Embodying Emotions

Nov 01, 2021
Embodying Emotions

I know you know the powerful relationship between emotions and physical health…and today I thought I’d check in with an Embodied Movement approach to this potent place where we can either be dragged down, or make positive change.

We humans have developed such a funky relationship with our emotions.

Over time the role of emotions has evolved.

This past year has intensified the physical manifestations of whatever has been lurking under the surface for many of us. I have heard from so many folks that it is no longer optional to let unresolved emotions hide in their body history, that it’s TIME to address these pockets of pain. But the biggest hesitation is not knowing how to effectively do this without breaking down, because let’s face it…it was hard to begin with, and now with the year we’ve had it might just feel overwhelming.

A little human emotion history…

We used to be more intuitive and use them as a useful sense, a guide, a compass. 

Now, for most of us, between storing pain from very real life circumstances, and a culture that tells us continually in overt and covert ways to stuff ourselves, stuff down the flow of emotion in order to get stuff done, we have no idea how we feel, and so do not properly process them.

  • Emotions need to be processed.  
  • They have a flow, a beginning, middle and end.
  • They are molecular, bio-chemical, and your awareness has a LOT to do with this processing. 

When your awareness is not aligned with the truth of your emotions, the emotional experience has a funky influence on your health and sense of wellbeing. That funkiness can show up in a number of ways. Some of us have habitual modes we unconsciously slip into, and sometimes it depends on what is going down.

This funky juncture between the emotional happening and where you put your attention can be MESSY. When the emotions are sloppy and raw it can feel like a blender with the lid blown off and smoothie splattered all over the counter, the walls, and the ceiling. The mess is hard to clean up because the emotions are just everywhere. They’re choppy, hard to handle, hard to look at.

  • Emotions can get stuck. The process of their flow just halted as a defense mechanism to just not deal with the impact for fear of it’s consequences.


  • Emotions can be blocked. There may be a build up of emotional gunk and residue from previous unprocessed emotions that holds up the flow of a new emotion.


  • Emotions can be confusing. Sometimes the emotion you feel doesn’t quite line up with your understanding of what’s happening. When what you feel and what you are expected to feel (either from yourself or others) aren’t lined up in a “normal” way, that confusion can be disorienting.


  • Emotions can be overwhelming. This is one of the most common emotional experiences. Emotions are INTENSE, they are a LOT! It’s part of their nature. And because we have lost our unfiltered relationship with them, when we get hit with a big wave, we go right into overwhelm.


  • Emotions can feel inappropriate. Occasionally we experience an emotional reaction that feels like wires must have gotten crossed somewhere. What we feel is not at all what we “should” be feeling based on what is happening. When this happens, there can be a whole cascade of things like shame, disbelief, sabotage, and anxiety that can add pain on top of pain.


  • Emotions can feel unwanted. Emotions don’t show up at convenient times. They often give you a slap of dealing with the most impossible waves of feeling at the hardest times. This wishing it weren’t so adds resistance which mucks up the whole emotional process even more.

So what the heck are we supposed to do, when we, as humans, have gone so far down the rabbit hole of not relating to our own emotions? 

  • We MOVE
  • We move with awareness
  • Emotions are fluid, they NEED movement. Physical movement.

When you can get your body’s energy circulating you have a good chance at cleaning up some of the mess, shift what is stuck, dislodge a block, clear up confusion, settle the overwhelm, accept what feels inappropriate, and drop resistance to what is unwanted.

Movement literally makes room in your body, in your being for the natural flow of emotion.
When emotions can flow, process, and complete they feel true, sensory, connected, resonant, satisfying. 

Movement can even transmute emotion, it can turn nervousness into excitement, anger into empowerment, grief into compassion. 

These emotional experiences: flowing, true, sensory, moving, connected, resonant, satisfying, THESE are evidence of right relationship with emotion. 

Got a story about embodying emotions? I'd love to hear it!
Email me at [email protected]

Be well,

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