We hold huge amounts of repressed or denied grief, anger, trauma, memories, or emotional pain deep in the cells of our body, and every so often they make themselves known, as in an aching lower back or migraine headache.
“I try to just notice myself, without judgment,” says Christine Evans in Your Body Speaks Your Mind: “I notice that I feel sick when my ex-lover rings, or sad when my lower back is massaged. I notice the area between my shoulder blades that aches when I’m tired or feeling tense. I notice that the sick feeling, the retching and vomiting, is about not accepting how I really feel and not believing that I have the right to feel whatever it is.”
Become aware of the physical effects in your body of different situations, thoughts or feelings. As you do this, you will see how closely all the different parts of your being, both physical and psycho/emotional, are interwoven.
What happens when you are irritated or frustrated
If you are stuck in a traffic jam, a client is late for an appointment, or the children keep interrupting your conversation, what happens to your breathing, or your shoulders, or your stomach muscles? Does your breathing get short and shallow? Does your stomach tighten?
Observe anxiety reactions
What happens when you are worried or anxious about something, perhaps a child who is late coming home, a presentation you have to give, or the results of your partner’s blood test? Where do you hold the anxiety? What physical effect does it have? Do fears about the future create a pain in your stomach? Or does your back always ache in the same place?
Watch how you feel when anger abounds
If your boss or your partner shouts at you, what happens to your heart, your head, or your insides? What do you do with angry feelings? Do you bury them inside? Is your headache because of unexpressed anger? Do you swallow hard, get a sore throat, clench your teeth, or get constipated?
Observe how memories affect you
What happens if you recall past memories? Do you feel warm and relaxed, or do you break out in a sweat and feel nauseous? Pay particular attention when you recall unhappy memories, perhaps when a parent hit you or you were bullied at school. As you follow these memories, watch where in your body there is a reaction, a tightening or nervousness.
Analyze illnesses and injuries
Think back to past illnesses or times when you were hurt. Note the parts of your body that were involved. Have you always held your stomach muscles tight? Have you always had recurring headaches? Have you always hurt on the same side of your body?
Understanding how you hold issues or feelings in your body enables you to focus on their release. For instance, if you tighten your stomach muscles as a way of holding your feelings back, then you can acknowledge those feelings as you also consciously relax your belly.
Find the feelings and the pain that happen together. Accept and release the feelings and you will be freeing the pain. If you feel as if your body is a stranger, this is the time to make friends with yourself.