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4 Ways We hold Emotional Stress: Physical Toll of Emotional Stress

We can all relate to the feeling of physical stress in the body. That seems pretty apparent. So, what about the emotional stress that we experience? Where does that go?

For a long time, we have been aware that our emotions can have a physical impact on our bodies. When we feel anxious, we may experience butterflies in our stomachs. When we feel ashamed, our cheeks may become hot. When we feel excited, our entire body can feel buzzing or jittery. A study conducted in 2014 revealed that people from all cultures and languages share these bodily sensations when experiencing emotions. This suggests that the mind-body connection is biological and crucial for our survival.

Now, let's explore the four most common areas where emotional stress is often stored, and the reasons behind it:

1. The jaw: Head injuries often result in tension being held in the jaw. Similarly, chronically anxious individuals who suppress their emotions may experience tension headaches, grinding their teeth, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction. If you don't feel safe to speak up, it will load in the throat, neck and jaw.

2. The diaphragm: Suppressed emotions can cause the diaphragm to contract, brace, and tighten, leading to shallow breathing. Monitoring the quality and regularity of our breath can provide insights into the state of our nervous system. Holding the belly tight can also impair the ability to assimilate even the best of nutrition.

3. The Psoas muscle: The Psoas muscle serves as a vital connection between the torso and lower body. Its primary function is to flex the hip joint, as in running. It is also the primary muscle engaged during the startle response. Chronic contraction of the Psoas muscle often results in lower back and hip pain. Think of us creating a seat of emotion.

4. The pelvic floor/womb: The female reproductive system and pelvic floor are intricately connected to life and the associated emotions. This area can often become a repository for trauma and stress. From a young age, girls are taught to modify their posture, walk a certain way, and control their bodies. When combined with reflexive responses like the Psoas muscle, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and childbirth, it is understandable why women tend to store significant emotional stress and trauma in this area.

By focusing on relieving the nervous system and establishing new functional neural pathways, we can restore the body's health and function.

You can create a new story for your body to hold. When we are caught up, holding everything tight, it leaves you feeling exhausted and a general feeling of 'unwell'.

Though once you begin to address these tension patterns, it become more apparent that you can create the skills and strategies to find more ease, grace and flow from the nervous system to the rest of the body .... and even in your life.

The shape, tone and tension of your physiology reflects the shape, tone and tension of your life.

So, if making that change is important for you, then do your work to find a healing facilitator that will help you address, rewire and create less tension and more ease in your body and life.


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