The Surprising Factor That Can Impact Your Health
Filed under: Stress Reduction
Scientists have only just begun to explore the connection between mind and body, but most do agree on one important fact: Mental (or emotional) health can have a surprising impact on your physical health.
Stress, depression, anxiety, and other symptoms of poor emotional health damage your immune system and trigger inflammation in the body. This can lead to illness, like common colds or the flu, during times of emotional strain.
When you’re suffering from strained emotional health, you might notice physical symptoms such as:
- upset stomach
- weight fluctuations
- back pain
- chest pain
- heart palpitations
- general aches and pains
- high blood pressure
- …and more
Struggling with emotional health can also rob you of your ability to take care of yourself physically, leading to a poor diet, lack of exercise, alcohol or other drug abuse, and so on. So not only are you more likely to get sick in the short term; you might establish patterns that lead to negative long-term health outcomes as well.
As you can see, taking care of your emotional health involves a lot more than simply “feeling happier”. Sure, no one wants to feel depressed or stressed, but taking care of yourself takes on a whole new meaning when you realize how your state of mind impacts physical health. So with that idea in mind, follow these steps to improved emotional health:
Express your feelings in healthy ways. Don’t hold it in. Ask for help from a therapist, pastor, or family doctor. Develop the communication skills you need in order to share your feelings.
Balance your life. Learn to say no and set boundaries in your relationships. Take time for yourself, to focus on your own needs and desires.
Relax. Pick up a hobby that you find relaxing, such as blogging, painting, pottery, photography, hiking, yoga, and so on. Experiment with meditation or relaxation audio to find a daily ritual that calms you.
Take care of yourself. Take the proper steps to get enough quality sleep. Eat a healthy diet, avoid drug or alcohol abuse, and exercise regularly.
Develop resilience. Emotionally resilient people are better able to handle whatever life throws their way. This does not mean you’re weak, if things get to you! It simply means that some people have learned certain coping mechanisms, while others haven’t yet. A good therapist or even just some effective self-help books can help you develop perspective, accept change in your life, and keep a positive view of yourself.
If you were diagnosed with a physical ailment, you would take the time to learn about it, undergo treatment, and make positive changes to keep yourself healthy. Remember that your emotional health deserves the same attention, and you will find that improved health in that area will impact all areas of your life.