Physical Sensations Associated with Emotions:

It can be supportive to understand that physical sensations are associated with the emotions we may be experiencing, as with trauma we may lose our sense of feelings (due to dissociation). Locating what you are feeling in your body helps to ground your emotions in your body and get a deeper connection with yourself.


if your stomach churns, you have a strong nervous feeling in it because you are worried, afraid, or upset


if you are convulsed with a strong emotion, it makes your body move in an uncontrolled way


if your stomach flutters, you have an excited or nervous feeling in it

have/get/feel butterflies (in your stomach)

to feel very nervous or excited about something that you have to do, especially something important


used for talking about a feeling that you have in your stomach

the pit of your stomach

the place in your stomach where you experience unpleasant feelings when you are worried, upset, or frightened


if your nerves or stomach settle or are settled, they become calm again after you have felt upset, nervous, or excited

someone’s heart pounds/beats/thumps

used for saying that someone can feel their heart moving quickly because they are very excited or afraid

someone’s stomach churns/lurches/tightens

used for saying that someone suddenly has a strong feeling of fear, shock, or excitement


to suddenly hold your body in a stiff way, often because you become nervous, worried, angry, or unfriendly


to move back slightly from something that is unpleasant or frightening


to make a sudden small movement because you are afraid, surprised, or in pain

go hot and cold

to suddenly become very nervous, afraid, or confused about something


an uncomfortable feeling on your skin caused by an emotion


to be very afraid, often so afraid that your body shakes slightly


to feel so afraid that your body shakes slightly


to move quickly back from someone or something frightening or unpleasant


if you shake, your body makes lots of small quick movements that you cannot control, usually because you are cold, or because you are feeling a very strong emotion


if you shiver, your body shakes slightly, for example because you are cold or frightened; a shaking movement that your body makes when you are cold, frightened, or excited


if you shudder, your body suddenly shakes, for example because you suddenly feel cold or frightened; a quick uncontrolled shaking movement

start back

to make a sudden nervous movement away from someone or something that has frightened you


if your body or part of your body trembles, it shakes, usually because you are nervous, afraid, or excited


a slight shaking movement in your body or your voice that you cannot control, for example because you feel ill or frightened

your skin crawls

if your skin crawls, you suddenly feel uncomfortable because you are frightened or shocked or because you dislike someone very much


depression, grief

lump in the throat

unable to say what you need to say, sadness

knot in the stomach

anxiety, nervousness


overwhelmed, in a situation you don’t want to be in


anticipation, nervous system changes

caving in

collapsing, giving up

feeling hollow

empty, bereft of emotion, alone, shock


fear, terror, cold


fear, heat, fever

changing respiration

changing emotion


depends where in the body i.e. heartache, belly ache, headache – can be different emotions


no feeling, not being present, in the freeze of trauma


Written by:

Linda Bishopp MA, Dip. Couns., TFT Alg., Reg MBACP, MCThA, MHEA

Psychotherapist, Counsellor, Healer

T: 07905 038378 E: [email protected]



Taken in part from


%d bloggers like this: