I DIDN’T REALIZE
how much my body talks!
PREVIOUS: ‘What about Emotions?”
REVIEW: Extensive list of Es by category on my ACoA website page: ‘Emotions‘
The PHYSIOLOGICAL FEEDBACK Loop
Modified from a Psychology Today article by Peter Coming, PhD:
The brain is a parallel processor, doing many things at once. Visual & other kinds of perception are the result of input from both the senses & top-down (mental) interpretations based on past knowledge. Similarly, the brain generates emotions by combining high-level judgments about goal satisfactions with low-level perceptions of bodily changes.
Cognitive judgments are performed by the prefrontal cortex which interacts with the amygdala & insula which process information about physiological states. So, for example, the emotion of happiness will be the result of combined physical & mental cues. For details about how this might work, see the EMOCON model of emotional consciousness
❀ The following is a very simplified outline of the process of generating emotions. When there is a disconnect between any of these components, we :
— won’t know we are registering Es
— can’t think about them, just react
— think incorrectly about the Es we’re feeling
• BODY: we experience an internal stimulus (a sad memory, a self-hating thought) or external
arousal (starting a new job, buying a new dress)….
• BRAIN: ….. that stimulates a reaction in our Limbic System (picture) deep in the center of our brain, releasing chemicals such as adrenalin. These create physical agitation & so a ‘readiness for action’ (Es), while they temporarily reduce thinking & therefore conscious control, depending on intensity. The Reticular Formation in the brain stem also contributes, by integrating brain activity
• BODY : those chemicals then activate our gut (middle of the body)…. Notice statements like “It felt like I was punched in the stomach”, or “I feel nauseous when he touches me”…..
• BRAIN : ….. which then get returned to the frontal cortex for evaluating & ‘understanding”
Subjective: Each of us experiences our Es in our own way, in part because of previous experiences & in part because of the language we use to describe them. Also some people do not consciously feel many of their emotions (being repressed), even tho the body is reacting in various ways, OR a person may not have the words to think or talk about them
Objective: Physical responses are the easiest part of emotion to measure because scientists have developed special tools to do that with great accuracy. People have very similar internal responses to the same emotion under stress regardless of age, race, or gender.
Bodily reactions to a situation that creates intense emotion include pounding heart, sweating, blood rushing to the face and release of the hormone adrenaline – which helps prepare the body to either run away or fight, (“fight or flight” reaction) by increasing blood flow to the arms and legs. Although the chemical part of emotions may be different for each feeling, several different emotions can produce the same physical reaction.
EXP: LEFT pic – Conscious control of a smile: The facial muscles involved in emotional expression are governed by nerves following a complex system of direct and indirect pathways to and from the motor cortex, in the front of brain
RIGHT pic – Spontaneous smile circuit not under conscious control – is governed by the limbic system (in the center) and brain stem at bottom.
This may explain why people’s faces can express emotions like happiness, fear, and disgust without their being aware of it From : HumanIllnesses.com
EASTERN practices: The approaches of Yoga, Tantra & Ayurveda offer practical insight into working with emotions thru the body & vice-verse.
In the Indian teachings of Ayurveda, Rasas are the essences of our emotions, & are neither purely mental nor purely physical. The Tantric tradition recognizes 9 Rasas which represent our basic Es: anger, calmness, courage, disgust, fear, joy, love, sadness & wonder.
Our Es are continually effected by the interplay of our senses, the elements, food & our life force. “Bad body chemistry creates disagreeable emotions & a healthy body offers the basis for more happy emotions. When disagreeable Rasa catches us for a long period, the biochemical environment created in our body is difficult to get rid of & may lead to disease. Maintaining an agreeable Rasa over a long period will stabilize it, keeping our body healthy & curing disease.” (MORE….)
NEXT: The Body & Emotions (Part 2)