Like a squirrel storing nuts, our brain uses our physical tissue as a storage system for emotions and intense experiences. This phenomenon is not fully understood by modern medicine, but has been known of for centuries in philosophy though explanations of spiritual healing. It has also been something I’ve played with in my own personal training practice for about a year now; using specific movements and explosive patterns to release stress and emotion to create a certain level of catharsis for clients.
I first learned about it years ago listening to Tony Robbins tapes. To be sad, our body assumes a specific posture that matches the emotion, as it does with happy, angry, afraid, and peaceful. Our organs react the same way by shifting hormones and heart rate rapidly to match the state. Recently, research by Amy Cuddy has shown that by simply assuming specific ‘power poses’ with our body, we can influence not only our mood, but specific bio markers as well.
My current N=1 experiment of non media consumption has led me to noticed my visceral tissue changing as well. Rather than constantly being bombarded with stimulation from the outside world and storing most of it to be processed at a later date, this detox has led to the ‘backlog’ being cleared. My sleep has improved, my mobility has improved, and even my levels of reactivity have decreased to specific traumas (a car cutting me off no longer raises my heart rate).
I do leave room to this being psychosomatic, but just as a placebo works with no knowledge as to how, who cares? If that means that I can take the news of my spine resembling a failed level of Tetris as easily as finding a piece of cat hair on my sleeve, so be it. Because I can remember a time in my life that any small inconvenience in life meant feeling like life was over, and all of the same visceral reactions as being chased by a bear.
Ironically, this week has been so busy that my meditation and breathing practices have fallen by the wayside, and this level of zen was always the goal of both. It brings to mind the question of whether meditation is a cure all to mental clarity and health, or whether social media and what I’ve dubbed ‘other people’s opinions’ are the reason to meditate in the first place; to heal the damage done by a lack of self.
While I still have no idea what the answer is, or how I can use this new information to help others, I do know that by allowing my body and mind time to get through the stored nuts, there is something profoundly different in the way I conduct myself, and how my body reacts to the world.