When somatic quieting is blocked

Humans typically have emotions that do not resolve. An exception might be someone who has practiced meditation to the point of transcendence. Somatic quieting can occur with some types of meditation. Everyone else probably has some emotion that negatively impacts oneself or others. While many may claim to have no difficulty with emotions that are easy to recognize such as anger, loneliness, or nervousness, there are less recognizable emotions that hide behind behaviors. Procrastination, control, and avoidance are behaviors that are accompanied by negatively impactful emotions.

Post-traumatic stress is a condition that is also accompanied by unresolved emotions. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The Body Keeps Score, popularized the concept that trauma is stored in the body. The severe stress of trauma can alter the structure of the brain. Emotions become difficult to regulate for those struggling with post-traumatic stress.

Somatic quieting does not occur when we avoid the sensations in our bodies and turn attention elsewhere. Though distraction may be a coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings, it does not allow the body to regulate itself, thus preventing a person from becoming used to certain situations or healing from trauma. Instead, the body continues to have uncomfortable sensations.

For some people, these sensations are so uncomfortable that they medicate to numb the feelings.

The good news is, somatic quieting can still occur with the help of somatic interventions.