The Anatomy of Emotion: Where Feelings Live in Your Body PDF Print E-mail
Post by Vaishali   
Wednesday, 17 March 2010 16:00
The Anatomy of Emotion: Where Feelings Live In Your Body
by Vaishali

If the act of thinking registers in brain scans, what are those thoughts doing to your body? After being diagnosed terminal from an illness — and then again ten years later from an injury — there is one thing I truly understand as a result of piecing my health back together and studying the Eastern healing sciences.

What I want to share with you is the physical dynamics of emotions — how emotions travel through the body, what emotions stress and undermine which organs, and how unresolved emotional experiences can literally get trapped inside the body. Emotions are a form of energy, and like all forms of energies they have a certain vibrational signature frequency. That vibrational frequency difference is what separates anger from fear, and sadness and grief from impatience. Our internal organs, also being forms of energy, vibrate at difference frequencies. That is what makes the liver, the liver, and not the lung or the foot.

When we have an emotional experience, that frequency moves through the body like waves move through water or sound moves through air. Our internal organs have the ability to register and digest those emotional frequencies. Different organs digest different emotions.

The Biology of Emotion

Here is a short schema that connects the dots between clusters of organs and the metabolizing of emotions. It is based on my experience of healing myself from two life-ending diagnoses, as well as my lifelong study of ayurvedic medicine.

Lungs and Rrespiratory System

The lungs and related airway passages are designed to digest the signature frequency of sadness and grief. That’s why we sigh or cry. When that organ has digested that emotion, it has taken the emotion in, then pulled from it what is needed, and last and most importantly, let the rest go for the recognized waste that it is. The natural post-digestive emotional by-products of sadness and grief are courage, self-confidence and self-assurance. These emotions are then absorbed internally and ultimately embodied.

Liver and Gall Bladder

Emotions they digest: danger, rage, jealousy, frustration, irritation and the like.
Healing results: Once these heated emotions are digested and the waste released, your body helps strengthen your spirit with the qualities of wisdom, understanding and self-awareness.

Spleen, Stomach and Pancreas

Emotions they digest: worry, anxiety, and feelings of being un-supported. That is why people get “butterflies” in the stomach when nervous; that emotion is literally being “stomached” in that exact location within the body.

Heart and Small Intestines

Emotions they absorb: the vibrations triggered by impatience and feelings of not enough.
Healing results of release: joy and inspiration.

Kidneys, Uterus and Bladder

Emotions they break down: fear and horror and other cold, paralyzing energies.
Healing results: expansive and unlimited creativity

Each vibrational frequency contains within it the seeds for a healthy, balanced and successful life. The challenge is to take the emotion in without judging it or the process. Let whatever is serving to you — whatever makes you a better, stronger, wiser person — travel to the deeper levels of your human experience. Now here comes the trickiest part.

The greater wisdom here is that there really is no “bad” emotion. Take an emotion that passes through you: Worry. Recognize whatever is not adding to your wisdom in that emotion for the waste that it is, and permit it to pass through. Fear. Allow the black mass to bring you the ability to create a fear-free existence, and do not hold on to the memory of feeling powerless. Fear is about being overwhelmed by the past. Anyone having a human emotional experience knows that being in right relationship with the digestive process of emotions is much easier said than done. Good thing we have a lifetime to practice.

As difficult as properly digesting highly-charged emotions can be, it does explain a lot. Could there be unresolved and unreleased sadness and grief behind that bronchitis that shows up every year? Are you consuming so much worry that you just cannot stomach it anymore, and that is what is really bothering your gut? All provocative and meaningful questions. The next time you visit your acupuncturist, and she tells you the liver meridian is weak or stressed, try using that information as a productive opportunity to share what is happening in your emotional life with your doctor. You may find yourself talking about and revealing the exact emotionally irritating energy vampire underlying the condition.

Ayurvedic practitioners and doctors of Oriental medicine have a vast knowledge of how to manage your physical issues. Most of them are eager to have their clients express a pro-active interest in what can done to achieve greater balance and health in the management of the physical body’s energy systems. For example, do not hesitate to ask them how to support the heart in releasing impatience. And when driving to that next appointment remember, as you are stuck on the freeway screaming at the traffic, “You’re making me late!” that you are assaulting your heart and small intestines.

The things to which you give your attention are where you are sending your power.

My specialty these days is a bit different. I have, by necessity, spent most of my life releasing and growing beyond the dysfunctional digestion of emotions. My strength and greatest skill is in understanding the power of what I give my attention to, and how that relationship determines how well I am or am not digesting the rest of my life. Presently, I help people understand and resolve the psycho-spiritual underpinnings of any limitation life may be throwing their way, be it psychical, emotional, relational, spiritual or concerning their life purpose.

The purpose of life is to grow beyond any limitation, while sharing more love, joy, compassion and wisdom. Of course, while you have a body you will want to do that while swallowing, stomaching and absorbing the nutrients and releasing the waste of your physical and emotion life. The good news is your human experience already comes with every form of digestive intelligence you need to get the job done.

About Vaishali:

As on Oprah & Friends XM, Vaishali is the author of Wisdom Rising (Purple Haze Press 2008) and You Are What You Love (Purple Haze Press 2006). She is also national health & wellness speaker, radio host on KTLK 1150am 11-noon Sundays (greater Los Angeles) and KEST (San Francisco). Vaishali is a certified practitioner of Chinese Medicine and East Indian Ayurveda medicine. Vai-shali is a faculty member of The Omega institute and The Kripalu Center. Her articles have been published in over a hundred publications worldwide. Visit or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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