Up until the 1800s, scientists believed that negative emotions were the root of diseases. As science advanced and researchers discovered the nature of germs, emotions fell out of favor as a cause of physical maladies.
More recently, researchers have discovered that there indeed is a very real link between body and mind. The health of one impacts the health of the other. Science has found that high levels of stress and negative emotion correspond to increased risk of everything from heart disease to headaches. Poor emotional health can weaken the immune system and lead to abuse of substances, poor diet, and avoidance of exercise.
The reason for this connection between body and mind may be because physical reactions and emotional responses share a common chemical language. Attitudes, beliefs, and emotional states can trigger changes in blood chemistry, heart rate, and can affect every organ in the body. Therefore, it is imperative that you take as much care with your emotional health as you do with your physical health. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Find an appropriate way to express your feelings. – It can be tempting to hold in negative emotions, but doing so can cause you physical discomfort. Find someone you can talk to, like a friend or a family member to talk to. If that doesn’t help, find someone with a more objective point of view, like a doctor or counselor.
- Get your life back into balance. – Don’t obsess on the negative things in your life. You don’t have to be happy about the travails you struggle through, but don’t lose sight of the positives in your life, either. Research suggests the espousing a positive outlook can benefit both your health and your quality of life.
- Learn to be resilient. – Resilient people are able to cope with stress in a positive manner. You can learn resilience through several methods. These include having social support, embracing a positive outlook on yourself, accepting change, and framing things in the proper perspective.
- Keep calm – both in body and mind. – Relaxation methods such as meditation, exercise, stretching, and deep breathing are all methods to help you chill out emotionally. As your mind relaxes, your body will follow.
- Take care of yourself. – You can’t expect good emotional health if you’re letting your physical health fall by the wayside. Eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Stay clear of alcohol and other substances. This will help your body feel better, and the better you physically feel, the better you’ll mentally feel.