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06 March 2013 @ 11:27 am
How do emotions feel in your body? Where do you feel them? Which ones are most physically prominent? What do they feel like?
I'm feeling: curiouscurious
lazyzlazyz on March 6th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
Funny, last night we watched the 1990 Woody Allen movie,"Alice" that has this as a theme.
m.entrope on March 6th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
WOW. Tough question! Here are a few that are easier for me to associate with somatic feelings:

Stress feels very tight and squeezed. Most negative emotions do, actually. My muscles feel tense and stiff.

Happiness/relief feels very giddy, stomach-fluttery, light.

Anticipation feels literally bouncy, like I'm resting lightly on the balls of my feet.

Resentment/anger feels like leaning forward, like I need to physically pull back.

ruthless compassion: hipsaroraborealis on March 6th, 2013 06:50 pm (UTC)
I'm realizing more and more just how many of my emotions have a physical sensation. A LOT of them are in my torso, especially just behind my breastbone, and also in my abdomen.

Stress and anxiety is a hot, "clenched" feeling column behind my breastbone. Interestingly, the physical sensation of happier tension, say nervous anticipation, is very similar, but with a kind of brighter emotional tone.

Similarly, both "good" and "bad" feelings can manifest in my abdomen: the nervous butterflies just before a big test or hurdle, or the happy butterflies of a big date.

Tension of all kinds manifests in the big muscles of my body -- legs, arms, back, belly. When I can attend to it, this can be one of the first signs that something isn't right in a slow way (rather than a big crisis, which is usually clearer sooner).
Spiderbabearachne8x on March 6th, 2013 06:57 pm (UTC)
Your question is interesting because working with those physical sensations which are related to emotions is a common instruction in some of the meditation practices I do. I haven't identified how my emotions manifest in my body yet, I hope some time I get that clarity.
Spiderbabearachne8x on March 6th, 2013 06:58 pm (UTC)
Although I will say anxiety, of both the good and bad varieties do manifest the way you describe.
unintentionally intimidatingcoraline on March 6th, 2013 07:58 pm (UTC)
anticipation (good and bad) is an unsettled stomach (not nausea, but a feeling that digestion is not in my body's current priorities), and aches at the base of my thumbs (no idea what's up with that).

there's a certain type of interpersonal anger that is chills and jitters and a very strong feeling that at any moment flames are going to start shooting out the top of my head.

anxiety is tension in my shoulders and diaphragm.
ruthless compassion: thinkyaroraborealis on March 6th, 2013 08:26 pm (UTC)
Oh, yeah, I forgot all about head sensations! I have lots of those, both hot and cold and good and bad. Often on the back of my head, and sometimes at my crown.
born from jets!!!catness on March 6th, 2013 10:56 pm (UTC)
As far as I can tell, all emotions just cause me back and shoulder tension, even the good ones.

Stress and anger also cause jaw tension and I have a lot of neck and tongue tension that I am working on in speech therapy right now. All that stuff below the hyoid bone is a mess when people are stupid around me and (when their stupid) affects my life directly.

Edited at 2013-03-06 10:57 pm (UTC)
Brother Claymore of Desirable Mindfulness: fire buddhalifecollage on March 7th, 2013 12:17 am (UTC)
Joy is effervescent lightning. It starts in my heart and bursts upwards, outwards, usually through tears and laughter. You know I'm truly happy when my voice drops an octave and the belly laugh rolls out.

Stress and tension are in my shoulders, my eyes, sometimes other parts of me, but they are also in my diaphragm and lungs. When I'm tense, it's like the bottom half of my lungs go numb, forget to work - everything is from the solar plexus up. If I can breathe deep, remind myself to fill my lungs, the effect is immediate.

Intensity, of any sort but especially of anger, makes me lean forward. Again, it's in the shoulders and upper back, but also the hips and has me on the balls of my feet, ready for movement.

Depression is everywhere. It's the light grey, gnarled fuzzy blanket across my mind, behind my eyes, weighing down my limbs, wrapping my emotions and hiding them. When there is also sadness, it's the bands around my heart and lungs. Anxiety is the pounding headache, the heat coming off my racing mind, the tightness in my chest, the constriction of my throat, the readiness of my limbs for flight. I don't feel depression and anxiety as much as I embody them.

I feel calmness and peace in my muscles, a warm gentle heaviness, and the stillness of not having to do anything other than be in the moment. It is lightness and air, breathing across earth and still waters.
What do you think we are, Monkeys on Sticks???goat on March 7th, 2013 04:04 am (UTC)
Oh gosh, I don't even know how to begin answering this one! I am a very body oriented person, so I feel *everything* in my body...emotional breakthroughs are very often a result of physical breakthroughs, or is it the other way around? It's a chicken & egg situation. Learning Traditional Chinese Medicine and having a profound understanding of the meridian system only deepens this for me. Like lately I've been noticing how I keep a lot of tension in the backs of my legs, especially if I'm anxious, right along my bladder meridian. There's also something old & dark lurking in my hamstrings. I'm working it out. :)

T Streichsweetbaboo on March 7th, 2013 04:57 pm (UTC)
They feel like... tactile colors, I guess? Pressure fronts, behind my brain, and my neck, shoulders, and torso. Sometimes they are fiery waves, sometimes they are icy drafts. And the same emotion (well, mostly), isn't always interpeted as the same stimuli. Sometimes they drag me back, sometimes they push me forward (although those are a lot more consistant on the mania / depression spectrum).

I don't imagine "which ones are more physically prominent" would be a surprise to anyone who's actually met me.
Meaghansatyrgrl on March 7th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
Good question! To start with, all emotions, if I am sufficiently open to them, will make me cry. The people closest to me have actually learned to ignore this, because I they know that the crying doesn't mean everything needs to stop so that we can pay attention to making me not cry. I just means I'm having a feeling, and actually feeling that feeling.

Anger/Rage is probably the emotion I feel most physically. I feel it in my chest, a tight ball between my breasts that I have to control my breathing to keep under control. I feel it in my limbs too, a twitchy tingling like I've taken too much of a stimulant. The desire to move, to put that physical energy somewhere is almost overwhelming, which is why I only engage in unsolicited cleaning when angry. And I feel it in my head, a pressure behind my eyes, red creeping in at the edges of my vision.

Performance anxiety is a flutter in my chest, which changes when the moment of truth is reached. The emptiness of focus sets in and I get a weightless feeling in my limbs and chest as my body turns itself completely towards the task and starts ignoring every other physical need I might have. At that point it doesn't matter what is going on with me physically because I'm not going to notice it until the trial/performance/whatever is over. This is usually the moment jury selection begins, or the moment I walk on stage.

Shame and regret feel like I have swallowed something slimy, something I wish I could vomit back up but wouldn't want to pass through my throat again.

I feel affection in my chest too, a pleasant swelling sensation, like a balloon expanding and lifting my ribcage.

Love, I feel in my skin. New love is pleasantly itchy and tingly, like my cells are trying to reach out as far as they can to get to the person I love.

Old love feels like water flowing through my body, soothing and calming.

metaphortunate sonmetaphortunate on March 9th, 2013 05:26 am (UTC)
Tension, worry, and stress are a knot of pain just under the middle of my right shoulderblade.

Fear is nausea.

That's all I've really had for a while!
fanwfanw on March 9th, 2013 03:02 pm (UTC)
Very interesting question!

I feel most of my emotions in my gut. I first focused on anxiety/stress, which ties my gut in knots, but I agree with some of what other people have said about joy -- that it's a lightness, a rising up in the chest. I have one last strange manifestation which is when I'm really upset to the point of anger/shame/being overwhelmed, I feel like my veins are vibrating in my body. I think this is what people mean when they say "my blood boils." I guess it's the adrenaline or something, but I truly do feel like I am aware of my blood pulsing throughout my body more than I ever am normally.