Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF

Enhance emotional awareness and improve coping skills with our Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF template. Download now!

By Nate Lacson on Apr 08, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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Can we feel physical sensations due to emotions?

Emotions are not just mental experiences; each one can also manifest as a bodily sensation. When we feel emotions, our brain communicates with our body, triggering physiological responses. For example, when we are nervous, we might feel butterflies in our stomach, or when we are angry, our face might become flushed. These physical sensations are a natural part of our emotional experiences, engaging the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and triggering physiological changes.

Why does this happen?

The connection between emotions and physical sensations has evolutionary and neurobiological origins. Our ancestors relied on this connection to respond to external stimuli and survive in their environment.

For instance, fear is associated with different emotions and could trigger a fight-or-flight response, preparing the body to confront or flee a threat. This response involves releasing adrenaline, a hormone that increases mental alertness, prepares muscles for action, accelerates heart rate, and boosts energy supply by releasing glucose into the bloodstream. It also diverts blood flow from non-essential functions to vital organs, heightening senses and readiness for immediate action.

These automatic responses are deeply ingrained in our physiology and are closely tied to our emotional states. This link between emotions and bodily responses is still present in our modern lives, even though the stimuli we encounter might be different.

What bodily regions are related to which emotions?

The connection between emotions and bodily sensations is not just a subjective experience; it's grounded in scientific research. Studies, such as the one conducted by Nummenmaa et al., have used "bodily maps of emotions" to demonstrate that different emotions are associated with distinct patterns of bodily sensations. These patterns are culturally universal, suggesting a universal biological basis for emotional experiences.

The research identified specific bodily regions that are activated or deactivated in response to different emotions:

  • Happiness: Activation is experienced throughout the body, especially in the face, chest, and arms. This widespread sensation reflects the expansive, inclusive nature of happiness.
  • Sadness: Sensations of decreased energy and heaviness are often felt in the arms, legs, and chest, mirroring the withdrawing and introspective nature of sadness.
  • Anger: Increased sensations in the hands, arms, and chest correspond to the body's preparation for a confrontational response.
  • Fear: The chest and abdominal regions show heightened activation, reflecting the body's readiness for flight or fight.
  • Disgust: The throat and digestive system often register strong sensations, reflecting the body's rejection response.
  • Surprise: The upper body, especially the face and chest, shows increased activation, mirroring the alertness and readiness to respond to unexpected events.

These "bodily sensation maps" (BSMs) provide a fascinating insight into how our emotions are felt in the body. They underscore the integral role of the autonomic nervous system in emotional experiences and offer a potential avenue for understanding and treating emotional disorders.

Can physical sensations lead to problems?

No one has positive emotions all the time, and though negative emotions are normal, physical sensations associated with negative emotions can sometimes lead to problems. Here are a few examples:

  1. Chronic stress: Constantly feeling stressed can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, muscle tension, and fatigue.
  2. Anxiety disorders: People with anxiety disorders may experience excessive physical symptoms, such as rapid heartbeat and sweating, even when there is no real threat.
  3. Depression: Physical symptoms like changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and low energy can be common in people with depression.
  4. Somatization: Some individuals may experience physical symptoms without a clear medical cause, often as a way to express emotional distress.
  5. Social consequences: Physical symptoms of emotions (especially anger, fear, and disgust) can sometimes be visible to others, leading to embarrassment or social isolation.

By understanding the link between your emotional state and physical sensations, you can better manage your emotional and physical well-being.

Printable Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF

Download this Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF to enhance the therapeutic experience for mental health professionals and their clients.

Why should we identify sensations associated with our emotions?

Identifying related bodily sensations to emotions is crucial for several reasons:


Recognizing the physical sensations linked to our emotions enhances our self-awareness. It helps us understand our emotional responses and their impact on our bodies, leading to better self-regulation and emotional intelligence.


Understanding our emotions and their associated sensations allows us to communicate our feelings more effectively to others. It enables us to express ourselves clearly and seek support when needed.

Emotional regulation

Identifying sensations associated with emotions can aid in emotional regulation. By acknowledging these sensations, we can employ coping strategies to manage intense emotions and prevent them from overwhelming us.

Mental health

Recognizing and addressing the physical manifestations of our emotions is essential for maintaining mental health. It can help in the early detection of emotional distress and prevent the development of more severe mental health issues.


Our emotions and their physical sensations can influence our decision-making. By being aware of these sensations, we can make more informed and rational decisions, avoiding impulsive actions driven by unchecked emotions.

In summary, properly identifying sensations associated with our emotions is fundamental to emotional well-being, effective communication, and overall mental health. It empowers individuals to navigate their emotional landscape with greater clarity and control.

Examples of body sensations associated with emotions

The connection between emotions and physical sensations is a fascinating aspect of human psychology. Here are examples related to the six basic emotions that illustrate how various emotions can manifest as sensations in topographically distinct body regions:

  1. Surprise: As you get home, you open the front door and step into your darkened house. Suddenly, the lights switch on, loud popping sounds go off, and you hear several voices yell "Happy birthday!" As a result, you jump on your toes, your heart races, and you feel suddenly awake with a jolt of energy.
  2. Fear: You're camping in the woods, and as you lie in your tent at night, you hear a rustling outside. Your mind immediately imagines a wild animal lurking nearby. A chill runs down your spine, your breathing becomes rapid, and your muscles tense up, readying you to either flee the tent or defend yourself.
  3. Anger: During a team meeting, a colleague unjustly criticizes your project in front of everyone using snarky remarks. You feel your face flush with anger, and your voice grows louder as you argue. Your hands clench into fists under the table, you sit up as you try to shout them down, and you feel a surge of adrenaline that makes you want to just stand up and smash your clenched fist into their face.
  4. Sadness: You receive a phone call about a close friend's sudden passing. As you sit there in disbelief, a profound sadness envelops you. Tears stream down your face, your shoulders slump, and you feel an overwhelming desire to withdraw from the world and mourn in solitude.
  5. Disgust: You're at a restaurant, and as you eat, the meat tastes sour and feels slimy. You realize the meat is spoiled. You immediately feel nauseated, your face contorts in disgust, and you push the plate away. A wave of queasiness hits you, and you reach for your water, trying to rid your mouth of the foul taste.
  6. Happiness: You're walking through the park on a sunny day, surrounded by blooming flowers and laughing children. A feeling of contentment washes over you, bringing a smile to your face and a lightness to your step. You take a deep breath, feeling relaxed and at peace with the world around you.

By recognizing these physical sensations associated with emotions, individuals can become more aware of their emotional states and learn to manage their responses more effectively.

How to use our Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF template

Using our Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF template is a straightforward process designed to enhance the therapeutic experience for mental health professionals and their clients. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1: Download the template

Access and download the template from Carepatron's template library or from the link below. Ensure you have the latest version for the most up-to-date content and layout. You can access it via the Carepatron app, too.

Step 2: Familiarize yourself with the template

Before using the template with clients, take some time to familiarize yourself with its structure and content. Understand how the basic emotions are linked to related emotions and physical sensations.

Step 3: Introduce the template to your client

Explain the purpose of the template to your client. Highlight how understanding the connection between emotions and physical sensations can aid in emotional regulation and self-awareness. Acquaint them with the bodily sensations map, as well.

Step 4: Guide your client through the template

As your client explores the template, encourage them to reflect on their own experiences with each emotion and the associated physical sensations. Provide support and guidance as needed to help them accurately identify their feelings and bodily responses.

Step 5: Discuss the insights

After your client has completed the template, discuss the insights gained. Explore how this awareness can be applied in their daily life to manage emotions more effectively.

Step 6: Incorporate findings into treatment plan

Use the information gathered from the template to tailor your client's treatment plan. Incorporate strategies that address the specific emotions and sensations they struggle with.

Step 7: Revisit and update

Regularly revisit the template with your client to update it with new emotions and sensations as they become more attuned to their emotional and physical states. This ongoing process can contribute to their personal growth and emotional well-being.

Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF example (sample)

Carepatron has created a sample Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF template filled with fictitious patient and healthcare professional information. This sample serves as a reference for mental health professionals and their patients or clients, demonstrating how to document and understand the physical sensations associated with various emotions.

By using this template, therapists and clients can work together to identify and address emotional responses and their physical manifestations.

Download our free Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF example here.

can contribute to their personal growth and emotional well-being. Body Sensations Associated With Emotions PDF example (sample)

Coping techniques to manage physical responses to emotions

Managing the physical responses to emotions is crucial for maintaining emotional balance and overall well-being. Here are some coping techniques that can help:

Deep breathing

When emotions trigger physical sensations like a racing heart or tightness in the chest, deep breathing can help calm the body. Inhale slowly through the nose, hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through the mouth.

Progressive muscle relaxation

This technique involves tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups in the body. It can help reduce muscle tension and physical discomfort associated with emotions like anger or anxiety.

Mindfulness meditation

Practicing mindfulness can help individuals stay present and grounded, reducing the intensity of emotional and physical responses. Focus on the breath or a specific object to anchor the mind and bring awareness to the present moment.

Physical activity

Engaging in physical activities, such as walking, jogging, or yoga, can release tension and improve mood. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.

Grounding techniques

When emotions feel overwhelming, grounding techniques can help bring attention back to the present. This can include focusing on the sensations of your feet touching the ground, holding a cold object, or savoring the taste of a piece of fruit.


Imagine a peaceful and calming scene, such as a beach or a forest. Visualization can help shift focus away from distressing emotions and physical sensations, promoting relaxation.


Writing about emotions and their associated physical sensations can provide an outlet for expressing feelings and help identify patterns and triggers.

By incorporating these coping techniques into their routine, individuals can learn to manage their physical responses to emotions more effectively, improving emotional regulation and overall well-being.

Why use Carepatron as your therapy and mental health software?

Choosing Carepatron as your therapy and mental health practice management software offers numerous benefits that can enhance your professional experience and improve patient care. Here are some reasons why Carepatron stands out as a top choice:

  • Comprehensive appointment scheduling: Carepatron's calendar feature allows practitioners to schedule appointments with ease, view everyone's appointments, and even sync personal calendars. Clients can book appointments directly through a shared link, and automated reminders ensure that everyone is on track.
  • Secure and Private: With robust security measures in place, Carepatron ensures that all patient data is kept confidential and secure. Compliance with healthcare regulations, such as HIPAA, guarantees that privacy standards are met.
  • Billing and Payments: Carepatron simplifies payments with its integrated billing and coding system, with auto-generated billing documents and receipts, a record of invoices, and a payment portal for clients. Integrated with Stripe, it ensures a smooth payment process for both practitioners and clients.
  • Telehealth: With integration with Zoom and Google Meet, as well as its own web conferencing capabilities, Carepatron makes telehealth sessions convenient and accessible for both patients and your team members. This feature expands your reach and provides flexibility for remote consultations.

By choosing Carepatron as your therapy and mental health software, you're investing in a tool that not only enhances your practice management but also supports your mission to provide exceptional care to your clients.

Embrace the future of therapy and mental health with Carepatron. Download now and elevate your practice!

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Braman, L. (2020, August 14). Emotion sensation feeling wheel - printable feelings wheel resources for adults and kids.

Nummenmaa, L., Glerean, E., Hari, R., & Hietanen, J. K. (2013). Bodily maps of emotions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(2), 646–651.

Souza, H. F. de. (2023, November 30). Mapping emotions in the body: Study reveals physical topography of feelings. News-Medical.

How do emotions affect the body?
How do emotions affect the body?

Commonly asked questions

How do emotions affect the body?

Emotions can trigger physical sensations, such as a racing heart when anxious or a warm feeling when happy, due to the body's response to various neurotransmitters and hormones.

How do you release negative emotions from your body?

Negative emotions can be released through techniques like deep breathing, physical exercise, mindfulness meditation, or seeking support from a mental health professional.

What happens when you suppress your emotions for too long?

Suppressing emotions for too long can lead to physical and mental health issues, such as increased stress, anxiety, depression, and even physical symptoms like headaches or digestive problems.

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