Whether we realize it or not, our bodies can take on visceral reactions from negative experiences in our environment. When we choose to ignore the tension we feel, these reactions can manifest in forms of stress, that take refuge in key points in our bodies. If the body is taking on this pain, it’s a clear sign that it’s not an affective decision to ignore one’s emotions and to expect them to go away.
If it were easy to identify psychosomatic disorders, there wouldn’t be an entire industry dedicated to treating them. It’s only common for many to carry on their lives with the physical burden of stress, and there are strategic trigger points that tend to take on the most tension. Identifying these points on the body that hold stress might reveal whether you’re someone who is inadvertently repressing negative feelings that need attention. Luckily, there are some ways to treat these trigger points, and once these symptoms are explored, hopefully the main cause behind it as well.
Pelvic Floor/Lower Back
One of the most common places to harbor repressed negative feelings is in the pelvic floor and hips. This can cause stress particularly in the lower back, hips, and a disconnection from your deep core. According to Psychology Today, when you don’t release emotions like frustration and anger, it collects specifically in this area. Goop also cites that “The hips are the root element that connect to our basic needs being met, our sense of security and physical freedom. Many people carry old pain, leftover memories or illusions, or old (at times ancient) disappointments in their hips.”
The key to overcoming this pain, if it is caused by emotional distress, is learning to constructively convey frustration and address conflicts with others when they occur.
Another place we often feel pain as a result of stress, is the stomach and intestines, or more simply, the gut. Since the stomach is sensitive and the powerhouse of our immune system, it’s important to identify what’s causing you discomfort in this area. Often, the stomach area is where we feel pain and tension as a result of fear, since when we’re nervous or frightened, we clench our gut. To tackle this issue, try discussing your fear or nerves with someone you trust to expel the anxiety from your body.
The neck is a key trigger point for containing our stress. Here, we experience most of the burden of stress, especially when we clench our jaws, which tightens the neck. It’s likely that you’re feeling overwhelmed or overburdened by something, if this is where you feel your discomfort. According to Goop, learning to use intuitive meditation and mantras that calm the brain, allows energy to flow through our body in a positive manner, that can affect the way we hold our neck.
Just as important to taking on stress are the shoulders, because they also bare the brunt of the impact of stress and anxiety. When we feel defeated, our shoulders tend to round forward or lift towards the ears, and we develop a compressed posture. Try to learn to ask for support when you need it, rather than taking the world on your shoulders.
Similarly to how our posture changes, how we hold our shoulders when we feel stress, also affects the chest. In the same defeated stance, our chest becomes compressed and our lungs constricted. As a result, we are left feeling out of breath, tired, and defeated. The tension in the chest may be relieved, once we voice our emotional pain that weighs on our heart, and causes us to feel like we can’t breathe.
We release our concerns, anxieties, and fears when we acknowledge them, and remembering to do this will help negate more serious complications in the future.