Do you physically feel your emotions? Does anxiety make your chest tight or stomach upset, or anger make your face feel warm and perhaps even turn red?
Physical manifestations of emotions are physiological symptoms and they’re perfectly normal.
Examples of common physiological responses are sweating hands, rapid heartbeat, quicker breathing, rise in blood pressure or body temperature, joint or body pain, fatigue or tiredness, appetite changes, and the list does go on.
But anyways, I was thinking the other day, do some people have stronger physiological reactions to situations and therefore experience the associated emotions more intensely?
Last week my husband and I got in a bit of a ‘disagreement’, so to speak. He was upset with me and didn’t speak with me the remainder of an evening and went to bed with an icy demeanor.
My thoughts were slanted towards depressed and negative about the situation, but due to therapy I recognized as much and controlled the road they were going down. I thought how I couldn’t control his behavior towards me, just my own, and we would resolve things tomorrow.
The problem was, my body wasn’t agreeing with the path my thoughts were taking. I had such an intense physiological reaction to his treatment towards me, it was absolutely physically painful. It’s hard to give the feeling justice with my words, but it was pain throughout my entire chest and upper body. Tight, yet crushing. Constricting.
I did what I was taught to deal with such things. I didn’t stay in bed and ruminate and obsess. I went into my art studio and breathed and focused on the feeling, breathing towards it. I did that for awhile, doing such activity usually helps lessen anxiety and I thought it would work for this pain.
It did not work though. So I tried distraction, and I set about painting for about an hour or so, well past midnight. I wanted to exhaust myself so I could just go to sleep when my head hit the pillow.
That did not work either, my body kept feeling the pain. I’m not sure if it didn’t want to give it up because of my fibromyalgia, perhaps once triggered, the illness had a foothold it wouldn’t let go.
I migrated to the living room to watch some mindless TV and made some Tulsi chamomile hot tea. The tea can often relax me, the tulsi being good for stress and inflammation. I ended up in bed miserable, awake past 2 A.M. because my body held on to the physiological manifestations of my heartache.
Because I always tend to think things to death, I wondered if others have any trouble with their body feeling things so intensely?
My theory is, it’s those prone to mental health issues that are more likely to be intense feelers – or rather feel more physiological symptoms related to negative emotions. I’m not sure how I would go about proving it other than asking a wide selection of people with and without mental illness.
My logic tells me though, if people aren’t physically bothered much by the physical aspect of negative emotions, they’ll be less likely to dwell on them than those who have a strong physical reaction. I could be way out in left field though and not know my butt from my elbow on this one.
Is this a chicken or the egg conundrum? Do people with mental illness have strong physical reactions because of said illnesses or do the strong physical reactions affect people developing mental illness?
If anyone else would like to chime in, I’d love to hear your thoughts, theories, and your own experiences.