In my 20-plus years as a journalist, I have established a love/hate relationship with deadlines. They make me anxious, fidgety and sometimes neurotic; and yet, being on a timer has allowed me to thrive creatively and produce some of my best work.
It may be a state of mind, but a new study suggests feeling anxious (or sad or surprised) also may trigger bodily sensations. Finnish researchers have revealed how emotions are ‘mapped’ in the body. For instance, being happy or in love sends pleasurable sensations throughout the body—the feel of being ‘warm all over.’ While unpleasant emotions like fear and anxiety send activity to the neck and shoulder areas, creating that stiffness in the lower neck and upper back.
Researchers say the results will provide a better understanding of emotional disorders and assist in their diagnosis. For us, it means validation that it’s not just in our minds. It may be the reason we feel tightness in the chest when we’re angry—or get those butterflies in the stomach at the sight of, say, Brad Pitt…did it just get warm in here?