How to Let Your Emotions Work For You
Did you know that your posture, your health and your emotions are intimately linked?
Would you like to "hack" your emotional system to be able to express more of your human potential?
Well if you are saying yes! Then read on!
There are a number of brain-spine feedback loops that involve our emotional state and our posture. When we experience an emotion, let’s say sadness, your brain sends messages down the spine to create a posture of sadness. We droop our shoulders, stand a little less tall, and maybe hang our head forward some. Actors use this consciously to portray an emotion on the screen. It’s obvious in a movie when a character is feeling sad even though they aren’t overtly saying “I am so sad” and it’s not only the sad music that tells us. It’s how they are standing and moving as well as facial expression.
The advantage to having your posture and emotions so intimately linked is that we can fully experience an emotion through our whole body and gain the wisdom from it. Then take any required action for the situation. This is the purpose of emotion from a physiological viewpoint. To build the energy required to take action on our assessment of the world. Emotions and their posture last 2-3 minutes allowing us to figure out the situation and make a change or integrate new information.
Where we get into trouble with our emotions and our posture is when we can’t or won’t fully experience the emotion in real time. A lot of the time we are at work or don’t want to let on that we are experiencing an emotion. Ever find yourself in a work situation where all of a sudden you are really angry but you can’t get angry at work!
So we stiffen up and hold it in and maybe even feel a little nauseous. Instead of your body doing what it naturally wants to do and express and dissipate the anger followed by action, we hold it in and part of our body, especially the spine, tightens up. Over time we get tighter and tighter and more and more inflexible until one day we get some low back pain or perhaps headaches that just came on for no reason. We replay situations over and over in our heads how she shouldn’t have said that to me and get ourselves upset all over again. This only serves to tighten your spine up over and over again. Your brain thinks the emotional situation is happening repeatedly. We then develop long-term postural dysfunction that causes its own problems and pains. Down the road, your spine will start to develop osteoarthritis or muscle imbalances causing an increased susceptibility to injuries and chronic pain.
The good news is that there is something we can do about it in the moment right now! Express the emotion as soon as you can after becoming aware of it and move your body to express it as well. Go to the bathroom and be angry! Clench your fists! Shake them in the air! Don’t tell yourself the story of it, just feel the emotion for a minute or so (time yourself – a minute is actually a long time) and then take some deep belly breaths to reset your nervous system and identify a needed action for the circumstance. Use the energy of the emotion to make a change in your life. Emotional energy can even be used for unrelated changes like starting an exercise program! Also, the more flexible and optimized your spine and nervous system are as a baseline the more often you will be able to allow negative emotions to move through you quickly. You will be able to sustain positive emotions like bliss, happiness and gratitude for longer.
Use the energy of your emotions to change your life!
In my office I help my practice members express more of their potential and the ability to have their emotions work for them through neurostructural optimization with Network Spinal Care. For more information, please check out my website.