"Gut feelings" etc.

For reasons we needn’t go into here, I found myself musing lately on why we perceive emotional reactions physically when we know it’s all happening in our heads. Some, like fear, are pretty obvious (fight or flight–blood starts moving etc.) but some are more subtle–the proverbial sinking feeling in the guts, skin crawling, stage fright, and even the good ones like love, gratitude, giving do seem to emanate from the heart. Any ideas?
–Alan Q

Actually, I think most emotions do cause physical sensations. I don’t have my psych textbook anymore, but this was definitely discussed there. Emotional responses include the release of different chemicals that affect the body, such as adrenaline. I understand that one reason for the popularity of chocolate is that it contains chemicals that are identical to those produced in the body when someone is ‘in love’. Anyone with a psych textbook can probably give a bunch of examples of the chemical relationship to emotions.


Hypothesis: Physical sensations are an essential part of any emotions. Without a physical sensation, you would not be having an emotion, but just some neutral thought.

Any emotions on that? Have you ever experienced an emotion that left you cold physically?