Your emotions are one of the most powerful influences on your overall health and wellbeing. There are, in fact, three main ways, that your emotions can affect your health and either keep you sick or help you to feel great.
In this article, we explore the relationship between emotions and physical health. We then reveal some key tips for improving both.
3 Ways Emotions Affect Your Health
Your emotions are chemical reactions within your body. How you feel emotionally, therefore, will control what is happening chemically in each one of your trillions of cells. As a result, everything from your thyroid function, to your digestion and breathing are deeply affected by your emotional state.
How you feel also dictates how you act. If you’re feeling lousy, you are far more likely to skip a workout or to eat foods that you know are not good for you. So, this is the second way that our emotions affect our health. They determine how well we are doing in living a healthy lifestyle.
Emotions are energy within your body. That energy is designed to be in motion. But when that energy is stagnant, it gets stuck. This creates resistance within the body that slows you down, actually robs you of your vital energy, and can make you physically ill.
When we are resistant emotionally we are pushed into the fight or flight response. Scientists call this our sympathetic nervous system. It gears us up to either fight, flee or freeze. That is when we are at a loss as to what to do or say in a situation and we look like a deer stuck in the headlights.
Every time we are in this fight or flight mode, we are robbing our bodies of good health. That’s because we are overrunning our adrenal glands. It’s a bit like over-revving your car; eventually, the engine is likely to give up completely!
The overexcitement of the sympathetic nervous system contributes to autoimmune disease, as well as chronic pain and low energy levels. When we’re in fight or flight mode, the hormone cortisol and our adrenalin levels are running rampant. This leads to inflammation that lies at the root of many major chronic illnesses.
Check Your Emotions
From the foregoing, we can now appreciate how important it is to be able to control your emotion from a physical health point of view. By working on your emotional well-being it is possible to make a dramatic improvement to your physical health. When you include the emotional component of what is going on with your body, you are able to start making the changes needed to improve your emotional well-being and attain real happiness.
Ask yourself how you feel about your body. Do you love it or hate it? Many people who suffer from chronic illness loathe their bodies. Often they tell themselves that they will accept their body when they achieve some goal, such as losing weight. In the meantime, they fail to give their body the love and acceptance that it needs to be healthy.
This lack of acceptance of one’s body can act as a barrier to prevent a person from ever achieving the goal that they have set as a prerequisite for acceptance. You simply will not be able to lose the weight or reclaim the energy that you once had until you come to peace with your emotions. Once, you make that emotional shift, however, and start giving your body the emotional support that it so desperately needs, you will be able to make traction on your goals and heal yourself from the inside out.
One of the key emotions that cause us to stagnate in our lives is fear. When fear is a dominant emotion in our lives we automatically become less healthy. We are more susceptible to catching a virus, our energy is low and we are physically weaker. Fear puts us into fight or flight mode, with all of the negative hormonal responses that come with that state. Fear also shuts down the part of your brain that you rely on to create solutions to problems.
Yet, many people think that fear is a prerequisite to survival. That is simply not true. In our modern society, we are very unlikely to face the life or death situations that the fight or flight response was designed to help us cope with. Rather than a saber tooth tiger attack, our fight or flight response is more likely to be triggered by the rent that is due next week. Fear does not allow us to create solutions.
Here are 2 tips to help you overcome fear:
Practice Mindful Meditation
By building 10 or 15 minutes of quiet, contemplative meditation time into your day, you will be able to step back from the fearful situation and develop perspective. Make your meditation time as soothing and relaxing as possible. Practice deep nasal breathing to help calm and relax your body. You could also repeat a mantra to yourself, such as “This too shall pass” or “ I’m strong and in control.” Remember, thoughts become things!
Make a Plan
Rather than running from your fear, make up your mind to address it head-on. Of course, this will take courage but the pay-off in terms of both your emotional and physical well-being will be huge. If your fear is around finances, sit down and go over your accounts in detail. Work out a budget, contact your creditors before things get dire, and come to an arrangement that will work for you. Then move on, knowing that the situation has been dealt with.
Your emotions are a critical driver of your physical health. As a result, you will never achieve the level of health and well-being you desire until you have a handle on your emotions. The first step is to love and accept the body that you live inside. Don’t wait for a goal that may never arrive before you cherish and accept yourself. Use our tips to prevent fear from immobilizing you and you will free yourself from a key emotional barrier to good health that is stopping you from reaching your potential.