Have you ever noticed that, at the end of a long day, both your mind and your body are exhausted? Even if you haven’t performed any real physical exertion at all, you still feel as though it’s time for a warm bath and an early bedtime. This isn’t just your mind playing tricks on you. Turns out, your emotions have a direct link to your overall health. To this end, keeping a solid, frequent check on your mental health is one of the smartest and most proactive things you can do for your longevity and overall well-being.
Today, we’re taking a look at three surprising ways your emotions and bodily health are linked. Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Negative emotions can get trapped and fester.
When we feel stressed to our limit, our bodies go into flight or fight mode. This is because we each have within us an innate, natural response to stress. There is no one-size-fits-all response and some of us might opt for one over another.
As soon as our body senses we’re stressed, it goes into panic mode. Our immune system is compromised, alters the chemistry in our brain, affects our blood sugar levels and more. Especially for those who choose to fly away in difficult or high-stress situations, those emotions are never fully worked through and processed.
As a result, they’re left to fester, which only enables them to grow deeper and more frequent. Researchers have also determined that if you’re exposed to a situation that puts you in a state of elevated stress levels, you’re more likely to come down with a condition, such as the flu, because that important immune system isn’t up to par.
2. Positive emotions have a reversing effect.
It’s easy for our negative emotions to get trapped within us and weigh us down. Yet, what about our positive emotions? Science reveals we’re more likely to release those onto others. For instance, think about how you feel when you’re appreciated or acknowledged for your efforts at work? What about when someone notices your new haircut or compliments you on your clothes?
Your brain goes to work releasing happy hormones, including endorphins and oxytocin. Not only do these chemicals make us feel great and leave us craving more, but they also encourage us to pass along those great vibes to others. On a cellular level, these positive emotions can even help to reverse some of the negative effects that pessimistic feelings can trigger.
3. Positivity builds repeatable thought/action patterns.
As we grow more accustomed to seeking out joy, the more likely we are to find it in even the most unlikely places. This is achieved when we activate what’s known as our Reticular Activating System or RAS. This system of complex neural pathways in our brain is responsible for helping us to focus on just the important things at any given time, drowning out and eliminating the white noise.
As our thoughts and actions become more interlinked with positivity as a firm foundation, our physical response to a situation is more likely to be one of low stress and high joy. These contribute to our personal resources or psychological capital. Put simply, these are our stores of self-capacity including hope and resilience, that we can call upon to strengthen us in times of trouble.
The Bottom Line: Finding Positivity For Your Health’s Sake
It’s one thing to come home from a long day at work and feel strain in your shoulders and neck. We are going to push and pull our bodies to capacity at some point. Yet, while such physical aches and pains can be attributed to the muscle groups we work in our profession, it’s important to factor in emotional strain, as well.
When we’re relaxed, happy and ready to embrace positivity, our body responds in kind. We are able to ward off disease, reverse the effects of negativity and encourage others to follow along in our process.