Why Your Mind & Body Are Not Separate: Emotional Energy Centers of the Body.


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Your mind and body aren’t two separate entities. They work together in a symbiotic relationship. This isn’t news to anyone, right?

We talk about feeling things in “our guts.” We talk about a lump in our throat when we are upset. Our daily language illustrates this, but how often do we ignore what our bodies are telling us?

This graphic is one depiction of some of the places in our bodies that emotions get stuck or stored. I find as a massage therapist, that each person is unique, and that while there are patterns, each body has its own way of making sense of things.

While I don’t believe that every disease and ailment is a result of emotional distress, it’s always worth taking a second look at what’s going on internally when you notice chronic pain patterns in your body.

For more:

Buddhism: 50% of your State of Mind is dependent on your Posture.

A Relephant Read:

“Enlightenment is Simple: the Synchronization of Body, Speech & Mind, Harnessed to the Present Moment.”

> Or, What does your Body look like when it feels these 14 basic Emotions? [Image]


Byron Katie shows us how “The Work” takes us beyond positivity & negativity: 

The Art of Focusing: 


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Kate Bartolotta

Kate Bartolotta is a wellness cheerleader, yogini storyteller, and self-care maven. She also writes for Huffington Post, Yoga International, Mantra Yoga+ Health, a beauty full mind, The Good Men Project, The Green Divas, The Body Project, Project Eve, Thought Catalog and Soulseeds. Kate's books are now available on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com. She is passionate about helping people fall in love with their lives. You can connect with Kate on Facebook and Instagram.


51 Responses to “Why Your Mind & Body Are Not Separate: Emotional Energy Centers of the Body.”

  1. Bob Moore says:

    Great illustration! One question, though: given that the related areas of the body appear asymmetric, are we looking at the front or the back of the body in this diagram? For example. can we expect to find the ‘Anger Center’ on the left side of the back, or on the right side of the front?

  2. thoreau says:

    The only reason the body exists is to carry out the desires of the mind.

  3. Sara says:

    This rings very true for me…Thank you for sharing…

    I LOVE your profile and already think you're awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep on planting DANDYlions!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. GeoffOfOz says:

    Where can i find out more about this sort of stuff? I am trying to more formally integrate this into my work and would like to do bit of research

  5. […] are tolerating and accepting things we don’t want or are no longer serving us. Because of the mind-body connection, our colon starts to emulate ourselves and our actions. It starts taking more than it actually […]

  6. Ally Walker says:

    geoffofoz, myss.com would be my recommendation. google search is your friend haha:) excellent intentions and gratitude to the gal who chose to write about this subject! it's been really helpful for me to realize how destructive it is for our growth and healing to avoid and/or delay the work needed to further the mission of having a heart and mind that are congruent. i recently read a book by caroline myss and a lot of the book was devoted to correlating the energy centers to many different religious cultures which don't even use the word "chakra" 🙂 as well, in case that word repels ya:) caroline is pretty blunt and she constantly makes fun of the "new-agers" but they still love her so much b/c of the content that she addresses. i just googled "caroline myss diagram energy centers" and this flash presentation came up which has a lot of detail 🙂 http://www.myss.com/chakra/chakrasflash.asp – i'd love to see the author do a follow up article or even a series of articles, maybe 10. Here is another article where she talks a little about the less talked about chakras #8-10 🙂 http://www.natural-connection.com/resource/yoga_j

  7. Ally Walker says:

    sorry to be so log-winded but one more thing i would add. let's just say for argument's sake that negative emotions can contribute to most diseases, not just the usual suspects like a stroke or high blood pressure. add into that the different reasons we have emotions possibly can affect the body in different ways. I agree with some of what the image says, but it's a little misleading b/c it is simplified so much. a google search on "caroline myss emotional centers" leads to some interesting places, but for example, i think, caroline would say that when we are expressing anger and fear, that's actually coming mostly from a place that is lower than the location that the image suggests, and that, for example, if that anger or fear connects directly to refusing to see something, for example, well, maybe the body will respond and try to speak to mind and heart that are thinking and/or feeling in a disempowering way, via a health problem with the eyes:) i maybe about just talking out of my ass and emotionally, that is some crap potentially, and if that upsets you i say, let it go, poop it out before it makes u ill hahaha

  8. jon says:

    this is silly and backed up by no peer reviewed medical research, emotional energy centers = fake

    • Hi Jon, there is actually a great deal of research on this, though the infographic doesn't go into great detail. Caroline Myss is one good source, as is Robert Sapolsky. There are also many studies comparing dermatomes and acupuncture/acupressure meridians and reported pain patterns by PTSD sufferers that support much of this data.

    • tom says:

      If u trying to explain it by research. Neither u can say it fake nor true. if there is no proof either way through methods that speak to u.

    • ben says:

      Hey jon, you don’t have to constantly seek scientific validation for you ideas and beliefs. You rational mind is supported by your intiuitive mind and feelings . As even what I say here you can argue there is no proof or decide you like how that feels for you .

      Thoughts and emotions can be in harmony and support each other . Wishing you well on your journey of life. Ben

    • Pixiebud80 says:

      Actually there is research that shows a very high percentage of people with chronic abdominal pain of unknown origin have had a history of molestation and sexual abuse.

  9. […] has fought back from two strokes in three years and suffers from high blood pressure and osteoporosis. Nevertheless, she was determined to make the trek in order to exercise her right to […]

  10. […] or the pang in your heart center when you are sad or embarrassed? The chart below, courtesy of elephantjournal.com, shows exactly where emotions are stored in the body. Learning where emotions are stored might help […]

  11. […] very often it is our emotions that are wreaking havoc on our bodies—much more than any amount of exercise we can do—and they are stressing our internal […]

  12. […] was at that moment, as he held my gaze, that I realized the true meaning of the mind-body connection and the wisdom of what he was […]

  13. […] so does my grief. The frustration of being a victim has caused an avalanche of other bodily, emotional crap, but it didn’t and won’t take away my soul. I have a vision. I have a light and it comes from […]

  14. […] therapists and body workers have noticed patterns that are typical for most, but then each person is unique. Each body contains its own road map of past joy and […]

  15. […] week was transformative. It taught me about the oneness of body and mind, how one relies and influences the […]

  16. Jigme Chodron says:

    Interesting how some of these are in the same area as the chakras.

  17. Lori says:

    If you want the actual scientific information about how emotion is related to the body and vice versa, I would highly recommend this lecture series by Stanford Professor Robert Sapolsky. This particular lecture (14. Limbic System) http://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=relmfu&v=C… focuses on the centers of emotion in the brain and if you start around 1:08:45 or so, you will find out more about the connections the hypothalumus has to all areas of this system and around 1:13:40 he starts to talk about the James-Lang theory of how stimulus from the body is actually Interpreted by the brain to "define" the experience in terms of "emotion". This begins to answer the question "How do you know what you're feeling?" and in effect, it is because your Body tells you. I have my own anecdotal evidence for this, but I will leave it to readers and viewers to come to their own conclusions. I have yet to complete the whole series myself, although I intend to, and I am keeping a copy of this image for "future reference" and if by chance what is explained in these lectures correlates to what is illustrated then I may do some of my own writing about it at some point in the future here: http://thebluemoonturtleblog.blogspot.com/…but don't hold your breath, because it might be a while!

    • beliefvstruth says:

      That there is a connection between the mind, emotions and physical ailments (e.g. physical consequences of stress, etc) is not in dispute and is very provable and measurable using legitimate science. But using that general fact to justify this highly elaborate, specific and unprovable diagram is wrong in my view. Without evidence you are left only with belief and the fact that the producer of this diagram may believe it to be correct does not make it so. As a scientist I take issue with this type of "therapeutic analysis" as I consider it at best to be frivolous spiritual invention and at worst fraudulent. I would criticise a whole raft of other "alternative" practices e.g. homeopathy, in the same way.

  18. Lori says:

    Sorry, here's that last blog address again as the "…but" was not supposed to be linked to it: http://thebluemoonturtleblog.blogspot.com/

  19. Brilliant. Made me pull out _Eastern Body Western Mind_, which has been begging for my attention since I bought it. Thanks for the inspiration.

  20. Thanks for sharing. Great illustration. It really tells how emotion related to physical body's response.

  21. Drew Vetter says:

    Wonderful, thanks for posting… I was wondering if you have a source like this for pain beyond our torso in our extremities such as knees, elbows, hands, feet?

  22. Lucas says:

    I have a thought…Maybe make one of these diagrams that explains the healthy function of these regions of the body instead of depicting only the disease that we might carry? You know, like, not so negative? We are all working towards wellness, not away from disease, so giving us the ultimate destination might be really useful. Cheers.

    • Jesse says:

      I love this point! Love it! I suppose in wellness nothing stands out so much as the whole body is integrated……

    • I think (from what I have noticed in my own body and with clients) when we are experiencing the positive aspects that are the flip sides of these, we feel opening up and softening, loosening in those areas. Where deeply held fear might feel like tightness or a knot in the stomach, a peaceful release of that fear might feel like finally being able to exhale and breathe freely, and having comfort in that area.

    • JohnH says:

      What Kate is referring to is the concept of "psychological armoring" that was pioneered by Wilhelm Reich and refined by Alexander Lowen and others as Bioenergetic Analysis. The basis is that mental, emotional trauma becomes "frozen" in our bodies because it was either too powerful or too unsafe to be felt at the time of the experience. As Kate mentions, when these "negative" pools of past trauma are released and expressed, then the body's energies return to free flowing expression again which is generally experienced as joy and vitality. Rolfing, deep tissue massage, yoga are all good ways to facilitate the dismantling of our emotional armoring. Another aspect of Bioenergetics Analysis is the concept of physical "grounding" – connecting one's body to the earth so we can open to and tolerate greater levels of emotional intensity or "charge". Our bodies will only allow us to experience what we can tolerate. We have to become grounded or we will start to pop our breaker switches and shut down our energy levels. I highly recommend Dr. Lowen's book, "The Spirituality of the Body" which gives both the theory and physical exercises to facilitate expression and groundedness. http://books.google.com/books/about/Spirituality_

  23. Magnolia Polley says:

    I am so glad you articulated this…me: massage therapist/writer as well…Glad this got did! <3 sending lots of support your way! bless~magnolia polley

  24. judy says:

    I would like to print this article. Is that possible?

  25. beejolly says:

    those are the chakras

  26. H.Bodini says:

    Beautifull article. It reminded me of the work of Gerda Boyesen. Look her up if you don’t know her. Very enlightening.

  27. Tony says:

    I agree with Lucas. Does this imply that your body 'only' carries what are deemed as negative emotions and experiences? I'd love to see a diagram such as this that outlines the areas such as: "my happy place", my area where I hold joy and peace", the area where I hold love", "the area where I hold beauty". Is it a stretch to think that maybe putting energy into a diagram such as this maybe, just maybe, reinforces such feelings as these? Maybe it's about time we all took responsibility for creating diagrams such as this and admit that by doing so we are creating that type of world. My belly is happy!

    • I mentioned to Lucas above, but will re-post here:

      I think (from what I have noticed in my own body and with clients) when we are experiencing the positive aspects that are the flip sides of these, we feel opening up and softening, loosening in those areas. Where deeply held fear might feel like tightness or a knot in the stomach, a peaceful release of that fear might feel like finally being able to exhale and breathe freely, and having comfort in that area.

  28. Sorry, no – this is not right at all!
    Please: Know your limits!! I am a certified Psychologist .. and this is crude esoteric ideas …
    you can do both: love yoga and love science …

    • JohnH says:

      Stephan, for a more eloquent analysis and therapy treatment visit the Bioenergetics Analysis Association site: http://www.bioenergetic-therapy.com/index.php/en/ It is extensive depth therapy and emcompasses everything Kate mentions in her article. Sadly, much of the cognitive-behavioral therapy currently in vogue attempts to bypass the body and fails to reach deep emotional trauma. You might also be interested in Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, http://pryt.com/, that uses yoga asanas and breathing exercises to release emotional armoring.

  29. zasha d says:

    Huh? Wait got to go back and read it again? I think I am lost? Lol

  30. chappy says:

    Tony. I like this idea, especially in terms of balance. I'd also like us to consider these 'negative' things as potential signals to areas of our lives which may need some attention and perhaps change which then makes them helpful rather than just something to fear or to eradicate or make judgments about. I love the idea of identifying places where we hold joy and peace … or love … or beauty. Balance, rather than exclusivity, in both of these ideas is optimal

  31. GIJane says:

    I can concur with diagram and definitely relate. Just returned from deployment in Kuwait. Was sexually harassed and assaulted. Living conditions unbearable, my husband cheated while I was gone. My blood pressure was at one time 184/130 I started having vertigo and blackouts. I lost 20 lbs and have since found it plus some since returning. I have terrible stress and knots have begun forming in my neck and shoulders. I cannot sleep and I am going to try some of the recommended relaxation yoga techniques because the meds I'm on only make me feel like a zombie and just tired and weak. But Thank you for sharing. No doubt this will change my health and perspective on getting better.

    • Hey Jane, you may get some benefit from finding a breath practitioner. Breathing consciously is a tool which has been used for millennia to release backed up tension and stored emotional stress in the body. Some of the modern breath practices are called Rebirthing, Holotropic or Transformational Breathing. It is simple and effective as a way of clearing the system of what is no longer needed. After working for 15 years with breathwork personally and professionally, I am convinced that the body is designed to self-heal under the right conditions. I wish you all the best on your journey of self-healing. Kindly, Natalia Brown

  32. elaine says:

    Love it! Explains so much about my yoga practice (e.g., what is difficult or easy for me)!

  33. Cam says:

    What this idea can do, along with the karma theory, is blame people for their pain as they just haven't sorted out their "issues". Instead research such as Pain gate theory is just one of many ideas that can actually help people understand chronic pain.

  34. Carlee says:

    What about the head?

  35. Chiel says:

    Whoa! Where did all the good stuff go!!??

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