upset is optional

Emotions manifest themselves in our body in many ways.  In fact, patterns of physical reactions can be observed by paying attention to how we feel in our body across a range of emotions. This article in The Atlantic uses heat maps to show how our emotions can affect our body, “activating our nervous system, endocrine, and musculoskeletal responses, giving us tingles down the spine, flushed faces, and other classic physical manifestations.” Here you can see just how powerful our emotions are and how, overtime, too much stress on our physical ecosystem can wear us down and affect our health:

emotion body map

The thing is — it t doesn’t take a fancy heat map to understand our body’s response to emotions — all we have to do is listen, to pay attention. And if we are aware of how our emotions show up in our body, we can begin to decide how we react — what state we want our body to be in.  Having this power to control our emotions can have an immediate impact on our short and long-term well being.  Here are some practices courtesy of WisdomWell for getting started:

Observing & Releasing Emotions
© WisdomWell‘s handbook on “Navigating Living” November 2015 Edition

Upset is Optional:
Observing how emotions impact the body
When was the last time (in the past day or two) you were upset or stressed?
Where were you when it happened?
What time was it?
Were there people in the room?
What did you notice in your body? (no emotion or thought is ever separate from the body)
Notice — has this happened before?  Is it familiar?

So you noticed there is a connection between your thoughts and your body. Is all that “tight stuff” going on with your body helping to solve the issue/upset?  Does your upset help resolve the issue faster?

Is there a way you can relax your body?  Could you release tension — take a deep breath, sit back, take a walk? Recall a time you were relaxed in your body – at ease, no upset. Can you feel it now in your body?

If so, how did you do that? Think of a time when you were in upset and let it go.  You changed something in your body — how did you do that? What motivated you to change it?

The times when you feel charged, but find ways to shift your mood are those of great personal power.  It is a time when you can decide the action or response you want to take without being overcome by emotion.  In those moments you are in control — awake at the steering wheel, rather than on autopilot.


“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let these things upset you.”
– Joel Osteen

“If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.”
– Quote by Yogi Bhajan, courtesy of Emily Ward

“When you are calm, quiet and sensitive then you can expand. But when you are irritated, phobic, fearful, insensitive, and neurotic, you can’t achieve anything.”
– Quote by Yogi Bhajan, courtesy of Emily Ward



, ,




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: