Self-Awareness is a wonderful thing. When you are really paying attention, you can learn wonderful things about yourself. For years, I have wondered why I carry so much tension in my back, neck and shoulders. Even during times of seemingly low stress.
The other day, I came across an article on research mapping human emotion and how it is felt in the body. “A team of scientists in Finland has used a topographical self-reported method to reveal the effects that different emotional states have on bodily sensations.
After five experiments and over 700 participants from Finland, Sweden and Taiwan, who reported where on their bodies they felt different emotions, the scientists discovered surprising consistencies. Their research findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:
Most basic emotions were associated with sensations of elevated activity in the upper chest area, likely corresponding to changes in breathing and heart rate. Similarly, sensations in the head area were shared across all emotions, reflecting probably both physiological changes in the facial area (i.e., facial musculature activation, skin temperature, lacrimation) as well as the felt changes in the contents of mind triggered by the emotional events. Sensations in the upper limbs were most prominent in approach-oriented emotions, anger and happiness, whereas sensations of decreased limb activity were a defining feature of sadness.
Sensations in the digestive system and around the throat region were mainly found in disgust. In contrast with all of the other emotions, happiness was associated with enhanced sensations all over the body.”
My Dominant Emotion/Body Map
“When you know better, do better. ~ Maya Angelou
As I mentioned in an earlier post on the psychology of self-deception, it is our choice what we do with knowledge. We can lie to ourselves as to the accuracy or the usefulness but deciding not to act is in itself a choice.
Self-observation is not easy. You will discover some things which are pleasing, contradictory, funny, surprising and sad. This is all part of self-exploration and hopefully a deepened sense of self-awareness and growth.
Become an observer of yourself.
- When what you say doesn’t match how you act, pause.
- When you have an especially strong emotional reaction to something, pause.
- When you’re thinking irrational thoughts, pause.
- When you’re unresolved about something or someone, pause.
- Ask yourself, what does my reaction to this situation say about me?
- Self-Deception Series
- Wholeheartedness and Our Ability to Make Connections
- Research Mapping Human Emotions: The Mind-Body Connections