Get Trapped In The Body
Did you know that some people with dissociative identity disorder, that’s what used to be called multiple personality disorder, so when they switch personalities their different personality states can have completely different physiology? Get Trapped in the Body Studies have shown that altered personalities may have different allergies, different blood pressure, and hormones, they may have different vision, one alter might need glasses when the core personality doesn’t, and they’ve been able to show through imaging that different personalities have different blood flow and activity in the brain.
Now they’ve compared that to actors pretending to have different personalities and they can actually see a completely different physical change in the bodies of these people with dissociative identity disorder than the actors. So this idea of the mind-body connection, our emotions and our mental state change our body’s physiology, this idea is not just some like woo like hippie idea, our emotions directly impact our body and our physiology and our body and our physical being, Get Trapped in the Body these can directly impact our brain and our emotions. In this video, you’re going to learn about the mind-body connection, the physical impact of emotions, and this is really important because if we want to change how we think and how we live our lives, we need to learn how to resolve emotions that get trapped in the body. This video is sponsored by Manta Sleep. Sleep is super essential for mental health and it’s how your brain resets for the day. A good night’s rest is essential for clear thinking and working through emotions. We’re going to talk about this later in the video, but when people with both depression and sleep difficulties solved their sleep difficulties in one research study 87% of them saw their depression symptoms resolve.
So prioritizing sleep is really essential to processing emotions. Manta makes these amazing sleep masks, they block out 100% of the light, while also putting zero pressure on your eyes. Seriously, they are so soft and super comfortable. The eyecups are also completely customizable so you can move them to fit your face, whatever shape your face is, and these can help you have an amazing night’s sleep. Get Trapped in the Body So check out the link in the description for 10% off your new favorite sleep accessory. Okay, so back to how emotions get stored in the body. Now back when I was in college I did something that inadvertently really hurt one of my best friends, she was super upset at me and she sent me a nasty email and I felt terrible about it. I became physically sick, my stomach hurt, I got diarrhea, I couldn’t sleep, my tear ducts opened up, my hands got cold and sweaty, and after a while, I was physically exhausted.
As part of my emotional response, I had a strong physical reaction. Now almost everyone has had this feeling after a strong emotional experience, but most people have zero education about what to do about it. Emotions are as much in the body as they are in the mind, but as you’re going to learn in my next video, strong emotions make it hard to think clearly. So if we want to learn to process through and resolve intense emotions, in my opinion, we have to learn how to soothe our body first.
So let’s look at how emotions show up in the body. Listen to some common phrases we use when we talk about how we feel- ‘my boss is a pain in the neck, my co-worker gives me a headache, my ex-boyfriend makes me sick to my stomach, I’ve got a broken heart, I’m so tired of dealing with this, he got cold feet, my heart’s pounding with excitement, that sent a shiver down my spine.’ So it’s common to think that emotions are in our heads, but we talk about them as being in our bodies. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses all have physical symptoms. So for example, take a look at the nine symptoms of depression. Now you only need five of these to qualify for a diagnosis, and four of the symptoms are physical.
Depressed or irritable mood, loss of interest or pleasure, weight loss or gain, difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much, feeling jittery or sluggish, fatigue, feeling worthless, decreased concentration, thoughts of suicide. We often think of depression as something in our mind but it’s just as much in our body. Many of your thoughts, emotions, and actions are rooted in a deeper part of your brain and body that is not a part of our conscious thinking process. So in the next chapter, you’re going to learn about the fight-flight-freeze response which comes from this deep knowledge that’s subconscious right? We have many more instincts that are also not part of our thinking reactions. Now take a look at this fascinating research that explored where people experience emotions in their bodies. In the comments section below, tell me about how you experience emotions in your body. Now while there is little empirical research demonstrating emotions and memories are stored in your body, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence.
People feel their emotions in their stomach, their glands, their heart, and their other muscles like thinking about your jaw how tense that gets when you’re stressed, or your neck or back pain right, and people feel their emotions and the impact of them throughout their body. There’s also very rigorous research showing the links between stress and physical illnesses like cancer, heart attacks, decreased immunity, and a bunch of other disorders we really cannot separate the mind from the body, they’re intricately connected. In a previous video, I said that allowing yourself to feel an emotion can’t harm you and I meant it. We can handle feeling an emotion, letting it pass through us, in fact, that’s the best option because as you’re going to learn in future sections it’s when we resist emotions that leaves them trapped in our bodies and that’s what makes us sick. And just because our emotions are in our bodies, and they do sometimes get stuck, that doesn’t mean they have to be trapped there forever. A growing field of research into body-based treatments is showing that you can treat trauma, anxiety, and other intense emotions through evidence-based bodywork, like somatic experiencing therapy or EMDR, so when we learn to notice the physical aspect of emotions, that gives us better insight into how to resolve them.
And not only does how we think to change how our body feels but how our body feels can change how we think. So just take a minute and think about like how your thinking changes when you’re tired for example, are you more irritable, are you more sensitive, are you more likely to catastrophize? What about when you’re in pain? People tend to be less patient and short-tempered and what most people don’t realize is that when their body is tense that can make them think in more anxious ways and feel more anxious about their emotions. The state that our body indirectly impacts our emotions. There are some simple physical changes we can make to improve our ability to resolve emotions.
So when we change our thinking or our emotions, we can also change our physiological responses. So if you’re dealing with anxiety you may learn the skill of not catastrophizing and this can help you feel calmer. This is called a top-down approach, but we can also take a bottom-up approach to improve our mental health by accessing our brain through our bodies right? What this means is that when you learn to calm your body, you can actually soothe the fight-flight-freeze response in your brain. You can create a physical-chemical change in your brain and this makes it easier to think more clearly and calmly. So let me give you a simple technique for doing just that, for accessing your brain through your body. So take a few long deep belly breaths. An easy way to do this is to just link your fingers together like this, put them on your stomach or behind your head, lean back in your chair, and breathe with your stomach coming in and out.
Now let’s focus on an area where you might be feeling a little bit of tension could be your neck or your back or your shoulders could be your stomach. For me, I’m going to use my shoulders. Now, my shoulders feel a little bit tense so what I’m going to do is I’m going to lean into that tension, I’m just gonna exaggerate that tension in my shoulders just a little bit like this and as I breathe out I’m gonna let my shoulders relax. And as you intentionally notice and change the tension in your body this sends a message to your brain that you are safe, it’s okay to relax, and this frees your mind to think more clearly.
So, small changes in our physical habits can
create big changes in our brain. We can release trapped emotions by moving our bodies. Now when I talk about trapped emotions, this is this there isn’t research yet showing empirical evidence that emotions are in our physical bodies, what I’m talking about is the experience we have of emotions, so what people feel in their bodies could be an expression of the learned reaction to threats that our amygdala is producing inside of our brain, but how people feel it is in their bodies. So in this section, the next five videos in my course, you’re going to learn how to improve your mental health by working with emotions in the body. You’re going to learn about the fight-flight-freeze response, how to turn it off, the two parts of your nervous system, and what to do if you’re stuck in the anxious part of your nervous system, and you’re also going to learn some practical skills for releasing that tension, and training yourself to relax, but to begin with there are some simple things that you can do that can make a huge difference for your mental health and honestly I think that taking care of your body is so essential for mental health that we’re working on this section before we’re working on the section on changing how you think.
a couple of small things you can do to directly improve your mental health. So the first one is to improve your sleep. Depression and anxiety and sleep issues are closely connected. In one study 87% of people with depression and sleep issues, when resolved their sleep issues their depression symptoms completely resolved. They no longer met the criteria for depression and there are some practical skills you can learn to improve your sleep, so check out my video on sleep hygiene, and I’ve got a couple of other videos on how to manage anxiety with sleep and things like that, so I have a whole sleep playlist, so check that out. Okay, the second one is exercise, right? Exercise has been shown to be as effective as antidepressants at treating mild to moderate depression and it’s super effective at treating anxiety too.
So check out my exercise handout in the resources section of the course. Number three- nutrition right? Our brain isn’t just a mind, it’s a five-pound chunk of fat, water, proteins, and other physical building blocks. So how we eat and what we eat directly impact brain functioning. My change of brain course goes into a lot more detail about physical changes that you can make to improve your mental health. A few more ways to improve your mental health through the body include- yoga, which according to Bessel Van Der Kolk, he’s the author of The Body Keeps The Score, yoga has been shown to be more effective at treating PTSD than any medication. Changing your posture right, and sitting upright can help you feel happier and more assertive. And smiling right? Smiling can sometimes make you feel happier, and in my opinion, most importantly, learning the skill to regulate your nervous system is really essential to learning how to manage mental health, especially anxiety and depression and you’re going to learn all about that in the next four videos, um yeah, I go into like a big deep dive on this.
Okay, there are also two really simple skills that can make a big difference in physical and mental calmness right? The first one is progressive muscle relaxation, and the other one is the body scan exercise. Both of these videos are on my YouTube channel, so check out the link right here I think. Okay, small changes make a big difference. Our emotions are stored not only in our brain but in our bodily responses. When we have a strong emotion, our body has a physical reaction. So emotions can seem trapped in our bodies when we have a chronic stress response or other hurts. So when we learn to soothe and relax the body and take care of the body, this helps the brain calm down and think clearly. Get Trapped in the Body Anything you can do to improve your physical health can improve your mental health. Is there one small change you can make now? It could be something as simple as cutting out caffeine or walking around the block a little bit more often or getting a little bit more sleep. Small changes like this can make a world of difference to your mental and emotional health.
Thank you for watching and taking care. This video is one skill from my 30 skill course- How To Process Your Emotions, where I teach 30 of the most essential skills for resolving depression, anxiety, and improving mental health. Get Trapped in the Body Emotion processing is an essential skill for working through intense emotions, but most people have never been taught how to do it. I’m putting every single main video lesson on youtube for the world to access for free. You watching these videos, sharing them, contributing to my Patreon, and my sponsors make this possible. If you would like to access the entire course in one place, ad-free, with its workbook, exercises, downloads, extra videos, live Q&As, additional short readings, and links to extended resources, the link to buy the course is in the description below.