Sob Your Head Off It’s Good For You
Expand your capacity to love!
You know those moments where no words can express or console your feelings; a deep guttural cry is the only way to pacify the hurt. It offers complete submersion into your feelings–separate from thinking–bringing solace to heartache. It’s as if, physically shedding tears makes room for mental resolution. And it is actually true–sobbing is a physical exorcism.
The deep muscular heave of a sob loosens the emotional grip of deep-seated beliefs trapped in your soft tissues. Beliefs misaligned with the present situation; beliefs that make you question love. (Yes, the body feels! The mind thinks.)
Even tears motivated by happiness, such as your daughter’s wedding day, there is a misaligned undercurrent belief causing the tears: you may have worried that she would not find a partner and be lonely her whole life; or on a more personal note, you may believe you’ll never attract the bliss of new love again in your life. Underlying beliefs are not always conscious.
The emotional undercurrent of mental beliefs runs through your body like a current that tumbles gracefully down the river. Misaligned beliefs create tensions that interfere with this emotional current, like a bend or jutting rock in the riverbed that creates a whirlpool. Physical holding patterns develop into pockets of tension that I refer to as psyche-muscular holding patterns. To release the pattern adjust your belief.
Easy right… just change your mind!
Not quite. First you need to release the physical tension holding the pattern in place!
Sobbing naturally creates that opportunity.
To create new beliefs, old beliefs need to first be released. A deep cry makes room for underlying feelings to surface, feelings you couldn’t access while holding yourself together. You begin to let go of the protective reason of thinking–the defensive self-talk that distances you from feeling love or loved. Your body’s feeling sense takes over and your mind is in a position to listen. This is a role reversal from how most of us operate in the world.
Think of it like this, attention is finite.
When your attention particles are all filled to the brim with excess thinking because nothing is making sense: life is overwhelmed with worry and doubt, or pent up fears are dominating your experience, there is nothing you can do but un-fill, undo, unwind–sob your head off! Thinking turns to feeling and you have a chance to consider if what you believe is actually so?
Keep this in mind the next time you’re sobbing your head off:
- Direct your attention to the essence of your feelings rather than the other person or your present situation.
- Allow your body to fully experience the physical wail–reclaim the child in you–and let go of needing to know all the answers.
- Keep it real–synthesize the heart’s joy and the lung’s sadness–allow them to coexist.
The hardwiring of beliefs around love comes down to the antagonistic emotional relationship between the heart and lungs. (Like people, every organ has its own personality!) Eastern healing principles recognize sobbing as an expression of sadness that lives in your lungs and the upheaval of joy that lives in your heart. What happens when we hold these emotions in is, we compress the chest muscles–the blanket that expresses the emotional condition of our heart and lungs. For this reason I call the chest muscles your Smile of Truth.
Signs that your Smile of Truth is becoming compromised:
- Concave chest & shallow breathing
- Protruding chest & rapid breathing
- Insecure sense of self
The release of tension that a good cry, meditation, stretching and relaxation all offer creates an “I don’t know” internal space where the certainty of our worries, doubts and fears once lived. Free attention can feel restorative or lonely and scary. Since tension is by nature character divulging, letting it go feels like letting a bit of you go. You revert to the innocence of your inner child and feel dependent on someone else’s wisdom to fill the “I don’t know” void. But that’s the great thing about being an adult. You have the wisdom to navigate through the “I don’t know” abyss. One thing is for sure, when you feel “I don’t know,” you can bet that you are in the midst of creating positive change.