Ever wonder why you keep getting stuck in the same emotions or reliving the same experiences over and over even after you thought you’ve processed them?
In this video I’m going to discuss the CRUCIAL, but lesser known key to FULLY processing your emotions: somatic experiencing.
You can’t talk your way through emotions
Let’s start here.
verbalizing and talking or writing through is helpful for labeling things being able to concretize your experience.
HOWEVER feelings are literally physical sensations– entities that move through your actual body.
In order to release your emotions and detach from that trauma you’re experiencing it needs to pass through and out of your physical body.
Other animals have a physical release when traumatized, they shake or they pee. We know about the fight, flight, freeze response, but that is only step one.
That’s the body getting riled up, think of it as the warm up. the trauma taking place, is the workout, and then this is the part folks forget, as gymnast don’t think I didn’t notice. You need the cool down, the stretch- the release.
How I discovered this:
I almost got ran over by an SUV on my way to work. I took a few minutes to shake it off and cry and then I was able to continue my day. Because obviously my 17 meetings were SOOOO important.
It works on complex emotions too!
I had a really awful experience with a former roommate and I was doing everything I thought I was supposed to writing it out, talking to her, painting about it…
But I was still so angry everyday- it was literally affecting my work. I couldn’t focus because I was so mad. So one day I ran to the park and I just screamed into the trees. I swear I felt the cortisol drain out of my body finally.
There was still more healing in the months that followed, but I never felt that same physical heat that I was living in everyday. Any time I started to feel tension in body about it. I just danced like Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
All the talking and writing was just strengthening the memory of this trauma all the while not addressing that critical last step to fully process your emotions!
Release it from your body.
Here’s what you can do
- shake, dance, scream, stretch, fight preferably in a warehouse you have access to for some inexplicable reason
- throw a temper tantrum. I have been advocating for adult temper tantrums -so long as they are isolated- my whole life.
- find yourself an energy worker.
I recommend really big movements, dramatic, full attention requiring movements to leave your mind out of it
This applies to all emotions, none are too complex to make somatic experiencing work
If you feel like you’ve done all the things, but you’re still stuck circling this one specific trauma, it might be that it’s stuck in your body and you need to physically release it.
This isn’t to say this is the only tool. As I mentioned talking writing is helpful so you can look at the thing. Just remember that feelings are literally felt.