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Getting to the root: Understanding how emotions and the mind affect our bodies

Mind body
Kirsten Toth

Kirsten Toth

Kirsten is an Athletic Therapist, Reiki Master, Craniosacral Practitioner and owner of K Wellness Creative, a private practice in Calgary, AB. Growing up as an athlete and playing soccer for 14 years, Kirsten’s love for sports and athletics translated well into helping others in the Athletic Therapy field. While she still works in the athletic world, Kirsten has shifted her passions to the music and art industry, working on destigmatizing mental health support and making health and wellness more accessible to artists. Kirsten focuses on teaching her clients how to connect the body, mind and spirit through an integrative approach to achieve true and deep healing on all levels. She loves creating a safe and open space for clients to explore with curiosity, connect deeply and achieve a greater understanding of themselves and their experiences.

Have you ever wondered how your emotions and your mind affect how you physically feel in your body? Do you deal with a nagging injury or chronic pain that doesn’t resolve with traditional approaches and can’t find a solution? The pain or the problem may be rooted deeper below the surface of our physical responses and understanding! Stay tuned to learn more about the mind-body connection and the emotions that may be at the root of your pain.

What is the mind-body connection?

The mind-body connection is the pathway of communication between our physical structures (like our muscles and bones), our nervous system and how our brain interprets and gives meaning to these signals, turning them into thoughts and emotions. If this pathway of communication is disrupted or blocked, we have a much more challenging time comprehending what is happening with our physical health.

How do our emotions play a role?

Our emotional well-being is an often overlooked aspect of our overall health, but it can have profound effects on the state of our physical bodies. Have you ever felt stressed? How does your body feel when you are overwhelmed or anxious? This is the simplest example of the power our emotions hold in our physiological responses and the pain we experience in our lives.

What if our emotions were the root cause of pain?

Have you ever wondered why your hip (or another body part) was sore even though you didn’t injure or overwork it? Have you already explored the connection between your fascia and other structures that may be affecting the area, but still aren’t seeing results or release? The answer may be in your emotions.

The following is a brief overview of some of the main areas of the body and their emotional connections:

Head
  • Chakra: Crown/Third Eye
  • Physical Symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, balance issues
  • Emotional Root: Stress, connection to the universal whole, resisting the flow of life, non-acceptance of self, responsibility of self
Neck
  • Chakra: Throat
  • Physical Symptoms: Stiffness, Pain, Throat Issues
  • Emotional Root: Flexibility in life, depression, anxiety, burdens/responsibilities, not feeling supported/needing support, lack of expression of feelings with clarity and honesty
Upper spine (shoulders and arms)
  • Chakra: Heart
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, circulation issues, heart issues
  • Emotional Root: Not feeling supported emotionally, needing support, dissatisfaction, greed, bitterness
Middle spine
  • Chakra: Solar Plexus
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, intestinal and digestive issues, liver and pancreas issues
  • Emotional Root: Guilt, inner rage, exaggerated obsessions, egotistic responses, aggressive, loss of personal power
Lower spine
  • Chakra: Sacral
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, kidney & spleen disorders, reproductive organ issues
  • Emotional Root: Grief, unfulfilled, lonely, digestion of life choices and beliefs, burnout, worry about money
Hips, pelvis and sacrum
  • Chakra: Sacral
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, tightness, fertility issues, reproductive organ issues
  • Emotional Root: Shame, trauma, old memories, lack of creativity, lack of sexual energy, being stuck in life, fear of moving forward, feeling unsafe, unable to let go/inhibited
Knees
  • Chakra: Root
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, lack of mobility
  • Emotional Root: Inflexibility, unable to bend, pride, ego, stubbornness, fear of change, self-righteousness
Ankles and feet
  • Chakra: Root
  • Physical Symptoms: Pain, stiffness, inflammation, tendonitis
  • Emotional Root: Self-understanding, moving forward, lack of direction in life, not feeling supported, too much responsibility, taking on too much, lack of stability, not connected to the Earth, insecurity

Exploring connections

Now that we have explored the emotional connections to our physical pain, where do we go from here?

When it comes to understanding our pain and what is happening in our bodies, every person’s journey is going to look different. It’s important to remember that your healing journey will not be the same as someone else’s and getting in touch with the deeper aspects of your intuition and emotions can help guide you to discovering more about yourself and your health.

Here is a practice that can help you with tuning in to the emotional root of your physical ailment:

1. Identify and become aware of your physical pain

Find a quiet place where you will not be disturbed, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and close your eyes. Take a few deep breathes, focusing on the sensations of the body as you meditate in silence for a few minutes. Take notice of the areas of the body that are speaking to you and become aware of them. If any specific experiences that are associated with this pain come up, focus on it and witness it as the observer.

2. Discover your emotional response

Now identify how you feel when you focus on the area of the body you have become aware of. Does any emotion arise? Give the feeling a name and focus on it.

3. Express and release the emotion

When the body is in pain, it is asking us to acknowledge it. Put your attention to your area of complaint, maybe placing your hands there and saying out loud “I feel pain here”. Continue by expressing the emotion you discovered and say out loud “ I feel _________ emotion here”.

Allow yourself the space to feel all the physical sensations and emotions in this area, then when you are ready, say out loud “I am ready to release _______emotion and the _______pain that accompanies it.” Repeat this mantra as many times as you need. Witness how your emotions and physical sensations change.

This is only one example of what you can do to help you with your mind-body connection. Singing, dancing, taking a bath, breathwork etc. are other channels you can utilize. The important thing to remember is to find what works best for you and utilize guidance from a qualified practitioner when needed!

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