The Link Between Emotional and Physical Health

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Studies now prove that your emotions are inextricably linked to your physical well-being.

Think of how your blood pressure rises significantly when you feel anxious or threatened. High blood pressure has become a major problem for many people, and it’s a pretty clear example of what is called the mind-body connection.

When emotional health is unbalanced, it consumes a huge amount of  your energy. Negative emotions take many forms which work their way to the surface as anger, depression, anxiety, jealousy, envy, rage, passive aggressive behavior, and a host of other moods.

Common sources of chronic stress are bad memories of the past and anxiety and worries about the future. I find it interesting to note these major contributors to ill health are no more than phantom thoughts about events and circumstances that aren’t even happening at the present time, and may never happen at all.

When you consider major stress, you might think of life-disrupting events like a death in the family, loss of a job, divorce, a case of identity theft or a significant financial loss. But actually, the most common stressors in life come in little packages: deadlines that have to be met, the milk glass that broke at dinner, yard work that keeps piling up, the phone call you need to make but don’t want to.

Day-to-day hassles like these usually don’t feel terribly stressful, and by themselves they don’t make much of an impact on overall emotional well-being. But research says that it’s the little daily stresses that affect your health the most and even make you more susceptible to serious illness and disease.

Recent scientific studies suggest that, taken together, every day hassles and annoyances may be the biggest threat of all. The overdue phone calls, minor accidents and unfinished business add up to major, chronic stress – and that can lead to conditions like diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer.

Depression is another clear example of an emotional imbalance. There are lots of forms of it, such as genetic, hormonal, situational or chemical, but in all cases depression is caused or exacerbated by negative thought patterns.

Negative thought patterns create a “chemical cascade” in the body, the domino effect of neurotransmitters and other chemicals as they surge through the brain and direct other chemicals to excrete into the body in a chain-reaction response to the thought.

Doctors can alter or block the brain chemistry with pharmaceutical drugs and other forms of treatment that are intended to interrupt the feedback loop between the thoughts and the chemistry that the thoughts have created. But when the treatment fades, the symptoms often return.

A combination of medication and therapy is considered by most doctors to be the best treatment for most types of depression but only a small percentage of the people who need it will ever get it.

In most cases, counseling and cognitive behavioral therapies go overlooked or ignored. These methods require the patient to make a commitment to take at least some responsibility for their own condition and to do their part in the healing process, and many are reticent to go there. Until they do, the condition will continue to plague the mind and body of the individual, and chronic illness is the eventual result

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