Updated: May 27, 2020
Many of us hold lots of ideas, relation, and misconceptions about emotions.
So what actually are they?
In the English language, there is a clear distinction between emotions and feelings. Yet still for many of us the difference is not so clear.
In different languages, for example, there is just one word that refers to the two.
(I find it very interesting in the context of each culture).
In the Bodynamic system, which specializes in Somatic Psychology, when we talk on emotions we refer to 7 very specific ones, which their origin lay's in the Limbic System, and each one of them is an expression of very specific hormones combination that is being released.
There are even researches that show how with "simple" blood test these hormones can be measured.
Emotion = E (energy)+motion.
Energy - refers to the hormones themselves.
Motion - to the way each one of them move inside our bodies and move our bodies.
Think for example what happens in your body, in the most physical sense of it when you are Angry, Disgust, or experience Joy. What kind of movement or sensation each one of them bring to you? Each one of them has a specific purpose and role that is an integral part of our health, wellbeing, and our ability to be connected with others.
Another interesting fact is that emotions are common with mammals and they handle the interaction necessary for the survival of the herd. The picture below is part of a Finnish research of Bodily maps of emotions.
Dr. Brene Brown in her inspiring Ted Talk talked about how we can't choose to numb one emotion and to keep another, like we often want to do.
I really want to experience Joy but unwilling to experience Sadness or Shame.
She talked so beautifully how they are all part of the same system (The Limbic System) and when we shut down one we shut down all.
We all grew up in different homes and different environments. We all have emotions that are very "easy" for us and others that are untouched territories. In the clinic, I hear so often: "In 20 years I didn't cry". One of the things in this work I keep asking and being curious about is how this lack of expression affects our bodies & lives. In this article I hope to bring clarity and concreteness into what emotions are, beyond the myths and misconceptions. To "normalize" them, so we can start to be curious and feel safe to explore and experience them.