The Role of Emotions in the Body
At some point in all of our lives, we will all experience the disconnection between the body (or heart) and mind. Unless you are a Zen Buddhist Monk, we are going to become unglued, unplugged, outraged or deeply saddened as a result of a situation in our lives. (I think this would happen even to the Monks). In part there is not a way to prepare for traumatic situations. What makes a situation traumatic is it is often unexpected and sudden. Often we do not possess the tools to know how to deal with extreme emotions, especially if it is the first time dealing with something that really shakes your core.
Our coping mechanisms are becoming more obscure in a society that interacts through text and emails. Basic communication skills are lacking in our social arena. The result creates more intense and extreme emotional reactions without any inward soul searching. The lack of comprehension in the area emotional wellness, creates pain and dysfunction not only in our personal lives, but in our bodies.
Prolonged extreme emotional pain can be described as the disconnection of the body and mind. The body begins dysfunctioning as the mind suffers. The same can be true with traumatic injury to the body as the physical pain effects the emotions.
If we observe the body in an emotional way, we notice the heart in the middle of the chest. “You have my heart”, “I give my whole heart to you” are examples of a full expression of love (personally I would not want anyone’s whole heart- they will need it in the future, but it is an endearing thought). This phrase of the heart exemplifies that the heart itself holds all the emotions of the body. Though this is true to a point, a more accurate point of view is that the heart governs emotions. As the ruler of emotions, the heart will be effected by ant and all emotions. A weak heart could mean weak control of emotions, or the inability to have sound boundaries.
All emotions are controlled by specific organs in the body. The liver holds anger and resentment, the spleen holds anxiety and worry, kidneys house fear and so on. The heart can be strong and a specific channel weak, making a specific emotion dominant. For instance, if a loved one passes away suddenly, the lungs take over and a sensation of grief occurs. This response is natural, expectant and healthy. However if the topic of this grief is not addressed at some point, the lungs will presently weaken and a person can continually experience the grieving process for an extended period of time. Though it is perfectly normal to cry and miss a person, they will react and feel as though it just occurred even if the event was decades ago.
The mind is what ultimately rules the heart. People often confuse the two- heart and mind. Our minds act as a mechanical type of process that is like a filtration device. When used properly, our mind can filter true from false using logic (or what some call wisdom). An emotional response is not always logical and is usually based on some form of instant gratification (the chemical affect of eating, feeling unsafe, sex or power). This is very important to understand because technically speaking, we can talk ourselves into anything based on our emotional wellbeing.
Example of Emotional Thinking: “I’m feeling very anxious this morning. I should be anxious because I have so much to do. I have to run errands all day, work all night, this house is a mess and nobody helps me. I probably won’t be able to fall asleep again tonight and tomorrow I will be tired and irritable. I cannot be tired and irritable tomorrow, I have my meeting. If I don’t get that promotion, I am never going to get ahead of the game? There is no way I can do this another year on this salary …gosh; I don’t know why I feel so anxious.”
Example of Logical Thinking: I have a busy day.
The mind is a powerful tool and when allowed to run wild, we create very elaborate stories that we believe is true. Though parts of the story can be true, the mind has the compactly to over exaggerate a story to make emotions feel “more real”.
As well as overstating emotions, our minds can under minimize how we are feeling. Denial is a powerful tool in the pursuit of not processing the emotional heart. “I’m great today! Everything is fine. I don’t have my rent money for the 3rd month in a row and I got an eviction notice. My car broke down, my partner and I split for good yesterday after 5 years. My mom called from the hospital and my dog was hit by a car. It is so wonderful to see you!” Seem farfetched? How many times in your day do you not deal with emotions that you are feeling because it is not convenient or comfortable? Again, we can talk ourselves into anything and become the master manipulators in our lives.
In Chinese Medicine, the connection, both literally and figuratively between the heart and mind is the throat. We can view the mind as heaven, as it is the highest organ to “heaven” or tallest point of the body. The body is considered earth, thus our feet being connected to the ground. The analogy of connecting heaven and earth, the heart and the mind is the throat.
Acupuncture has a set of points called Celestial Window points. These are also referred to as heavenly windows or ghost points on the body. There are 13 Celestial Window points on the body. 12 of 13 of these points are on the neck and throat region. The Chinese used these points for connecting the mind and body when disconnect occurred (extreme and prolonged emotional response, emotional disconnect and mental illnesses). These points allow the body to be grounded and give great clarity to the mind.
The throat has 2 major functions. It swallows and speaks. The physical function of the throat nourishes the body by being a passage of air, food and water. The throat allows the body to live by providing clear conduit to access the body. Directly under the throat is the heart, directly above is the mind. The throat provides “communication” between the two. Phrases like “swallowing your pride” and “stuffing emotions” are examples of the mind’s inability of not having a voice.
When we do not “voice our heart”, it causes many uncomfortable feelings that can allow us to “undermine” our opinions and thoughts. It affects both mind and body negatively. What most people have a difficult time determining is what is true? Is the story my mind told me true or are my emotions true? Both. It is the mind’s job in determining rational thoughts from logical ones. It is the body’s job to dysfunction in specific ways when these emotions are not being addressed.
When the mind and body are disconnected to will reveal in vivid dreams and nightmares, heart palpitations, digestive issues such as acid reflux and/or loose stools, irritability, night sweats, issues swallowing (like something is lodged in the throat), panic attacks, frequent urination, nausea, vomiting, dizziness. Extreme cases of disconnection of the mind and body result in manic behaviors, inappropriate behavior, complete lack of boundaries, obsessive compulsive behaviors, bipolar, stroke or TIAs and unhealthy decisions over prolonged periods of time.
Both acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are great tools to help reconnect heaven and earth. By allowing the neck and throat to release, the mind is able to process what the heart is communicating. 'm a paragraph. Click here to add your own text and edit me. I’m a great place for you to tell a story and let your users know a little more about you.
Connecting the Heart and Mind