Stored Emotion

This topic has come up in at least three conversations with people in the last week so I’m taking it to mean it would be a good topic to blog about. It’s a bit of a departure from what I normally write, but that happens sometimes.

Approximately 10 years ago I learned of EFT, also known as emotional freedom technique, or tapping. The process combines the use of acupressure with psychology. Tapping with the fingertips on specific meridian endpoints of the body helps to calm the nervous system, rewire the brain, and restore the body’s balance of energy. I found the practice to be sort of helpful. I felt better after tapping, but nothing really changed for me. I still carried around a lot of fear, my health didn’t improve, my finances didn’t change, I remained single. It wasn’t the magic pill I was hoping for. So I stopped tapping.

Sometimes we store emotion in places. Photo by Olliss on Unsplash.

More than a month ago, I heard an interview with Jessica Ortner, one of the big names in tapping, and decided to try again. I picked up the book by her brother Nick Ortner, called The Tapping Solution, and read his section on pain. He asked the question, “Is there an emotion associated with the pain?” As someone who is extremely psychosomatic, this question is a game-changer for me. At the time, I had painful menstrual cramps – that didn’t abate with painkillers or a heating pad or any of the things I usually try. I asked myself, “Is there an emotion associated with this pain?” and the answer was “sadness.” I started tapping all of the acupressure points while I said out loud, “All this sadness in my uterus, all this sadness in my uterus. I’m releasing it and letting it go now.” Tears streaked down my cheeks as I cried over something that happened to me a long time ago, that I thought I was over.

I kept tapping until I felt better, and wouldn’t you know it, no more menstrual pain. I tried it for other things too. My feet swelled up due to poison oak and the healing process seemed to stagnate. I asked myself the question, “Is there an emotion associated with the swelling in my feet?” and the answer was “anger.” So I tapped through that too, and then the next morning my feet returned to normal size. I think most of us are aware of the mind-body connection, but I was surprised at how a specific body part can store an emotion, and how that emotion can linger in place for years.

I share all this because perhaps the recurring back pain or rash that won’t go away, or whatever, is your body telling you something. Maybe there’s an emotion there asking to be felt and the pain or symptom won’t go away until it’s been addressed. I’m a stubborn gal so it’s no surprise my body is too. The beautiful and magical thing though is with just a few minutes of tapping, we can feel the emotions, release them, and let them go.

I dream of a world where let go of stored emotions. A world where we recognize sometimes pain carries a feeling and we can take the time to feel the emotion and then move on. A world where we use all the tools at our fingertips to help ourselves heal.

Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.

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