Are Emotions In The Head Or The Body?

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

Most people know what causes a pain in the neck. We even describe some people exactly in those terms.

It's common knowledge that soreness, stiffness and pain in the shoulder muscles and neck and head or low back can be caused by emotional stress. When we are tense, our muscles tense up. But, do you know that muscle strength can also be influenced by your thoughts and emotions?

Check this out! Here is a simple test: have someone stand in front of you and ask them to extend their arm. Put you hand on their palm and push their arm down. Note the degree of pressure you had to apply to lower their arm. Next, ask them to extend their arm one more time and tell you a lie. The lie may be a harmless lie such as lying about their name or age.

If the person in front of you is not knowledgeable about this experiment to bias the results, you might find you had to apply less force this time in pushing their arm down.

When people know they're saying something that's not true, it creates a certain amount of conflict or incongruence in their mind, which in some way negatively affects their muscles.

Do you want to also test whether positive thoughts and emotions affect muscles positively? Perform experiment #2. Start thinking emotionally neutral thoughts, extend your arm and ask your "partner in crime" to lower YOUR arm. Next, extend your arm again and this time think strength thoughts such as, "I am strong and firm like a mountain. My arms are strong and tough like solid steel." Your partner is likely to have a harder time in trying to lower your arm.

And this is not just about muscles. It can arguably be claimed that every part of our body is affected by emotions. For instance, research on the impact of emotions the on heart is pretty extensive and convincing. The stomach and intestines are viewed by some medical experts as "thinking and feeling" organs and designated as our "second brain.."

Brain and gut communication is very intricate and extensive, and carried out by a vast network of hormones, peptides and neurotransmitters. Emotional distress can disrupt the brain-gut communication. Medication provides only limited benefit in case of stress related gastrointestinal problems such as heart burn, acid reflux or irritable bowel syndrome. But psychological techniques such as relaxation, stress management or cognitive behavioral therapy can offer significant relief with minimal negative side effects.

Since emotions are "powered" by thoughts and feelings, some tend to think that emotions have their origin and ending in the brain. But emotions are as much in the body as in the mind. Candace Pert, author of Molecules of Emotions, has shown from her research that emotions are carried through "Information Substances" comprised of neuropeptides, hormones and other molecules present through out the body including our DNA. Emotions don't merely scratch the surface, they permeate through out the "life stuff."

There is a fascinating study conducted by the Institute of Heart Math with regard to the effect of emotions on DNA In the study, human placenta DNA was placed in vials from which they could measure changes in the DNA. Twenty-eight vials of DNA were given to 28 trained researchers who were trained in evoking strong emotions in themselves on demand.

When researchers evoked the emotions of gratitude, love and appreciation in themselves, the DNA strands in the vial unwound and thereby increasing the length of the DNA.

But, when the researchers evoked the emotions of anger, fear, frustration, or stress in themselves, the DNA in the vial became shorter and switched off many of the DNA codes!

Furthermore, the shutdown of the DNA codes was reversed when feelings of love, joy, gratitude and appreciation were experienced by the researchers.

I don't know how scientifically controlled the study was or whether the results have been replicated by any other study. If these claims are valid, they have profound implications. Not only can our emotions directly affect organs such as the heart, stomach, or skin, but that they can affect us even at the cellular level!

Even more fascinating is the implication that our emotions can affect someone else's DNA.

I don't know about this DNA stuff, but I do know that if I were to be in a room with someone who has lot of negative "energy," be it the high-rise flame of rage, or low simmering embers of resentment and bitterness, I'd feel exhausted in no time at all.

That was bad enough, but now I have to worry about my DNA shutting down its precious little activity when I'm in the presence of someone else's negative energy!

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Copyright 2005, Mind Publications 
Posted February 2005


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