When my son was little, we would go to the mall, watch people shop and make up stories about them based on how they walked, what they carried, or pieces of conversation we overheard. My son often commented on what he thought their feelings were at the time. He said they looked sad, scared, angry or anxious. When I would ask why he perceived a specific emotion, he would tell me it was the way they looked, and would point out the hunched shoulders, the thrust jawline, or the wrinkles in the forehead. Then the story we made up would say they were sad because they didn’t get to play on the swing, or scared because someone yelled at them – things he observed with his classmates. The stories weren’t due to current events like their shoes hurt their feet, or they were late for an appointment. His stories were about things in the past which still affected them and showed in their posture.
The saying “he wears his heart (emotions) on his sleeve” is more accurate than you might think. Negative and positive emotions are stored in your muscles, the tissue, in your structure and the function of the body. What we say, how we respond, and how we adapt to situations around us affect us emotionally and physically. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be permanent. Our bodies adapt all the time. If you observe how your body functions when you are feeling happy, in control and safe, then you have the basis for changing when you are feeling sad and insecure. Once in class I was told you can’t be sad with a smile on your face. Well, I find you can, but it IS much harder. Try it next time and let me know if you agree.
In our Ortho-Bionomy sessions, I offer your body information in the form of movement. I move a limb one direction then another, engaging the nervous system to remember or realize places which offer more comfort, less stress or more ease. Just as moving the muscles around the mouth into an upward position changes your emotional focus, moving limbs from a place of controlled tightness into one of ease can change your mental filter about your body, your day or your outlook on life.
I love empowering people to find ways of moving that is more natural and less restrictive. A bonus is to see the mental outlook change as well. The next time you find an emotion overwhelming you, take a moment to change your position. See if it helps change the emotion as well.