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HOW YOUR EMOTIONS AFFECT YOUR HEALTH by Oyewole Ibukun

Many of us know that what we eat and our lifestyle influence our health. Knowing this is quite impressive. In addy to what is brought to the fore, do you also know that your state of mind greatly shapes your health life? If truly our minds play a vital role in our quality life, knowing how to keep it safe should be an abiding concern. For the purpose of this subject, these overtures would help us know how to be masters of our minds, most especially, our emotions.

Emotion can be defined as a person’s instinctive feeling and involuntary neurophysiological response to an object or a situation. It is the part of a person’s character that consists of feelings. Emotions can be labelled as either positive or negative. Humanly speaking, we are bound to always have negative emotions for one reason or the other. Nonetheless, what matters most is the ability to find a balance between them. For instance, anger, when channeled properly, can be used as a tool to carry out physical tasks or reprimand others and correct a wrong.

However, it can also cause one to react in ways that can lead to inflicting pain on oneself or others. While the two ends of the spectrum have roles to play, focusing more on negative emotions can be detrimental to the health.

The gigantic role played by our brains is not microscopic as certain parts of human brain are stimulated. Continued stimulation of the parts of our brains brings about healthy changes in the body. With this, the production of stress hormones which have been associated with several adverse health outcomes is lowered.

Parts of the brain such as the limbic system, ventral striatum, amygdala and so on regulate our emotions in a complex manner. They maintain a balance between positive feelings like happiness, and negative emotions like fear and anxiety.

Our bodies respond to our emotions in a lot of ways. For instance, the feeling of intense sadness or sorrow has been associated with generalized body aches. Depression showing an increase in the risk of cardiovascular diseases and self harm, psoriasis as an autoimmune condition characterized by reddish lesions on the skin, sickle cell crises, acne and so many more conditions have been shown to be triggered by stress which can be increased by EMOTIONS like anger.

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were so anxious? If you can aptly relate with this experience, then, it is noteworthy to take to study what anxiety can cause. Anxiety not well managed can result in various health issues. Few of the underlining medical consequences include: increase in heart rate, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome and lots more.

Conversely, studies have shown that positive feelings can boost the immune system and reduce stress. This resultantly decreases the risk of hypertension and other chronic diseases. Also, making a conscious effort to focus more on positive emotions can improve one’s emotional resilience. Uncompromising efforts towards this can help in bouncing back from negative experiences like suffering, frustration and grief.

To drive home the point, have you ever noticed how light you feel after showing gratitude? Owk! How do you feel when you forgive someone?

 You feel cool, right? This is because of the stress relieving hormones associated with the experience.

Research has also shown that laughter increases the production of endorphins and other hormones that help us reduce insomnia ( restlessness/sleeplessness) so that we don’t have issues sleeping.

People who have difficulty in managing their emotions are neglecting their health and are more prone to sleep disorders, poor diet and substance abuse. So how can we manage our emotions in relation to our health?

  • Though it can be difficult especially in challenging situations to have a grip on our emotions but making a conscious effort to replace those negative emotions with positive ones help in a great deal.
  • Try to relax when stressed out. Stress can stimulate negative feelings.
  • Pent up emotions could lead to frustration and gradually an outburst. So, try to voice your emotions.
  • Sometimes, you might need to talk to a therapist.
  • Develop healthy physical habits e.g. healthy diet, exercise and sleep. Developing these habits improve physical and mental well-being.

Having control over our emotions is not as hard as most people think. Apart from the role that hormones play, research has shown that we can have conscious control over our emotions to an extent.

Always endeavor to have a positive mindset because it can help to improve both physical and mental well-being.

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