Years ago I was going through a rough patch. My 14 year marriage was dissolving and I felt like my world was falling apart. I remember going for my regular Neuro-Structural appointment feeling like crap, disillusioned and sad. Afterwards I couldn’t believe how different I felt. I had done a complete 180. I felt elated, clear and vibrant. I just couldn’t comprehend the difference especially since nothing in my external world had changed. That was an experience that will stay with me because it reminds me that how we feel is not determined by our circumstances.
Emotions and feelings prime our awareness so that we can better sense our environment. They condition the nervous system to react a certain way based on past experience. A good example of this is something called “Resting Bitch Face” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Resting_bitch_face) Someone who is feeling chronically anxious or depressed will typically have a conditioned nervous system that creates those feelings. Someone who feels stressed and can’t point their finger at the source will have a nervous system that is primed to experience life as stressful.
Our emotions and feelings are expressed whether we want them to or not. We are constantly communicating how we feel to everyone around us. We express these feelings through muscle tension in our facial expressions and body language. And interestingly enough, we will express our feelings and emotions through our immune systems as well.
Problems arise when we try to repress, redirect or ignore our feelings and emotions. Trying to repress them is what we call emotional stress. When we repress our feelings and emotions, we build tension in our bodies and we create imbalance in our immune systems.
Patients will often tell me about their postural problems and ask for exercises to help correct their posture. Often times, a postural distortion is not due to weak muscles but repressed emotions and a conditioned nervous system. As patients learn to EXpress rather than REpress, their posture naturally improves.
Socially we try to create synthetic environments where emotions and feelings are ignored, avoided and not acknowledged. We tend to call these “professional work environments”.
Other than the cost of holding tension and ruining our health, there is another important problem with REpressing our emotions and feelings. When we do, we also find it more difficult to mirror the emotional responses of others. This affects our overall communication and our ability to feel empathy and compassion.
Having a nervous system that is free and not under conditioned control is key to feeling emotionally free. Expressing rather than repressing our feelings and emotions goes a long way to improving our health and communication/relationships/healthy society.
Years ago when I felt that shift of 180, I realize now that what had changed for me during that one visit was that I stopped repressing and my nervous system was momentarily freed of conditioning. This gave me the insight into learning how to express and feel emotionally free. My hope for you is that if it is for your benefit, that you also receive this wonderful gift.