You may have heard that many of our strong emotions, especially when related to trauma, are actually stored in our body’s cells. It is certainly my experience that this is possible, but I have always been curious about why and how this happens.
Molecules of Emotion
Recently I found the clue in Candace Pert’s very informative and engaging book, Molecules of Emotion: Why You Feel the Way You Feel.
Dr Candace Pert was an American neuroscientist and pharmacologist, who was a leading researcher in the field of MindBody medicine. She initially rose to prominence in her field through the discovery of the opiate receptor, the cellular binding site for endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are the body’s own natural pain-killers and “bliss-makers”.
In her research work she came to understand that the neuropeptides (small protein-like molecules used by our brain cells to communicate with each other) that carry messages from our various brain states to the rest of the body are actually our emotions; or at least what she calls the physical substrate of an emotion (our mind being the other “substrate” or component of an emotion).
For every emotion, there is a corresponding biochemical equivalent (such as a neuropeptide or hormone)
Pert writes: “What we experience as an emotion or feeling is also a mechanism for activating a particular neuronal circuit – simultaneously throughout the brain and the body – which generates a behaviour involving the whole creature, with all the necessary physiological changes that behaviour would require.”
For example, the neuropeptide serotonin, our “feel-good emotion”, induces positive mood states; while anxiety and stress are marked by the release of adrenaline and norepinephrine throughout the body. These differing emotional states then govern our responses to our environment and affect our behaviour.
She further discovered that repressed traumas caused by overwhelming emotion can be stored in any body part.
In other words, feelings from negative experiences, often in childhood, “are retained in memory – not just in the brain, but all the way down to the cellular level”.
These feelings can actually become part of our subconscious, and we don’t even know that they are there! Worse still, they can lead to dis-ease in our whole being, and ultimately in some cases, disease in the physical body.
How, then, can we release the negative emotions and trauma from our body?
There are many therapies that address this question, but I find ThetaHealing especially effective.
How we feel is linked strongly to how we think. It’s not so much what we actually see or experience that governs our response (and feeling), but how we perceive or interpret a situation. And our perceptions and interpretations, are in turn, governed by our beliefs.
The majority of our beliefs are laid down in childhood. Although we may regularly re-examine them, or lay down new beliefs during our adult life, it is true that as children we are programmed (imprinted even) by the beliefs and sayings of the significant adults in our lives – our parents, teachers, etc. And these beliefs may not be serving our best interests.
An example might be that when you attempt a task and are unsuccessful, you immediately think “I’m stupid!”, when in fact you simply didn’t know how to do the task fully, or lacked some vital information. Failing to complete a task is neutral, but the perception that it’s “wrong” is a negative experience, and is fed by the belief of being stupid in similar situations. For example, it may have originated from being told at school that you were stupid when you answered a question incorrectly. The overall result is then to feel bad - upset, angry or sad - each time you can't do something.
Here's how ThetaHealing works to change beliefs
I work with you to identify limiting beliefs which are activated in situations where negative emotions are triggered inappropriately or in an extreme way. It’s usually not sufficient to identify the most obvious belief either. There are often core beliefs buried deep in the subconscious that require skilled facilitation to uncover.
Once they are identified, using a very simple ThetaHealing process, these beliefs can be replaced with more positive, life-affirming ones. In the example above, the belief “I’m stupid when I get things wrong” might be replaced by “I am ok as I am, even when I get things wrong”.
We work together not only to identify your negative belief, but to reframe it to a more positive one.This whole process is very gentle, and simply requires your permission to make the necessary changes. The results, however, can be spectacular: a renewed sense of passion, freedom or joy.
The key takeaway is that your limiting beliefs can be changed to more positive life-affirming ones, and in the process, body symptoms and disease may also be significantly improved or released.