Suppressing emotions is never a good idea. It can lead to poor mental health and can even manifest itself physically! I’ve addressed how trapped emotions manifest as pain and disease, as well as the importance of releasing grief.
Last month on Instagram, I shared a pain/emotion chart that illustrates the correlation between trapped emotions and physical health. More specifically, unhealed emotions can contribute to one of the most common complaints I hear - muscle tension. Your muscles tend to tense up when you’re stressed out. If left unchecked, it can contribute to headaches or pain in your neck, shoulders and back. This article about nine specific areas where trapped emotions manifest themselves and why is a great overview.
Of course, everyone is different, but there are certain places in the body tend to accumulate specific types of emotions which leads to muscle tension and aches and pains. Here is a quick overview:
1. Shoulders = Burdens and Responsibilities
You’ve probably heard the expression “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.” Shoulder tension is often related to feeling weighed down by the burdens and responsibilities of life. Maybe you have credit card debt, or you feel overwhelmed at work. Whatever the case, this is very common.
2. Neck = Fear and Repressed Self-Expression
Neck tension is often connected to trust issues such as the inability to communicate clearly or be your authentic self. Fear and anxiety are also frequently stored in this area as the neck represents a vulnerable area of our bodies.
3. Upper Back = Grief, Sorrow and Sadness
Unexpressed and unreleased sadness tends to build up within the upper back region. As this area is close to the heart, it is also where emotions connected to heartbreak and loss are stored. For example, if you are holding in grief over a loved one, you will likely feel tense in this area.
4. Middle Back = Insecurity and Powerlessness
Reflexology, a popular natural therapy where pressure is applied to areas on the feet or hands, connects middle back pain to feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and insecurity.
5. Lower Back = Guilt, Shame and Unworthiness
Lower back issues are linked to low self-worth and lack of self-acceptance. People who complain of feelings of guilt, shame and even sexual inadequacy or trauma can also experience more frequent lower back pain.
6. Stomach = Inability to Process Emotions
Have you ever heard the expression, “I can’t stomach it?” Stomach tension can be the result of unprocessed emotions. You may not even feel like eating, which, in turn, leads to other problems.
7. Inner Thighs = Fear of Vulnerability
If you struggle with social anxiety, you may have inner thigh pain. Our inner primal instincts can kick in when we are stressed. Our legs are biologically programmed to run when we are in danger, so fear towards others is often stored here.
8. Outer Thighs = Frustration and Impatience
If you are always on the go and rushing through (isn’t this so many of us these days!) life you may have frustrated and impatient energy stored in your outer thigh muscles.
9. Buttocks = Anger and Rage
How often do you have to deal with people who are a “pain in the butt”? Anger and suppressed rage are often manifested as tense glute muscles.
10. Hips = Negative Emotions
I’m adding a tenth area where negative emotions can manifest themselves and that’s the hips. A lot of yoga teachers will tell you that your hips store negative emotions and a lot of hip-centric yoga poses can lead to release of emotions.
This list could probably go on and on but these are the main areas where stress manifests itself in muscle tension. And muscle tension, if left unchecked, can lead to chronic pain which is becoming somewhat of an epidemic in America.. Pain affects more Americans than diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Pain is cited as the most common reason Americans access the health care system and is a leading cause of disability and it is a major contributor to health care costs.
I share many resources here on my website to help you find and heal the root cause of your stress. I have spent six years testing and developing my most recent method, Trilogy, and the results have been more profound than anything I have seen in 17 years! Take steps to heal your trapped emotions and feel mentally AND physically.
Here’s to a pain-free body (and mind!)