The presence of the mind/body connection and its impact on health has long been debated among experts. In the 1800s, many doctors believed that our emotions were linked to disease and often prescribed visits to spas or seaside resorts to remedy the “ill-humors” that lead to illness. As time passed, and the advent of microbiology highlighted the role that toxins and bacteria played in causing illness, the role emotions played in physical health took its place on the back burner.
In recent years, however, the link between emotional and physical health has come into the spotlight again. New forms of treatment, such as mediation, yoga, biofeedback and guided imagery are emerging as ways of improving emotional health to increase physical health. Many practitioners now recognize that psychological factors can play a major role in illnesses like heart disease, chronic pain and arthritic conditions.
Most people today can attest to the fact that when they experience stress, sadness or anxiety, they feel a disruption in their emotional health that often leads to a disintegration of their physical health. Poor emotional health can weaken your immune system, making it more likely to get colds or other viruses during emotionally difficult times. But how do emotions affect your health and what can you do to increase the positive energy in order to maintain a positive outlook that, in turn, will help maintain your physical health?
Studies have shown that people who maintain a positive outlook appear to have healthier immune systems, live longer and recover better from medical procedures. Scientific investigation indicates that we produce cortisol in response to stress and emotional turmoil. There is the suggestion is that optimism leads to a lower cortisol levels and, therefore, better reactions to stress.
Stress is inevitable. We all experience stress and our bodies respond through hormones. When we are able to maintain a healthy and positive outlook, our bodies will respond to the stress, process it and then return to their normal state. When the stress is chronic and ongoing, our bodies suffer and can’t seem to repair itself as easily and the stress can lead to headaches, digestive issues, high blood pressure, and even stroke. Stress can prolong healing, affect our body’s immune system, impact on memory and learning and have other negative effects on your health.
Improving Your Emotional Health
By recognizing your emotions and understanding what is causing of your feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety and you will likely be more effective at managing your emotional health. The following steps can ensure that you are able to maintain a more positive outlook on life, reduce your cortisol levels and, therefore, improve your body’s resilience and reaction to emotional distress, when it happens.
Become Self Aware
The first step in developing a positive outlook is to become self-aware. By recognizing your emotions and why you feel the way you do, you will be more able to help sort the negative feelings and the causes behind them.
Learn to Express Your Feelings in Appropriate Ways
If feelings of sadness, stress and anxiety are affecting your ability to function effectively, keeping your feelings hidden from others can exacerbate the negative feelings and make you feel worse. Leaning on your support system, talking to your friends and family or a helping professional can help you gain perspective and insight into what you are experiencing. By expressing your feeling and understanding why you may be feeling the way you are, you are more able to look for steps to fix the negative situation.
As adults, we often become adept at juggling many part of our lives like work, family, school and friends. By recognizing what your priorities are, and staying true to what’s really important to you, you may be able to let go of the negative feelings that often arise over the desire to feel like you need to be everything to everyone, which ends up causing feelings of resentment and exhaustion. Focus on your goals and priorities with a positive outlook and take joy in the company of friends and family.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
We all experience irritation at the little things that happen in our lives by trying to maintain a positive outlook and learning how to let go of any negative feelings that you experience as a result of problems in your life, you will be calmer, more balanced and better able to deal with any negative situations that arise. By maintaining a positive outlook and finding the joy in everyday things, you have the chance to improve the quality of your life and give your health a boost.
Develop a Thick Skin
People with a resilient spirit are better able to deal with stress. Resilience can be developed in different ways. By having a strong support network of family and friends, by keeping a positive view of yourself and your accomplishments, by reacting well to change and by keeping things in perspective you will be more successful in managing the stress in your daily life.
Put Your Body First
While good emotional health is important, taking good physical care of yourself is also key to being healthy. Eating well, getting enough sleep, abstaining from smoking, alcohol or drugs and maintaining a healthy lifestyle will also have a positive effect on your state of mind. When you feel good in your body, you feel good in your mind.
Finding Your Happy Place
For some, relaxation, meditation, yoga and guided imagery are effective techniques for letting go of stress and bringing balance and focus back into your life. For others, exercise, listening to music, drawing or reading provides that necessary regeneration of the spirit. By learning how to deal with emotional and mental difficulties and stress, you can help prevent the negative physical manifestations they produce. By following the step towards mind-body connection, you will keep yourself healthy, both in body and mind.
- How to Recognize The Signs of Burnout (And What To Do About It) (therapystew.com)
- The Spirit ~ Mind ~ Body ~ Connection. (tranquillplanet.wordpress.com)
- Emotions and Their Role in Your Health (medicalhcgelpaso.wordpress.com)
- The Body-Mind Connection (joyofspa.com)
- Progressive Relaxation With Children (therapystew.com)
- How to Let Go of Your Anger (therapystew.com)
- Rule #3 Honestly Evaluate Yourself (25 Rules for Better Health) (thedarkglobe.wordpress.com)