Where do you Store your Emotions?

It may surprise you that emotions are not the sole product of your brain, but are expressed, experienced and stored in your BodyMind, and these emotions can be triggered through body work, meditations, breathing, spiritual practice and many other diverse psychosomatic modalities. Use one you like, or learn something new, as a vehicle to better emotional expressivity and health.

We all have painful memories – failure, disappointments, suffering, loss – hidden away or suppressed- in our BodyMinds, to be retrieved, reformed, and released, or ignored and left to fester, wounds that never heal. What John Upledger called a “somato-emotional cyst”.  A primitive body defense response in which the injury, and the emotions therein encoded, are walled off from the rest of the body, and never truly resolve.

It’s amazing to think of our glands, organs, tissues and cells as storage places for emotion and memory, yet this was given explanation through the scientific research of Dr. Candace Pert, a neuropharmacologist who worked at the NIH and Georgetown University Medical Center.  Candace famously stated that “Your body is your subconscious mind. Our physical body can be changed by the emotions we experience.”[1] . Dr Pert explains:

“A feeling sparked in our mind-or body-will translate as a peptide being released somewhere. [Organs, tissues, skin, muscle and endocrine glands], they all have peptide receptors on them and can access and store emotional information. This means the emotional memory is stored in many places in the body, not just or even primarily, in the brain. You can access emotional memory anywhere in the peptide/receptor network, in any number of ways. I think unexpressed emotions are literally lodged in the body.  The real true emotions that need to be expressed are in the body, trying to move up and be expressed and thereby integrated, made whole, and healed.

Dr. Pert says “Let the emotions bubble up. Let the chips fall where they may…the process of catharsis is not complete without saying things as the first step to experiencing things…To feel and understand means you have worked it all the way through. It has bubbled all the way to the surface. You’re integrating at higher and higher levels in the body, bringing emotions into consciousness. Once integrated, the natural wisdom of the receptors ( a take on Walter Cannon) will release interrupted healing and restorative and regenerative processes can take over.”

“By simply acknowledging emotions, they are expressed. In being expressed, emotions can be released, even old emotions stored in body memory.  Allowing my emotions to surface into awareness and to be able to name my emotions is the beginning of emotional exploration.  I am moving forward, trying to find my position within the family, within the community, and in life.”

[1] “Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine”, Candace Pert.
http://candacepert.com