BodyLogos Blog

Sob Your Head Off It’s Good For You

Human face cloaked in mesh

Human face under a cloak of confusion

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.

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Redefining Strength

I want to change our perception of strength. Strength is the ability to meet resistance and influence an outcome without compromising ourselves. And we already have it.

Strength is not an attribute; it’s a state of being. Gladiators, bodybuilders, and football players demonstrate strength through brute force, sheer willpower, muscle mass, and relentless pursuit. But we’re also quick to identify dancers and martial artists as strong. Their medium taps into a sense of vulnerability, balance, alignment, controlled power, and grace—but no one can deny their strength. Strength may look different on each of us, but it is an inherent part of who we are.

You are not weak by nature; you are stronger than you think. Your strength is not something you need to kill yourself to gain—it is already within you, waiting to be excavated. The key is to stop chasing something you already have and tap into it, so you can manifest that strength in your everyday life.

Because we don’t think we’re strong, we approach resistance with the idea that we’re not enough. We throw everything we have at it and push past our physical, mental, and emotional limitations. We see strength as domination, but it’s not.

When you learn to listen to your body’s divine wisdom, you cultivate a sense of where your body is developing tension instead of standing in its strength. You end the vicious cycle of unrealistic expectations, injury, and self-criticism and learn how to consciously embrace responsible growth. You stop compartmentalizing your strength into emotional, physical, and mental pieces and operate from the strength of your being at all times.

You learn how to align yourself with gravity—instead of working against it—so you can channel your strength to meet life’s resistance. As you meet resistance with equal parts power and alignment, you transform tension into strength

As in the sword dance above, the power lies in bringing just the right amount of force—not too little and not too much. By meeting the sword’s weight, I meet gravity. I am tapped into a larger source of energy, free of tension, and discover a strength that is wholly and uniquely mine.

About Tammy Wise

Tammy Wise is a widely respected mind-body fitness expert based out of New York City, owner of BodyLogos, Inc. author of The Art of Strength: Sculpt the Body ~ Train the Mind. A former Broadway dancer turned Tao minister, Tammy was voted the Best of Fitness by Time Out New York and has appeared in Martha Stewart’s Whole Living magazine, New York Magazine, Natural Health, Shape, and Thrive Global. She’s a Transformational Authors Contest Winner and regular contributor to Honeysuckle magazine and Medium. Visit her at bodylogos.com.