Several days ago I shared the helpful video I had the good fortune to run across. It was an interview with Jennifer Kolari and can be found here.
I’m still thinking about some things she shared that impacted me most.
I did take notes but they are in the form of phrases, just enough to remind me of the thoughts I didn’t want to forget. I won’t be able to share the clear or complete explanations contained in the video. I refer you back to the video for that wealth of information. (This is my disclaimer: much hereafter is on me, the author can’t be blamed for any issues or misunderstandings. I do want to give her credit for the good parts though.)
One of the first significant phrases was “your body keeps the score”. There are many reasons why our brains do not retain memories, especially of traumatic events, but our bodies remember everything Jennifer says. I have never thought about it quite like that before (stored in the body rather than in the brain) but I have always been convinced that some part of me does remember all the things I don’t or won’t.
Another point, in regard to the out of proportion reactions we often have to people, situations, comments etc. — we need to find healing before we can learn how to respond rather than react. I totally get this. I’ve been working on it in my life for quite some time and lately have seen positive changes in my thoughts and actions. I appreciate what she is about to say on how to go about doing this.
Jennifer says “to heal it you’ve got to feel it.” I agree, and to do that we have to give ourselves permission to feel our emotions. Most of us have learned to push down and bottle up our feelings. Typically, over time the feelings fester and eventually erupt into something much worse than they were originally.
So here’s the part I’ve not heard expressed quite this way. She says we feel love with our heart and we feel fear with our gut. I guess I haven’t really thought about the heart response because the feelings there would be positive and pleasant. I have definitely noticed negative changes in the gut though. When I’m feeling anxious things definitely do not feel pleasant in my digestive area.
She says one of the reasons for this concept to be plausible is due to neurons.
Apparently both the heart and the gut have neurons, who knew. I did a little internet research and here’s what I found.
According to several sources, including sciencemag.org the gut contains millions of neurons and is directly connected to the brain. The vagus nerve is one of the largest nerves carrying messages back and forth at a dizzying rate. The site linked above is as recent as 2018. If we feel fear or anxiety there will be a reaction in the gut. For some of us it morphs into painful intestinal disorders and other similar diseases.
The heart similarly has a large number of neurons but it also has it’s own nervous system and brain. Sometimes called the little brain according to heartmath.org. In 1991 a scientist made this discovery. The heart and the head brain are also sending a dizzying number of message back and forth.
Wow! I have to say this little bit of exploration done in order to speak intelligently to Jennifer’s comments regarding the gut and the heart, has opened up a whole new world of information. It’s calling out to me, to look into it more and more thoroughly.
Bottom line for the original subject of this post; to be emotionally healthy it helps to understand how the heart and gut are tied to our thoughts and memories. We feel love in our heart, we feel fear in our gut. When we react to people rather than respond, which part of our body is involved? Most often it will be fear, the gut. The next question is what happened to us to cause this reaction? How is it tied to our early life, what traumatized us. A dog? Lost? Abused? What?
Jennifer’s point is that if we can figure out the originating event and allow ourselves to feel the irrational fear it will lose it’s power over us and we can move on. Feel the fear of the dog, the bully, the dark, whatever it is.
Here’s a little teaser about the heart brain.
I’m not sure if I have been able to stay on subject well enough to make sense but I hope so.
I think the main take away is that our emotional well being affects our physical well being. After that, it becomes a vicious cycle. Learning to read the signs and figuring out what to do to alleviate/repair issues and memories, can be life changing.
Check out the interview and the other links to learn more about this fascinating subject.