People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life. They feel good about themselves and have healthy relationships.
However, many things that happen in life can disrupt your emotional health and lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress, or anxiety. Good changes can be just as stressful as bad changes. These things include:
What is the mind-body link?
You may already be familiar with phrases which describe the mind-body connection in day-to-day life such as something being a “pain in the neck” - it generally symbolises 'burden over mind'.
When we talk about mind, people usually understand it as a collection of thoughts, feelings, beliefs, attitudes, memories, past experiences and personality that make up a person’s internal world.
Mind vs Brain
In colloquial terms, the words mind and brain may be used interchangeably but, the two are in fact not the same. While the brain is a physical organ, the mind can be described a virtual entity present within each cell of our body and extended to minimum 2 inches outside the body. That is why mind controls the body as a collection of thoughts, emotions, imagination and memories. When compared to a computer, the brain acts as the hardware while the mind is the software within it.
Is it all in my head?
Experiencing happiness or sadness not only affects your frame but also affects your physical health. For example, indigestion is commonly triggered by stress and anxiety. On the other hand, physical ailments also affect an individual’s mental well-being. Do you know anyone who feels happy when they are sick? Thus, the mind and body share a deep, cyclic connection. To be physically healthy is it important to be psychologically healthy and vice versa.
Emotions manifest themselves on an individual’s body in a number of ways. This ranges from changes in internal body temperature and blood sugar levels to hormonal imbalances and altered brain chemistry. Happiness and joyous emotions have the ability to boost immunity, alleviate pain and relax muscles while sadness and anxiety can increase heart beats, tighten muscles and dilate blood vessels. Over time, it can also lower a person’s immunity and make them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Anxiety and depression can keep a person from eating nutritious food and exercising and hence lower his or her overall health. Poor emotional health could also encourage the use of stimulants such as alcohol and drugs that cause weight fluctuation, insomnia, tiredness, weakened gut health, sexual problems etc.
How do your thoughts and feelings affect your health?
Your brain produces substances that can improve your health. These substances include endorphins, which are natural painkillers, and gamma globulin, which strengthens your immune system.
Research shows that what your brain produces depends in part on your thoughts, feelings, and expectations. If you're sick but you have hope and a positive attitude and you believe that you'll get better, your brain is likely to produce chemicals that will boost your body's healing power.
Negative thoughts and emotions can keep your brain from producing some of the chemicals that help your body heal. But this doesn't mean you should blame yourself for getting sick or feeling down about a health problem. Some illnesses are beyond your control. But your thoughts and state of mind are resources you can use to get better.
The mind-body link and your health
Some of the body’s systems are more affected by the mind-body link more than others. You may recognise some listed below:
Below is a short list of some of the more common types of psychotherapy. Some therapy techniques have been scientifically tested on a large scale basis; while others are newer and often combined with more established psychotherapies.
Using the mind-body link to help you manage your health
Thankfully, like physical ailments, emotional ailments too can be treated.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!