My sister and I were talking and the topic massages came up and she was like “I love when they get to my hands, I could get my hands massaged forever.” I was stunned, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted my hands massaged. When I get a massage, I’m all about the shoulders. It seems that’s where I hold all my tension, and that’s when I thought about how interesting it is that we all hold tension in different places. Why is it that some experiences immediately evoke an emotional and physical response? I’m a true believer that anything that goes through your mind can be detected in your body and that physical issues are always linked to larger, emotional ones.
The bodily experience of emotion is nearly instantaneous. Research has proven that within the first few seconds of experiencing a negative emotion, people automatically tense the muscles in their jaw and around the eyes and mouth. I’ve always had issues with my body, whether it’s constant stomach aches, grinding my teeth or tightness in my hips, and it’s funny that these are easily attributed to stress. What’s funnier is that I can’t admit to ever having felt stressed out in my life, well not for longer than a day or so anyway, so I’m always at a loss when doctors and yoga teachers suggest it’s stress that gives me acidity and the inability to open my hip flexors.
A few months ago, I had three people across two days tell me that I needed to ‘let go’. I told each of these people that I had nothing to let go of though if they knew what it was I would gladly let said thing exit my life. I agree that our joints, tissues and muscles hold an insane amount of stress and emotion but I’m still unable to figure out what I’m holding on to. According to goop (I’m obsessed and I hate myself for it), there are five stress containers in our body and each one is activated by something different. The jaw, neck and face are for overthinking, physical tension and the weight of the world goes to the shoulders, fear sits in the diaphragm and lungs, the stomach (and my biggest issue) is when you feel weak and can’t let change in (is this the same as letting go?) whereas your hips hold your security, personal freedom and disappointments.
It’s amazing to think of our bodies as storage units for past failures, unrequited love, lost friendships and personal drama. I’m constantly on the quest to know myself better and be a better person and spend so many hours of the day thinking (and potentially overthinking) what I said, the way I said it and why I can’t think and act more positively. Perhaps my saga with my body stems from this internal battle and it’s true that if the mind is balanced, the body will follow. It seems to be easier to do this the other way around though so I will continue my full body massages, yoga and night guard retainer and hope that what’s holding me back, finally lets go.