Emotions can affect your health – and health can have an effect on your emotions.
Emotional health and feelings
Emotional health allows people to recognize, understand, and successfully handle their feelings. It gives people the ability to navigate the normal stresses and challenges of life in a way that is healthy and productive. As a result, emotionally healthy people enjoy strong self-esteem, healthy relationships, and healthy coping mechanisms.
However, not everyone is able to enjoy emotional health. When a person’s emotional health is compromised, they can experience negative emotions such as sadness, stress, or anxiety that can interfere with their life. Major changes in your life that can disrupt your emotional health, some of them sad (like illness or injury, divorce, financial problems), but also some of them happy and long anticipated life changes (childbirth or adoption, a child coming back home after college, job changes, moving into a new house, etc.)
Emotions can impact your health
The connection between emotions and health is real, and part of that connection is the way in which your emotions impact your health. When you experience negative emotions, your body responds physically, with symptoms such as high blood pressure or stomach ulcers. The more stressful the event, the more likely it is that you will experience physical repercussions from the strong feelings you are experiencing.
Improving your emotional health is possible
If you feel as if your emotional health is suffering, there are ways in which you can improve your ability to recognize and handle your feelings. The first step is to recognize what you are feeling and where those feelings are coming from. Knowing why you are feeling what you are feeling can give you greater control of your emotional health. What follows is a look at some other tips for managing and improving your emotional health.
Express your feelings appropriately
Keeping feelings, especially negative feelings, inside can impact you physically. As a result, it is important to tell others about what you are feeling. And, if family and friends are unwilling or unable to help you, look for someone else, such as a religious leader, a counselor, or a doctor for help.
Focus on the good
You should never pretend that everything is ok when it is not. However, at the same time, you should try never to focus only on the negative things in your life. Instead, try to think about the good things going on in your life. For example, write down the good things that happen in a journal. Let go of things that create feelings of stress and anxiety, and engage in activities that you enjoy.
Do your best to be resilient
Resilience is the ability to deal with stressful events positively. It is a skill that can be learned and improved upon over time. Keys to developing resilience include surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family, adapting to change, thinking well of yourself, and keeping things in perspective. If you need help developing resilience, consider consulting a counselor or a therapist. They can give you tools and strategies (such as cognitive behavioral therapy) to develop resilience in yourself.
Use techniques to calm your mind and body
If you are feeling negative emotions, there are ways to help yourself relax. Listen to music, listen to guided imagery, do yoga, or meditate. Free resources (such as smartphone apps or YouTube) can help you engage in these methods inexpensively. You can also ask your family doctor for advice about relaxation methods.
Take care of yourself physically
Because your mind and body are connected, you also need to care for yourself physically in order to keep your emotions in balance. Try to eat healthy meals; exercise; get enough sleep, and avoid drugs and alcohol.
Physical impact of poor emotional health
Poor emotional health can have a negative impact on your body. It can impact your immune system, leading to more frequent colds and infections. In addition, when your emotional health is poor, you may be less likely to care for yourself physically (i.e. skipping meals, not exercising, avoiding medicine, smoking, and so forth). When your emotional health is poor, you may also experience physical symptoms such like:
- Changes in Appetite
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Chest Pain
- Back Pain
- General Aches and Pains
- Dry Mouth
- Difficulty Sleeping
- High Blood Pressure
- Stiff Neck
- Sexual Problems
- Light Headedness
- Weight Changes
- Upset Stomach
Your doctor should know about your emotional health
It might seem strange to talk about your feelings with your doctor. However, your doctor can decide if your feelings are causing your physical problems and can help you manage not only your physical symptoms but also your emotional ones.
When to see a doctor
You should seek out a doctor if your negative feelings are interfering with your ability to go about your daily life. Depression can be a clinical illness that can be treated with medicine, counseling, or both. When you see your doctor, consider asking them the following questions:
- Everything in my life is good. Why am I not happy?
- I don’t think I’m under stress, but is my body telling me that I am?
- Are my health problems causing my stress or is my stress causing my health problems?
- How can I better cope with stress?
Achieving emotional health is possible and can allow you to live a more physically rewarding life as well.
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