Science is rapidly proving that the mind, brain, and body are tightly linked. Ethan Kross and his colleagues from the University of Michigan and the University of Colorado Boulder compared MRI patterns between people feeling heartbreak over a breakup and people suffering with the sensory experience of physical pain.
They found that both kinds of pain occupy similar areas of the brain and are equally distressing. The emotional pain, however, lasted longer and could be recalled, while physical pain could not. Though emotional and physical pain register in the body similarly, the long-term effects of emotional pain are actually greater than those of physical pain.
Interestingly, Naomi Eisenberger, an assistant professor of psychology at UCLA, discovered that the brain interprets social rejection as equally harmful as physical injury. Since emotional pain registers in the same area of the brain as physical pain, DeWall actually found that taking Tylenol diminished hurt feelings and social exclusion. (Could this explain the prevalent problem of addiction to prescribed drugs?) In RIM (Regenerating Images in Memory), we’ve discovered the reverse can work, too. Resolving emotional pain has diminished physical pain and illness. Emotional pain is physical, and physical pain is emotional.
Our immune function is suppressed by chronic negative emotions. Dr. John Arden, director of training for mental health in Northern California Kaiser Permanente, finds that people who are depressed or lonely get more colds, and people who are depressed in later life get dementia earlier.”
Yes, it’s true. Taking care of your feelings is taking care of your body!
Over the last twenty years, I’ve noticed people naturally become more charismatic after they clear emotional blocks, attracting more friends, partners, customers, and even strangers. More than once after RIM sessions, surprised clients remark how strangers are drawn to them—a new experience. For some, these interactions have resulted in relationships. Their “personal charm” (the mundane meaning of charisma) is active and attracting others.14 It’s probably no surprise that feeling free and safe creates personal magnetism.
When researcher Stephen Porges introduced the Polyvagal Theory in 1994, he proved that subtle facial and tonal shifts in people are perceived at the unconscious level and organically make us feel either safe or suspicious. These responses are sensed even prior to conscious thought. Details like facial tension, curvature of the lips, and angle of the neck communicate whether someone is comfortable, suspicious, relaxed, or frightened. It explains why a friendly face and soothing voice influence us to feel safe at a gut level.
Childhood experiences that stimulate feelings of danger may cause us to slide under the radar to keep safe. Redoing these critical times at the neurophysiological level internalizes a feeling of inner safety. This shift helps us to feel comfortable sharing ourselves and attracting others to step closer.
Life reveals itself continuously. We learn, grow, and self-evolve, yet still don’t arrive. Unforeseen stresses, illnesses, and events remain, regardless of our best efforts.
On the other hand, we can choose a life that evicts perfectionism and comparison. When we allow our inherent state of curiosity to be our primary driver, life gets easier and easier. Like babies exploring the environment, we welcome our immediate experience as a teacher. We are resilient beings and our native curiosity keeps life interesting even when things get tough.
I frequently hear complaints of “I already worked on that emotional issue,' as if once we clear an emotion, we’re done. The truth is living is a messy business. We accumulate residual feelings in the same way our homes gather dust.
You’d never expect a house cleaning to last forever, but we sometimes expect intense emotional work to mean we’re finished. Instead, our emotional landscape is similar to our external environment: it requires consistent attention to stay comfortable and attractive.
When you look inward, your imagination uses the opportunity to project what’s bubbling there given the context of who you are even when you aren’t thinking about it. We have an organic emotional operating system designed to grow our self-awareness. We simply need to look inward with childlike curiosity.
You can do this activity in your mind (with eyes open or closed) or on paper as you go. Or you and a friend can guide each other through the process. Begin by writing down a question or issue about which you’d like greater insight.
* Closing your eyes, tune inward and focus on the inside of your body. Your attention settles down behind your navel as you imagine breathing in and out through it until you are more relaxed.
* Sensing where your attention is drawn in your body, go there. Explore the size, shape, color, movement of this area, etc.
* A virtual resource who wants to support you with this issue shows up. Notice the details of his/her appearance, location, etc.
* You and your virtual resource move into whatever aspect of this energy is most compelling and allow it as much as possible.
* As you immerse in this energy, your imagination brings up an image that represents this issue.
* Sensing this image, receive whatever shows up, even if it doesn’t make sense.
* Noticing all the details, sense how you feel.
* Now moving your awareness into the image, look back at yourself.
* Having moved your awareness into this image and looked back at yourself, sense what the image is here to share using an unedited stream of consciousness of automatic speaking or writing. Spontaneously express what the image wants to say to you, using the following sentence leads. Speak or write what answers intuitively arise into awareness to explore the details:
* What I’m here to represent and share is . . . because . . .
* What I know about you is ...
* What I know about this issue is ...
* What else wants to be shared is ...
* How it feels to speak this to you is ...
* Moving your attention back into yourself, receive all the image has shared like a stream of colored energy, noticing the color and quality of it and where it’s entering your body.
* Fully receiving the stream of colored energy, notice how it feels.
* Looking back at the image now, notice if it’s gone or has changed form.
* Your imagination creates a magical movie before you of what your coming week looks like now that you have this new awareness. Watch it and notice what’s different.
* Rewind the movie and jump into it to imagine living it.
* Notice how this feels: the movie moves into or around your body, or both, and becomes fully available to you.
You Get to Be You
No Matter What Happens
Your Spirit Remembers
and Reminds You Who You Are
©2016 by Deborah Sandella. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
Goodbye, Hurt & Pain: 7 Simple Steps for Health, Love, and Success
by Deborah Sandella PhD RN.
Deborah Sandella uses cutting-edge neuroscience research and her revolutionary Regenerating Images in Memory (RIM) technique to show how blocked feelings prevent us from getting what we want, and she introduces a process that bypasses logic and thinking to activate our own emotional “self-cleaning oven.”
Dr. Deborah Sandella has been helping thousands of people find themselves for 40 years as an award-winning psychotherapist, university professor, and originator of the groundbreaking RIM Method. She has been acknowledged with numerous professional awards including Outstanding Clinical Specialist, Research Excellence, and an EVVY Best Personal Growth Book Award. She is the co-author with Jack Canfield of Awakening Power. Photo credit: Doug Ellis. For more info, visit Author's Website.