A question I get asked all the time is “Can emotions get stuck in the body and if so how can I move them out?” The short answer is yes, I believe our bodies carry our stories, told and untold. These stories can be layered, messy, beautiful and difficult to understand with our minds.
I believe our bodies carry whatever we haven’t processed; emotions are stored as physical sensation. Stories and beliefs are stored in our reactivity when we contact the sensations.
You know that corny saying you have to feel it
to heal it? It’s true.
However I don’t believe you don’t HAVE to sit crying or yelling on a therapist’s couch to FEEL whatever it is your body has been storing for you (though therapy is great, having a physical approach to releasing all of the stuck stuff from your body is a critical part of the process and in my experience almost totally replaced the need for therapy).
Sometimes the story is as simple as having knee pain while hiking without proper glute activation, or as complex as unhealed childhood trauma manifesting as digestive issues or TMJ.
If your container is full, you’ll most likely be
experiencing some kind of systemic tension.
Whatever your container (your body) holds, the steps to understanding and working with your pain have a similar starting point. One of the best things you can do is “release” the sensations/stories/emotions through the neuro-fascial system. Instead of using your foam roller to “release fascia” today, try something different to produce a different result:
Go place your weight on a foam roller (or lacrosse ball, softball, etc) for at least 30 seconds or a minute. Feel the sensations that arise; notice your reactivity; get curious about what’s happening! Practice “feeling it to heal it” – simply be willing to feel the sensation…the rest will take care of itself.
In my experience, fully acknowledging what your body is holding before attempting to move it out is essential for your efforts to become permanent. The great thing is, you don’t have to acknowledge it with your mind (though you can if you want to or feel you need to), all you have to do is feel your body, your sensations, your instincts and relax into them enough that they feel validated.
Go give this a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
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