THE UPSIDE of Feeling Down
Emotions as Tools for Self Discovery
Negative emotions do us a great favor - they save us from ourselves. They’re mysterious signals, that oftentimes surge for “no apparent reason”, urging us to pay attention and change what we’re doing. Emotions that generate unpleasant feelings have been called sins (anger, envy), rejected in polite interaction (jealousy, frustration), or identified as unhealthy (sadness, shame). Culturally we’re taught to suppress these feelings, or medicate them, and punish ourselves for feeling them. Because these feelings are mostly seen as aversive, they are often called “negative” emotions… although “negative” is a misnomer. Honestly, if you think about it, emotions are not inherently negative or positive. In esoteric practices, for example, they are distinguished by much more than whether they feel good or bad. Beneath the surface, every emotion orchestrates a complex suite of changes in motivation, physiology, attention, perception, belief and behaviors —summoning specific memories that trigger all sorts of bodily responses.
Each component of every emotion has a critical job to do, whether its preparing us to move toward what we want (anger), urging us to improve our standing (envy), or allowing us to undo a social blooper (embarrassment). Mathew Hutson, psychologist, says, “We have the wrong ideas about emotions. They’re very rational; they are tools carved by eons of human experience to direct us where we need to go.”
Emotions are instruments of survival. They identify trouble or opportunity and suggest methods of repair or gain. In fact, if we didn’t use emotions as tools to intuitively extract information from our gut, we would have probably vanished. Emotions reveal so much more that if we discerned them slightly detached, we could use them as platforms to access psychic energy. The emotion itself is already a fully flowered energy, if we go to its root cause, we gain access to the blueprint of our soul’s psyche.
When we receive an intuitive hit via a “negative” emotion, how can we better diagnose the source of the trigger? It seems to me that Nature has designed these triggers in every single one of us so deliberately, that each trigger is like a ripple, microcosmically expressing the truth of our oceanic consciousness.
“In the human brain, learning, memory and emotions are housed in the limbic system surrounding the brainstem. Within the limbic system, emotional impulses originate in the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure that triggers the physiological reactions associated with emotions. The amygdala is also responsible for imprinting emotions onto memories by releasing some of the same neurochemicals when an event is recalled as when it occurred.”
So, what are these emotions REALLY saying, and where do most of us retain them within our body? Lets review what these psychosomatic psycho analysts are suggesting:
Anger results when we feel undervalued. It prompts us to reassert the importance of our welfare threatening to harm others or withhold benefits if others don't recalibrate our worth. This may also explain why we get angry when someone needlessly tries to be helpful; they obviously haven’t shown malicious intent, but we feel underestimated, or assume that we are being seen as incapable.
Aaron Sell, psychologist, has researched how one of the primary benefits of anger for an individual is preventing oneself from being exploited. If you know what you deserve, and someone else sees things differently, anger arises. He explains “Your heart rate increases, you start to sweat, you think about all the things you could do to set the other party straight. In fact, the frustration of devaluation that leads to anger quite often gets you what you want.”
Psychosomatics: Anger is said to be held in our liver. Those that angry often, or record to being angry by default, tend to have liver and gallbladder imbalances. May bring on imbalances in the root (1st chakra) and solar plexus (3rd chakra).
Did you know that anger and agression can cause stomach ulcers, acidity, and migranes? Self directed psychological aggresion may influence the appearance of malignant tumors!
So… how about good ol’ ENVY?
“Envy — even more than admiration — ignites our ambition to overcome a sense of inferiority and achieve future success” explains Hutson. It is a very human thing to compare ourself to others, or at least the conditioning we’ve received culturally. Much of our success — financial, romantic, and personal — depends on our relative status and resources within a group, as it has throughout human history. “Happiness is greatly influenced by our comparison of ourselves to others.” Ultimately boiling down to the discomfort you feel of being worse off than those around you, presenting a combination of shame, resentment, hostility, a mix packaged as envy.
“Envy can have destructive consequences. But it also has benefits. To reduce or reverse inferiority envy moves us to increase our own standing, or decrease the standing of others.” Instead of competing or feeling less-than our competitor, it is meant to be used as a propeller to generating more success. We can also become more successful by emulating the person we envy. While benevolent, envy is essentially a creative force, malignant envy is destructive.
Psychosomatics: Envy is said to be held in our genitals. Those that get jealous and envious often tend to generate imbalances within the reproductive region. May generate imbalance in the reproductive center (2nd chakra) and the energetic heart (5th chakra).
Did you know that envy can cause oncological diseases and a weakened immune system?
A big one… FEAR & ANXIETY
Fear stimulates vivid pictures of what may go wrong — and how to get out of the situation. When in fear, our focus narrows, the heart races, and our animal senses pick up. Everything unrelated to safety vanishes. The flight or fight response is automatic, Hutson explains that it “originates deep in the brain, and has been conserved in species throughout evolution.” Most of our base fears are learned as children, yet researches have seen how many fears are a ancestral inheritance. Many shamans and “videntes” (seers) first recognize where your fear comes from in order to gain access to your blueprint. To these type of seers, this grants direct access as to what we’ve inherited culturally, ancestrally or directly from our trauma. This allows a major access point to what we need in order to surrender and heal.
Without fear we would become uncritical risk takers. Which can have a huge benefit, as fear can deter us from trying things out, or it can actually be damaging, making us do things without evaluating potentially harmful consequences. Researchers believe that “fear and anxiety not only preserves life, it is essential in all kinds of situations that require caution and self discipline.” Hutson explains that anxiety about how we’re living our lives can point to ways in which we’re not being true to ourselves, ways in which our actions don't align with our deepest values. Anxiety can serve a corrective purpose, brining us back to authenticity.
Psychosomatics: Fear and anxiety can be stored in the adrenals, kidneys and thyroid. It can directly affect the solar plexus (3rd chakra), throat (5th chakra), and third eye (6th chakra).
Did you know that anxiety can generate digestive disorders along with kidney problems? It has also been researched that fear and anxiety aggravates the adrenals, also causing hormonal imbalance.
SADNESS & GRIEF
Sadness indicates a deprived body, mind and spirit. Sadness ignites us to carefully detect that part of our spirit that has been underfed, and reminds us to energize our body with the right nutrition. Huttson explains that the failure to recognize and experience sadness and grief after a trauma back fires on us. We can remain disassociated to pain, up until a point in life, where it all crumbles - manifesting itself into a chronic illness or crisis. Happiness cues the brain to suppress worrisome or negative feelings and increases the body’s energy level. Sadness does the opposite, slowing down its metabolism, and manifests itself most visibly in tears. Research has substantiated the age-old theory that crying releases harmful toxins by showing that tears of sadness have a different chemical composition than tears of joy or those caused by irritants. Cardiologists have also found that crying can reduce stress and the harmful physiological reactions associated with it. Psychologists explain that the simple recognition of being sad, or depressed, already changes chemistry and begins the restoration.
Psychosomatics: Sadness and grief usually aggravates the kidneys, stresses the nervous system, and collapses the energy of the heart. Sadness affects the 4th, 6th and 7th chakras.
REGRET + Disappointment
Regret emerges when we think about what could have been, if only we’d done something differently. “It relies on counterfactual thinking - pondering on alternate realities. Psychologists explain that counterfactual thinking allows us to analyze the past and the future and to understand causality. Because making a mistake is such an excellent learning opportunity, our emotions highlight our mistakes for us, adding regret to injury.
Research shows that by making our errors more painful, regret renders them more memorable and more effectively induces us to change our ways. The reflective point of generating a “mistake” propels our evolution to change our ways and transform all new patterning for the second time around. “Regret has a trusty sidekick keeping us out of trouble: anticipated regret. When its not paralyzing us, this fear of future self-loathing makes us wear condoms, drink less, and eat better.” Regret arises when an outcome is worse than we expected it to be, highlighting powerlessness. The reparative element distinguishes regret from disappointment, which motivates us to abandon a goal rather than persist.
Psychosomatics: Analysts have demonstrated how regret, and lacking in coming full circle with past regrets allows for infections. It may throw the heart (4th chakra) and crown (7th chakra) out of balance.
Whether avoiding sadness or anger, regret or grief, distancing ourselves from our negative feelings cripples everyday functioning and growth, potentially enabling illness. It also alienates us from the full range of human experience. The more these emotions are recognized and acknowledged, it’ll naturally deepen you as a human being. Be open to feeling the full spectrum of your emotions, without labeling good or bad, and listen carefully to what your body reveals.
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