How your emotions affect your health

How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

September 14, 2018

Whether you’re happy or sad, your body responds physically to our emotions. The way we think, feel, and act are all interlinked. There is growing evidence appearing that suggests linked illnesses in the body are captured emotions that are affecting us in a physical way.

Have you ever wondered how emotions affect our body? Just think about how fear might make you feel when your muscles tighten in your shoulders or that feeling of tightness in the stomach. How about when you feel embarrassed?     

Mind-body connection

Your thoughts and emotions can affect your health. Emotions such as anger, hate, jealousy, and rage are negative emotion, overtime can lead to chronic stress, hormone imbalances, and damage the immune system.

In every moment of our everyday life, a conversation is taking place inside us. The conversation is silent, yet vital to how great our emotional health is. People who have great emotional health are more aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They also are aware of the conversation they have amongst themselves. Are you limiting yourself with negative self-talk?

However, the conversation with yourself isn’t the only factor affecting your health. Many things happen in life that can disrupt our daily routine leading to feelings of anger, stress, sadness or anxiety. These can include: 

 Dealing with a loss of a loved one

  • Suffering an illness or injury
  • Being laid off from work
  • Experiencing financial issues
  • Moving to a new place

How negative emotions affect your health

 heart

Source: The Institute of HeartMath.

Heart rhythms & Immune system

One example of how emotions affect health is looking at our heart rhythm patterns during different emotional states. On top, we have an irregular jagged waveform which is typically seen in negative emotions. On the bottom is a more regular pattern; someone experiences positive emotions such as; appreciation, compassion, gratitude, or love.

Negative emotions also have a major impact on the immune system of the body. In 2003, Dr. Richard Davidson took 52 participants to recall the best and worst times of their lives while having a brain scan. Next, the participants were given a flu vaccine and had flu-antibodies levels measured six months later. Those who experience intense negative emotions, based on the brain scan, made 50 percent fewer antibodies.

Accelerated aging

A professor at the University of California, Elissa Epel, focused her research on the relationship between stress and telomerase (enzyme associated with aging). Her studies showed that people with more chronic stress like mothers with chronically ill children, had shortened telomeres.

Digestive disorders

The Mind-Gut connection is a constant network of hormonal and immunological messages. When under stress for a long period of time, it tends to activate the fight-or-flight response halting digestion so the body can focus its energy on the “threat.” After a prolonged cycle of constant stress, our digestive system can cause bloating, pain, and discomfort.

How Positive Emotions affects your health

Unlike negative emotions that can stay trapped in the body, positive emotions free up our body. When you feel happiness, love, gratitude, our body releases endorphins and oxytocin. This makes us feel really good, and we often strive for that positive emotion just like a food craving.

Physical and emotional benefits of positive emotions:

How can I change my health in a positive way?

By releasing suppressed and trapped negative emotions, we can heal our bodies and our minds. Changing our perception of thought from “this is frustrating” to “this is just a minor setback. Everything will be ok.”

Learn to identify what makes you feel upset, sad, or when you’re carrying negative emotion. Developing self-awareness is key, whether it is in the workspace or simply at home. You’ll realize that when you feel frustrated, you feel changes in the body. Once you develop the awareness of the effects of stress on the body, then you can better identify the emotion and cope to change how you feel.   

 Tips

  • Express your feelings- Don’t keep feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety all to yourself. Keeping things inside will only make you feel worse.
  • Develop resilience- This will help you cope in a healthy way. Resilience will help you accept change, keep a positive viewpoint, and make you recover faster from setbacks.
  • Calm your mind- Develop your own relaxation methods such as meditation, listening to music, breathing, yoga. Find your emotional balance.
  • Take care of yourself- Make healthy habits to take care of your body. Getting enough sleep, power naps, healthy meals, juicing, and intermittent fasting.

Remember, your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of happiness in your life. Your thoughts affect your perception and therefore your view on reality. This is the search within. You need to search the path to improved health, being aware to recognize your emotions and understand why you feel a certain way. Sorting out the negative emotions in life will help you manage your emotional health.

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