We all know that emotions don’t live only in our heads. The hair on our arms tends to stand on end when we feel fear, and our stomachs flutter when we’re excited or nervous. Emotions clearly have a direct physiological effect on our bodies, and now a team of Finnish researchers has analyzed exactly how—and represented them in this visualization.

 Emotions in body

In a study recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, more than 700 participants were shown two blank silhouettes alongside words, movies, stories, and facial expressions. They were then asked to rate how they felt and where on their body they felt it, corresponding to the silhouettes. This created an overall picture of bodily responses to emotions.  More activity sees the color change from black to red to yellow, while decreasing activity is represented by an increasingly bright shade of blue.


The results, published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, tally with many of the experiences you’ve probably had: depression is linked with a deadening in the limbs, while shame induces bright spots on the cheeks. Sadness even features activity in the eyes, presumably representing the tears experienced by participants.


The researchers acknowledge that “[all] cultures have body-related expressions for describing emotional states” — such as “butterflies in the stomach” — that don’t necessarily have an actual physiological link, and thus, some of the feelings experienced by the participants could be societally influenced rather than organic. But, even though they can’t rule out such a possibility, the authors say the results of the study don’t agree with that argument. Researchers claim they found a strong consensus in physical responses to a given emotion in people from a range of cultural and linguistic backgrounds, (participants were drafted in from both Finland and Taiwan) suggesting that these are “universal sensation patterns triggered by activation of emotion systems” and are more likely a result of a biological basis for our response to emotions, rather than a cultural one.  That might mean a blush or maybe just a nerve sensation, but it’s something we all share.

Sources: Gizmodo & refinery29.com


More evidence that emotions are stored in the body.  EFT is an effective modality that relieves the negative emotions that we accumulate throughout life that can lead to weight gain, physical pain and chronic illness.

Christine Hunt



Christine Hunt is a Wellness Coach and Certified EFT Practitioner and has found that working with the whole person by combining mind/body work, dietary adjustments and movement provides her clients with the tools they need to lose weight (and keep it off) and positively transform their lives.  Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed.

Christine Hunt

An experienced Wellness Coach, Certified EFT and Certified Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner, Christine Hunt gets results for her clients that conventional therapies cannot. She takes the whole person approach when working with her clients to help them lose weight, get relief from chronic illness & pain, trauma/PTSD and addictions of all kinds. She has been a Certified Practitioner since 2013 and has done hundreds of sessions helping her clients to uncover and remove the obstacles to their problems with weight, illness, pain, addictions, traumas, relationships, grief/loss and financial security opening doors to their personal fulfillment and happiness. Contact her for a free, 15 minute consultation to learn why what she does works when other methods have failed. Christine works with her clients in person, by Skype or phone.  So, if you live away from the Annapolis, Maryland area, she can still work with you.