in the large muscles in legs?!
Wow. And, this is proven.
I’ve been reading this interesting book (thank you) Emotional Awareness by The Dalai Lama and Paul Ekman, Ph.D and it reminded me of some of my coursework in emotional psychology. As described, not only do our emotions have a corresponding facial gesture but, they usually have a corresponding bodily response. Anger has been linked to the hands and arms. Fear is felt in the large muscles in the legs.
It has been hypothesised that these responses are evolutionary. It would be good to activate your leg muscles if you need to flee from a dangerous situation. Lions. And tigers. And bears. Oh my!
Except now, we do not live in the same kind of world. So our response may seem prehistoric.
But, it doesn’t have to be. It is information.
Ekman argues, and I agree, that, when you are experiencing an emotion “you can learn to be sensitive to the difference in how your body feels”. There are many meditation and mindfulness techniques that cultivate this by increasing body awareness and mental acuity. He talks about how bring your consciousness in by watching with “meta-attentiveness.” Ekman states: “I believe that we can develop the ability to be attentive so it will become a habit, a standard part of our lives. When that happens, we will feel more in touch, and better able to regulate our emotional life.” Following, the more sensitive and tuned in we are, the more likely it is we not only survive but thrive.
So when you feel it, where do you feel it? What in fact is actually going on?
That’s a lot more valuable than fight or flight.