For a long time I thought of emotions as something that happened in your head, a passing emotional state. One of the things I was must surprised to learn in my study of emotions, was how deeply they impact the body. Michele Stanford is a holistic health coach that I met this past year, and her passion is healthy living. So, when she read The Wisdom of Your Heart she was thinking about how emotions impact the body. I’m honored to have her publish an interview with me about the book, and this topic.
Here’s a excerpt.
I had thought of my emotions as ephemeral mental states. Sleep on it, and you’ll feel different in the morning. I thought they were something I could just power through.
I’m not alone in that. This has been the predominant view of emotions since the Greek philosophers. Even as recently as the ‘70s, some researchers argued that emotions happened in the “black box” of the mind, were completely subjective, and couldn’t be reliably studied.
But our capacity to look inside the brain has radically changed since then. fMRI scans have allowed us to see what happens in the brain in ways we could never have imagined.
One of the surprising things we’ve learned is that emotional reactions happen in the body before the conscious mind is ever even aware of them. This is surprising and maybe even counter-intuitive news. But it’s true. Your body knows that you are experiencing an emotion before your mind has time to sort the data and interpret what emotion is happening and why it happened.