During a distressing event, the nervous system goes into survival mode, activating the sympathetic nervous system to release stress hormones and to prepare the body for fight or flight. Once the event or trigger is over, the body relaxes and hormone levels return to normal. On the other hand, when recurring distressing emotions or thoughts provoke the sympathetic system, stress hormones are released constantly and over a longer time, increasing blood pressure and blood sugar, which can in turn reduce the immune system’s ability to heal. Physical symptoms such as pain and discomfort emerge due to dysfunction within the nervous system. The body is still physically holding on to the emotional distress and it may show up as physical pain.
There are clear and obvious causes for certain physical pain and discomfort. If you slipped on ice and hit your back and now your back hurts, the cause is evident. However, if you are dealing with a chronic complaint that seems to come and go without rhyme or reason, perhaps there is a deeper issue. If you have been experiencing chronic physical pain or discomfort, start to notice if it appears or intensifies as certain emotions or thoughts are experienced. When some people experience a disturbing thought or emotion, physical sensations of tightness, stiffness or pain will be felt within the body. The body may be responding physically to emotional or mental stresses. Simply acknowledging that there may be an emotional trigger to the physical issue may initiate the process of letting go.
Your body responds with physical or emotional pain when it is holding onto something distressing. Letting go is a conscious decision to free yourself of something that no longer serves you. Only you can determine when you are ready to let go. With your eyes closed, recall an emotional experience that is causing you discomfort. Notice if bringing on this emotion causes tension or pain anywhere within your body. Simply watch to see what happens to your body. When you find a place of uneasiness, just breathe slowly and deeply directing your attention to the uneasiness. This simple exercise will bring awareness of the physical response to an emotional issue. When you feel ready, remind yourself that this is emotional baggage that you are ready to let go of.
If the body is “stuck” in a defensive state as a result of a prolonged stress, it can impact you physically. Communication between the brain and the body is hindered when the body is unable to effectively transition from stressful sympathetic activity to a more relaxed parasympathetic activity.
At BodyMind Wellness Studio, NeuroStructural Optimization addresses the nervous system to allow the body to better communicate with the brain. When the body is better able to interpret and adapt to their current circumstance, a greater sense of awareness is attained. The body is better equipped to determine if it is holding on to something it no longer needs.
Freeing yourself from the hold of an emotion opens you up to the present and all the happy and fulfilling experiences that come with it.
“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” (Charles R. Swindoll)
Copyright 2023 Dr. Julie Doobay