We experience emotions in our physical body. In The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness ( 1999) Antonio Damasio tell us that “All emotions use the body as their theater.” (page 51) We need our body in order to experience emotions.
According to Candace Pert who wrote The Molecules of Emotion: The Science of Mind-Body Medicine (1999) emotions are the result of chemicals flowing throughout our body. These chemicals are neuropeptides and are produced by our brain. These chemical messengers attach to receptors on the cells. Every cell knows your emotional state.
When emotions are working as intended
When your emotional information system is working you experience an emotion, you take action and you release the emotion. The chemical messenger attaches to the cell informing the cell of your emotional state. When you take appropriate action your cells release the neuropeptides and are ready to receive more information.
If the emotion is fear you take action by fighting or running away. If you feel angry, you determine the reason for the anger and talk it out. If you are feeling overwhelmed you stop and take a look at your situation. You may make a list or find someone to help you out. In all of these cases you were able to take action and the emotion served its purpose. You were alerted to something that needed your attention. The receptors on your cells are now free to accept new emotional information.
But when something goes wrong
What happens when something disrupts this emotional information system? As a young child if you were not able to take action when you felt a strong emotion your cells have no opportunity to release the chemical messengers. If you were told that it was not okay to be angry at your mother and you were not able to express your anger, there was no opportunity for release. If you were teased by an older child and you said nothing because you were afraid, the emotions remained stuck in your cells. The chemical messengers were not successful. They are still waiting for you to take action so they can release.
Your cells are still experiencing emotions from long ago even though the event has passed. You cells are still angry or afraid or sad or worried or any other emotion you are still carrying from the past. Your body is waiting for a way to release these emotions.
Releasing problem emotions
The poetry of emotion process provides you with an easy way to release these emotions by teaching you to communicate with your emotions and find out what they need. Did you need to be nurtured? Did you need to feel safe? Did you need to be understood? Did you need to feel loved? When you can supply that need in the right language the stuck emotion lets go. You can breathe a sigh of relief. You are free from the past.
(Image: EEPaul @ Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/eepaul/7008085799/)