May 19, 2010

Where Does Depression Start?

Summary: Where does depression start? It starts with sadness. Find out how and where sadness starts for you.

You probably know the commercials that say, "Where does depression hurt? Everywhere." Frankly, I don't like the despondent background music or faded lighting meant to convey depression--although I will say they do a great job with it in those commercials. But I'm asking the question, anyway: Where does depression hurt?

More accurately, where do you feel sadness in your body, whether it's a painful feeling or something else?

Generally speaking, all emotions start in roughly the same place on everyone: The center. For anger, this can be the center of your face, such as a clenched jaw. For both happiness and fear, it's likely in the belly or the solar plexus (butterflies in the stomach, for instance, or an eager thrill of excitement). But for sadness, the feeling likely originates in your heart center.

This isn't true for everyone, of course. (I have one client who notices most of his emotions in his forehead!) But a heavy feeling in the chest, a lump in the throat or slumped shoulders usually signify the onset of serious sadness.

Do you know where your own sad feelings start in your body? To learn for yourself, practice making a note--literally--by writing down each time you feel very sad and what your body feels like. The more detailed you are with your observations, such as, "I feel like crying and my back hurts and my arms feel weightless, but my stomach and chest are tight," the easier it will become for you to identify your sad feelings--both physically and emotionally--before they become unbearable.

© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010


  1. That's a great post, Kealah! Are you familiar with the book The Mindful Way Through Depression? He talks about just this important it is to pay attention to where pain of any sort sits in the the thing observed always changes.


  2. An interesting concept, yet we don't recognize or understand that our emotions actually determine how we feel. I am pursuing insights on emotional intelligence with the goal of improving both my professional and personal life. Currently, I am reading Emotional Intelligence: The new Rules, by Dr. Rob Yeung. It's basic premise is that our emotions, for better or worse, make us what we are. Please feel free to email me with your thoughts on this idea. Thanks!!

  3. Well spoken comments by both of you! Rose, I am a big fan of "The Mindful Way through Depression" by Jon Kabat-Zinn et. al. It is a very helpful book in many ways. Kabat-Zinn is a mindulness guru!

    And thank you for sharing Dr. Yeung's "Emotional Intelligence." I have heard of this book, but have not yet read it. It's now on my list.

    While we're trading book titles, you may be interested in my e-book, "Speak Your Truth: How to Say What You Mean to Get What You Want." It's available at my website -- -- and it also explores how and where emotions begin in the body, as well as how they can disrupt our success in life. Most importantly, it contains over a dozen exercises that teach you how to change your automatic reactions into deliberate responses, so that YOU are in control of how you communicate with both yourself and others.


Speak YOUR TRUTH now!