The Emotional Toll When We Misread What Our Bodies Are Telling Us

Kate Murphy, ‘The Emotional Toll When We Misread What Our Bodies Are Telling Us’,, The Wall Street Journal. – WSJ, Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (Aug. 13, 2022)

If your heart has ever ached with longing, your stomach churned with anxiety or your face flushed with anger, you know emotions can be as much about physiology as psychology. (…) Problems arise, however, when we become insensitive to, or misconstrue, those inner, or interoceptive, cues. (…) Mounting scientific evidence suggests such inaccuracies in how the brain responds to the avalanche of interoceptive signals it receives underlie a host of emotional and behavioral problems, including anxiety and depression as well as addiction, panic, post-traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. (…) If you have poor interoception, your brain has a hard time figuring out the source of your discomfort and taking care of the problem. You may feel uneasy and depressed but you can’t really sort out why. (…) Our interoceptive senses are murkier than we think. (…) This murkiness isn’t helped by our culture of busyness and distraction, which seems to have encouraged an increasing disconnect between our bodies and ourselves. For many it is a way of life, if not a badge of honor, to ignore bodily signals to rest, eat, or even to give and receive love. (…) Promising treatments, typically provided under the supervision of a psychologist or occupational or physical therapist, involve helping patients become more in tune with their bodies by having them engage in activities that make their internal signals more pronounced.