Emotional Release Series: PHYSICAL EXPRESSION

Figure 15 from Charles Darwin's The Expression...

Ok guys.  The series was getting a bit long so I am lumping a few together here =)

Physical expression is a primary way of releasing or resolving our emotions.  Emotions are energy.  They need to be expressed in one way or another.  Whether this means sitting in your body and causing “dis-ease” or being expressed constructively is up to us.  The problem often actually lies in the mind.  A lot of us had trauma growing up or were raised with faulty belief systems.  Look around at the advertisements and marketing.  Much of it plays on people’s fears.  We have airbrushed supermodels and actors.  We are usually taught that “good enough” is not really “good enough” and that there is always better or something more to achieve.  Changing some of these mindsets is often critical to achieve lasting results.  It is definitely important to EXPRESS your emotions, but it may be even more important to change our mindset.  So how do we physically express our emotions?  We have already talked about journaling and art.  These are more about putting your thoughts or feelings onto paper.  They are excellent for figuring out HOW we feel about things.  They can help us understand what we need to work on more.  They can help us grieve.  But what about the powerful stuff?  What about the rage?  The fear?  Sometimes emotions are so powerful that they like having other modes of expression.  Each “negative emotion” is an expression of fear, but I believe those fears can be broken down into a few subcategories.  Let’s take a look.

PLAIN FEAR:  Plain old fear.  This can be fear of physical or emotional things.  This can mean the fear of a near-death experience.  It can be the fear of getting in front of a class and speaking.  It can be fear of any type.  In chinese medicine, fear is stored in the kidneys/adrenal area.  Energy doesn’t flow through here well when we have fear locked in our systems.  What is the natural response of the body to fear?  SHAKING.  TREMBLING.  Shaking and trembling are the things animals use to discharge fear.  It can become almost a static buildup for people.  Try identifying your fears.  Identify things that you were afraid of in the “past.”  If we don’t discharge them; they are stuck in the body.  Once you have identified these fears try shaking.  Shake your arms.  Shake your legs.  Shake whatever you feel like.  Flap your arms.  All of these will help discharge the energy.

ANGER:  Everyone’s favorite.  How many of us can honestly say that we don’t hold grudges?  That we don’t harbor hostility towards certain people (often ourselves)?  Stored anger usually results when we have a problem that doesn’t get resolved.  Maybe we have a conflict with a friend or family member, but it gets dropped because neither people want to “get into it.”  Anger can be directed at people or situations. Anger can even be directed at God.  I would advise resolving that one as soon as possible =)  There are many things that come in the name of anger.  Frustration, resentments, grudges, rage, hatred and jealousy.  Sometimes healing is greatly retarded by bitterness and anger.  So how do we fix it?  Anger in chinese medicine is stored in the liver and gallbladder.  Sometimes we have stashed it away for so long that we don’t even realize what we are angry about.  Physical actions for releasing anger?  There is plenty on this list.  YELLING, HITTING punching bags, pillows, beds, etc.  Yelling on a solitary drive is good.  Exercising with angry music often helps.  Anger is a very physical emotion.  Anger is designed to get us to “ACT” on something.  When we don’t act, all that physical energy is trapped.  So the natural way to “unblock” it is to ACT.  Be careful with this one as we want to express anger in a constructive way.

GRIEF:  Grief is a tough one.  Many of us are carrying around a lot of grief.  Grief over the past.  Maybe relationships didn’t work out.  Maybe we lost loved ones.  Maybe there were situations that caused great suffering in our lives.  A lot of us are taught NOT to grieve.  Many of us are taught not to show emotion.  Definitely not in public.  It has gotten to the point that it seems many people are afraid to show emotion to their own families and even THEMSELVES!  What is going on here?  This is a huge problem as we are human beings.  To deny our own feelings is to deny our humanity.  We need to grieve to heal.  In chinese medicine grief is stored in the heart and lungs.  Death-fright conflicts are said to be stored in the lungs as well.  Unexpressed grief will hurt these organs.  Expressing them will help heal these organs.  Weeping, crying, moaning, and groaning are all ways of discharging grief.  We all grieve in our own way.

So is there a formula for all of this?  Not really.  There is no one path for everyone.  The basic formula has two parts.  The first may include doing a little digging to discover how you feel about what.  When we suppress things they get backlogged until we dig them back up.  Journaling and art are good techniques for finding what we might work on.  The second step involves releasing these emotions.  Try using techniques that EXPRESS what you feel.  We are often taught to analyze, think about, or figure everything out.  This just does not work here.  We can’t always think our way out of problems.  We need to feel them through =)

-Joe

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