Physical posture affects our emotional state of being, and our emotions are often revealed through our posture. Saddness shines through as concave shoulders, low energy, a droopy face and maybe even tears. You can visibly see anger boiling and rising from a person’s gut to give them that “hot head.” Confidence radiates from a lifted chest, tall spine, and open relaxed arms.
Not only can we recognize emotions and mental states in others through postural cues, but we can feel emotions in our own bodies by pin pointing where the experience arises in the body. We seldom think of how to direct where and how our bodies process our emotions, so the body does it on its own. It creates its own holding patterns for where to store these emotions. When these holding patterns are created and visited frequently, they start to stick in the muscle memory. The body may start to assume that the emotionally driven posture is the body’s default and when our default posture is one that reflects saddness or anger, it will inevitably begin to shape our mental outlook as well. In the same way, if we train our bodies to stand in line with gravity.. to automatically return to a state of true balance and harmony with our environment, this sense of balance and harmony will also begin to reflect on our state of mind.
This is great news for the relaxed confident body that has been trained to release emotions and drain tensions out the feet, but for most of us, this means our daily stress sticks around. This means by learning how to physically let go of strain and stress in the body, we simultaneously learn to let go of mental and emotional strain.
There are many different useful techniques in learning to let go. Massage, yoga, and meditation are certainly on the list, but even simple things like aromatherapy, art, exercise, writing, or music can aid us in the process of letting go. It could be as simple as washing your hands.. turn up the cold water and feel it washing away all of your cares and worries. Watch your stress spiral down the drain.
The key is present awareness. If you can begin to notice where and how thoughts, memories, and emotions manifest in the body you can begin to let them go the moment they arise. They must arise for you to let them go, you must allow them into your experience so that you can consciously let them go. Otherwise they will simply remain in you as repressed memories and feelings. Next time you feel sadness, anger or anxiety slowly creeping into your gut, pause, take three deep breaths, and mentally soften in this area of the body. Feel the energy of emotion manifesting, and drain the energy down and out the feet with each exhale. Once the sensation has passed, you can return to balance immediately. Lift your head, stand tall and effortlessly move through the rest of your day.