BLUFGrowing scientific evidence suggests signals sent from our internal organs to our brain can regulate our emotions and help fend off mental health problems.
Interoception—your brain’s perception of your body’s state, transmitted from receptors on all your internal organs—is now one of the fastest moving areas in neuroscience and psychology. Research is showing that interoception has enormous consequences for your wellbeing. For example, scientists have shown that our sensitivity to interoceptive signals can determine our susceptibility to anxiety and depression. There’s a constant dialogue between the brain and the viscera, but much of the processing is below the conscious level. However, some of these sensations—such as tension in your muscles or the beating of your heart—will be noticeable at least some of the time. And, the way you interpret those feelings can have significant consequences for your wellbeing. For example, studies show that people with depression often show poorer interoceptive awareness, while people with anxiety are usually more attentive to their interoceptive signals. In addition, new studies involving exercise and mindfulness are showing promising results with interoceptive awareness.
Nov 2020 nature.com Interoception is associated with the impact of eye contact on spontaneous facial mimicry
Jun 2021 Griffin Occupational Therapy Interoception Explained – Processing internal sensory messages
Jul 2021 Dana Foundation Interoception: The Secret Ingredient