Mapping human emotions in our body: where do we feel love, happiness, sadness, anger?

Close your eyes. And imagine the last time you fell madly in love or felt completely happy. Where did you feel the love? Perhaps you got butterflies in your stomach or your heart raced with excitement. Your mind was spinning or your eyes were sparkling.

Now think about the last time you were deeply sad or utterly angry at something or someone… in what parts of your body you could say the pain of these states of mind went? Perhaps you felt imobilized, shaky or dizzy.

A recent reaseaech shows how emotions impact our body: a team of scientists in Finland asked people to map out where they felt different emotions on their bodies and they found that the results were surprisingly consistent across cultures:

People reported that happiness and love sparked activity across nearly the entire body, while depression had the opposite effect: It dampened feelings in the arms, legs and head, and sometimes people have pain in their chest because of it.

Mapping emotions on the body showed that Love and Happiness have the energy to „make us warm all over. The team of scientists started with the analysis of basic emotions, such as happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, that form de building blocks for more complex feelings.

„Our emotional system in the brain sends signals to the body so we can deal with our situation,” says Lauri Nummenmaa, a psychologist at Aalto University who led the study.

„Say you see a snake and you feel fear. Your nervous system increases oxygen to your muscles and raises your heart rate so you can deal with the threat. It’s an automated system. We don’t have to think about it.”

So, emotions have to do with how we deal with the environment — threats and opportunities, as well as the other beings around us. We interact with all of these using both our body and our mind. Each emotion can activate a distinct set of body parts and the mind’s recognition of those patterns helps us understand what is happening to us. And, as we understand better, have more control over our mind and body and find the ways to feel better and more aware of what we are experiencing.

Find out more about the study here. To stay warm, do more of what makes you feel and share love and happiness.

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