energy. Ask yourself are you denying your masculine qualities or ability to take action.
- Lungs – might indicate an inability to speak one’s truth.
- Abdomen/gut – caused by the unconscious taking in of other peoples’ emotions.
- Shoulder issues – the feeling of being overburdened by the challenges of others.
- Hips – the feelings of insecurity and fear create the inability to move forward.
- Knees – the lack of self-respect, often is the cause of knee issues.
- Lower back – resentment rooted in the belief, that there is no one to help you and your burdens feel too great.
- Cervical spine (neck) – linked to the inability or fear of being flexible in life.
We can use the presentation of symptoms to check in with ourselves and ask whether the pain or discomfort we are feeling could have an emotional cause, rather than a physical cause. Spending some time on releasing heavy emotions can help lessen—or completely resolve—physical symptoms.
- Meditation or yoga to quiet the mind and provide a sense of grounding, lightness, or peace.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (known as EFT or Tapping), which involves tapping your fingertips on pressure points on the face and body to release emotions.
- Journaling. The simple act of recording thoughts and feelings on paper can provide awareness, release, and resolution.
- Counseling. Sometimes, just having an impartial person to hear you can provide great relief.
- Coaching. Sometimes in combination with counseling, coaching will teach you the action steps you want to move forward.