Processing and Channelling Emotion


In a previous presentation we discussed action reaction characteristic of emotions and in another, how we store emotions. In this we discuss how we process stored emotions so that they can then be "released".

Definition of processing emotion


Processing involves some kind of formal or informal activity that we participate in to make contact with stored emotional energy so that it can be released.

We discussed previously how some people, perhaps living in a situation of constant fear and distress, and with no respite, learn to repress and store their emotions.  Many years later they may go to a therapist and start working through their pent up trauma.  For that person, the therapy is the process.  Therapists have many tools at their disposal to use for processing.

Often, however, people uncover past emotional experiences by informal means.  They may go back to a geographical location which sparks memories and they may meet people they once knew and in that manner process through their historical grievances.

Processing emotion involves finding some activity that correctly stimulates past emotional energy in a safe and manageable manner.


Woman observing own anger

Channelling can occur in conjunction with processing.  It involves directing the energy released into something constructive, which leads to greater benefits than were available before the processing took place.  For instance, consider the phrase, "Don't get mad, get even".  The assumption from that motto is that you channel the anger you feel (Don't get mad) into greater achievement (get even) so that you can prevail.  Often the best way that a tormented person can get back at their tormenter is to be a successful person and shine at something.

However, in the context of Emotional Fitness, channelling can mean something quite specific.  Here, we join up with the discussions we have had about Body Grip and Facial Motility.  We can use the emotional energy from stored emotion to channel into altering our fundamental body grip and facial structures.  We can use this energy to enhance our potential or natural talent and change our behaviour.

You may have noticed that the people who succeed in life tend to be the people who learn to channel their emotions successfully.

Benefits of this definition

Man observing own sad emotion

Processing and channelling describe a process by which someone overcomes a traumatic emotional event and turns it into an opportunity to be better. Channelling ties in with what we have learnt about body grip and facial expressiveness and helps us to understand how we can improve our emotional fitness and functionality.

The main event

We have discussed how we can process emotions and channel emotional energy from past events into physiological changes in our bodies and alter the fundamental way in which we function. 

Currently processing emotion is not part of the therapeutic literature.  If any such processing occurs in relation to therapy, it usually occurs through getting on with life rather than through any concerted focus or effort.  Current therapeutic methods tend to focus on what people think, or what people do with their minds.  Processing and channelling involve finding ways to process the stored energy from previous emotional experiences or the surplus energy from current emotional events and channelling that into the body to provide emotional relief and / or alter behaviour.  

We discuss the channelling of specific emotions in later presentations. 


There are any number of different ways of processing emotions.  There are formal therapeutic methods such as:

- psychotherapy, which usually involves speaking with a counsellor or a clinical psychologist

There are a number of less formal methods as well, including meditation, self-reflection, talking with friends, going on a holiday, starting a new job, starting a new life.  There is no end to the kinds of experiences that people have which may help them to process stored emotions and open up new doors for moving forward emotionally.

Personal example

For the past two decades I have been channelling stored emotional energy into my voice, to improve tone, resonance, and to be able to sing professionally and orate masterfully.  Whether or not I have achieved those remains to be seen, but my voice before was weak and often off pitch.  

Also, if I felt distressed or angry I would channel that emotion into my chest by gripping it hard.  Just the sensation of gripping the chest made me feel better.  The more that I gripped my chest, the more that it relieved the emotional distress while at the same time knowing that it might enhance my functionality.

Challenge to audience

There are a number of ways by which people can process and channel their emotions to achieve release.  Currently our health system provides only a limited set of opportunities.  With more research into the function that the body plays in storing emotion and into methods of processing and channelling that emotion, we should be able to expand our options immensely.  I envision that in the future we should be able to go to the doctor and get a prescription to do bodywork in association with psychotherapy as treatment for an emotional disorder.

References and further reading