Releasing Stressful Emotions

A couple of days ago I was reading some Sutter Hospice literature offering “’Tools’ to Help You Cope with Grief.”  It said, “Honor the messages your body gives you.  Unexpressed words or tears can cause lumps in your throat;  anger held inside can cause a headache or upset stomach.”

Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
Photo courtesy of Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

The message to me is that the mind – heart – body connection is strong.

I thought back through all of the folks in my life who have had chronic stomach and bowel upset.  For years, I myself lived with a lump of unexpressed words and tears in my throat.

Recently I had a client who came in with chronic stomach upset.

As I sat listening, empathically reflecting back her feelings and needs, over the course of the hour, I witnessed her burping and burping.  I asked her about the burping.  She said that normally doesn’t happen.

I told her that I was guessing that her belly was releasing stressful emotions – they were coming up and out.

I am continually amazed and gratified by the healing power of empathy. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “The most important thing is that we need to be understood.  We need someone to be able to listen to us and to understand us.  Then we will suffer less.”

I’m guessing that is what my client was feeling – understood.  Then there was the space inside to metabolize and release her stressful emotions.

How about you, is your need for being understood, for what’s important to you, met?

In peace and love, Teresa

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