Kristin Deiss is almost a regular guest writer for me now! Kristin is a good friend, who happens to be a Master Reiki practitioner, a yoga instructor and an all-round smart cookie. You may remember my interview with her, What Is Reiki? as well as her post How We Can Find Happiness in the Holidays.
Today I’m thrilled to welcome her to the blog again with a fascinating look at how our emotional state impacts our physical well-being and how we can cleanse our bodies of negative emotions we may be holding onto (without even realizing). Thanks for sharing today, Kristin!
How Emotions Can Make You Sick (and what you can do about it)
Taking a moment to go within, think about what you want most out of life. You may even want to jot a few things down. Success in your career? A family? Financial security? The list could go on and on. Now take some time to ask why exactly you want those things. What do they bring you? The deeper you dig into the things you want most out of life, the more you’ll uncover that diamond in the rough, the one thing that we are all striving for, just in different ways and through different means: happiness. At our core, what all of us really want is to find happiness, inner peace, joy, and contentment.
Now, on the flip side, think about what is stopping you from achieving those things you want most in life. And just as you did with the things you want, dig deep into those reasons and excuses for not being able to attain your desired goals. Sifting through what you perceive to be your reality will open a whole new world to you, and more often than not, you will find things like fear and lack of self-confidence lurking in the corners, preventing you from taking the necessary steps to achieve your goals.
So on one hand, we have what we want most in life: happiness, and on the other, we have what is stopping us from attaining that happiness: fear and self-deprecation. What do the two hands have in common? Emotions! They are both holding emotions! Much of what we experience in this lifetime centers around our emotional state – we make decisions based on what makes us feel good and also what makes us feel bad. But it also largely affects our physical bodies as well. Our emotional state is so intertwined with our physical well-being that it is often times overlooked and may even be perceived to be separate, but it is very much connected. Think about when we feel embarrassed. Our bodies have a physiological response to that feeling and the blood rushes to our face, resulting in those classic red cheeks. We also have a very physical response to anxiety and nerves. We all know that expression “butterflies in my stomach.” Those “butterflies” are our bodies’ direct response to feelings of anxiety or nervousness.
When we are nervous or anxious, chemicals specific to those emotions are released into our bodies. Absorbed by sensors heavy in the gut region, those chemicals then give a directive to the body, creating a sense of flurry in our stomachs. These chemicals, or neuro-peptides, are absorbed by cells in the endocrine, immune, and nervous systems, connecting our emotions to our physical body and creating an information highway between how we are feeling and the operations of the correlating systems, such as: our bodies’ basic functions (breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.), our ability to fight off disease, and our growth, digestion, and metabolism. This connection between emotion and the physical body works in the opposite way as well. We are all well aware of that “high” we experience after a good run or workout. Moving the physical body in that intense manner releases endorphins into our blood stream, which are picked up by cells in those three systems, having the ability to then make us feel good and happy. The body can alter our emotional and mental state creating a relationship between our emotions and our physical body. It is a two-way street!
If our physical health is so closely related to our emotional health, then it becomes imperative to keep our emotional self stable and balanced. To keep our emotional selves healthy, we must keep the emotions flowing. Feel what you feel, and then let it go. Just as the physical body stays healthy with movement, so does our energy, and so do our emotions. Holding onto negative emotions like anger, resentment, fear, or worry can have extremely detrimental physical effects. The word emotion itself comes from the Latin emovere which means “to move from” or “to move out of.” To keep the emotions moving, we must first acknowledge how we feel, and then allow them to pass just as easily as they came. This movement of our emotions and their corresponding chemical secretions can be accomplished through many different outlets: whether we simply have a conversation with a friend, journal what we are feeling, or express ourself through creative ways, it is imperative to keep that flow in motion.
Okay, so clearing out emotions we are consciously aware of seems easy enough to do. But, what happens when feelings are pushed so far down that we are no longer aware that we are holding onto them? If those emotions have not been worked through, then they continue to release the corresponding neuro-peptides into our system, and if those feelings are negative ones, those chemicals have the ability to be detrimental to our bodies’ well-being. This is where Reiki can be extremely helpful. Clearing subconscious emotional blockages is something that Reiki, as well as other energetic body work modalities can help us to accomplish. While going to see a Reiki practitioner is the best method for using this modality, it is certainly not the only one, and in fact, practicing self-Reiki is something that we are all capable of, even if you have not been attuned by a Reiki Master. Simply by allowing yourself to enter a quiet space and placing your hands on various parts of the body (head, heart, legs, etc.) with the intention to clear emotional blockages and trauma, you can aid in the flow of your emotions, your energy, and by extension help to maintain a healthy and holistic sense of well-being. Just focus on the breath and imagine the flow of emotions through your body, creating a sense of ease and balance in the information highway between our cells and neuro-peptides.
Emotions are not to be ignored. They have a powerful affect not only on our bodies, but also on how we live our lives through the choices we make. That desire to feel good motivates many of our daily decisions and has done so for all of human existence. Darwin, through his theory of evolution, believed emotions to be necessary for survival, since they did not evolve out of our species. He believed they must have a purpose, they must have a larger connection, and they do! Acknowledging, expressing, resolving, and clearing our emotions is something that we are all capable of. So, the next time you are in a funk or are working through a physical injury or illness, try self-reiki, journaling, or a form of creative expression and see how a return to the flow of your emotions helps you to find a better sense of happiness and well-being.
Kristin Deiss is an active energy work practitioner currently living and practicing in Los Angeles, CA. Kristin is a Reiki Master and holds an advanced certification in Integrated Energy Therapy. In addition, Kristin is a certified yoga teacher and professional dancer. Alongside her traditional academic education (having earned a B.A. in History, an M.A. in History, and an M.F.A. in Dance Performance and Choreography), Reiki and Integrated Energy Therapy have both been part of her education from a young age. Coming from a family of energy work practitioners, energy work has always been a part of Kristin’s lifestyle, and her mission is to share that knowledge and work with others, having personally seen and felt the effects.