Human beings are engineered to experience various types of emotions and each of these emotions affects our health in a different way. While positive emotions make us feel high, the effects of negative emotions on our health are devastating.
Be it happiness or anger or sadness, these emotions are associated with certain chemicals that help in creating a different feeling within the body. For example, when you are happy or feeling fulfilled or satisfied in life, your brain releases more dopamine which is also known as a happy hormone. You also feel happy, relaxed, and positive when your body releases other feel-good hormones like serotonin or oxytocin. These chemicals when released works to create a different environment within the body.
Similarly there are certain chemicals released when we are extremely sad or frustrated like cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine. These are three stress hormones in our body and work together to make you feel stressed and kick your body into survival mode.
Positive and negative emotions
Positive thoughts and emotions and negative thoughts and emotions affect our body in a different way. How does that affect our body and life? And what about people who are not emotionally charged to neither positive or negative?
Well, there is a duality in our world, to a degree. While a school student may feel sad and depressed at failing in an exam, another person may have no regrets, but take it as a challenge and make sure to pass in the next attempt. Are situations innately positive or negative? Or is it the people who define things as positive or negative?
After intense thinking you might realize that there are no positive and negative experiences. Instead, it’s just all in our perception.
Cut the perceptions as much as possible
The way we perceive an experience or an event influences how we feel and how it will affect our body and health. When you change your perception and definition of each experience and move into a state of mind/awareness/consciousness, you will see different outcomes.
You need to accept the things the way they are and use it as a learning grounds. But reaching such a state of mind needs a lot of practice and patience. In the meanwhile you must know how certain emotions can affect your health. And for that you must first understand the mind-body connection.
What is mind-body connection?
Although not visible, what affects your mind also profoundly affects your body. So, people who are optimistic can easily find the root and deal with internal conflict and create a positive lifestyle. On the other hand pessimistic people have a hard time dealing directly with the internal challenges and in turn create a negative lifestyle.
Aggression, self-destructive thoughts, suicide ideation are common in people struggling with inner turmoil and unable to resolve life issues for a very long time. Unlike optimistic people, pessimistic people use negative affirmations which in turn amplifies the negative energy in their life.
Why is this?
According to the law of attraction, you manifest what you attract. If you think you will be happy no matter what happens, you will surely be happy. But, if you think “I am a loser, I have messed up everything and nothing can fall into place”, then you will be doomed. When you focus on pain you will have it in an uncontrollable manner.
Because our emotions and experiences are essentially energy, which can be stored in the cellular memory of our bodies.
Sometimes an event or a situation can leave an emotional mark or pain in a certain area of your body. No matter how many years have passed, you can still feel something happened to you. It happens when you hold energy from an experience in that area.
So, what you may think as just a headache, knee ache or ankle pain or lower back pain or stomach upset can be due to specific emotion or energy that you’re holding. Even a minor injury can be because of something that is stuck in your mind.
For instance, pain in the ankle indicates that you aren’t being approximately kind to yourself, pain in hands indicates you are experiencing excessive levels of isolation, and pain in shoulders means you are carrying a heavy emotional burden.
Take a look at the chart given below. It depicts how different emotions are stored in different parts of the body and in turn affect your health.
This is how negative emotions affect your body. And physical aches and pain caused due to negative emotions cannot be easily cured with exercises or anything in a physical sense that healed it.
No matter how many physical treatments you try and burn your pocket, unless you resolve or address the emotions behind it, you cannot get rid of the physical discomfort. You will get a pain relief only when you address the unconscious thought pattern and emotions throughout your body.
However, it is difficult to realize this connection between emotions and physical pain – if you are not in touch with yourself and your emotions. This is a busy world and in the quest to meet the immediate human needs and social expectations we are drifting from ourselves. Hence, it is necessary to practise self-awareness. One must have clarity on what and why they are doing, how they are feeling, and the root of different emotions they are experiencing.
So, the next time you fall sick or feel a pain or a tightness in any part of your body, make sure you observe yourself. Introspect what are things bothering you, the root of your stress or lack of peace in life.
And then find peace once again with yourself and your environment.
Negative emotions have the power to kill
Davis Suzuki wrote in ‘The Sacred Life’, ‘condensed molecules from breath exhaled from verbal expressions of anger, hatred, and jealousy, contain toxins. Accumulated over 1 hr, these toxins are enough to kill 80 guinea pigs!’
So, this is the power of negative emotions!
Can you now imagine how harmful it is to store our emotions and experiences are essentially energy, which can be stored in the cellular memory of our bodies. and unprocessed emotional experience in your body?
You have the power to heal
Now matter how many hardships, heartbreaks, losses you have incurred, you have the power to get through. Instead of labelling a particular event as negative and entering into depressed mode, try to see a bigger picture in life. Pause, observe, slow things down. You will find more possibilities even if one door closes.
Ask yourself, what is the lesson from this bad experience? How can I grab better opportunities? How can this job help me learn new skills? Can I use this experience to shift my perception? Can I let go of toxic people and clear some emotion within myself?
There are many tools available to clear out your mind and process your emotions in a healthy manner. It includes yoga, meditation, journaling, walking in woods, and spending time with nature. Eventually, you will learn to see things as they are and explore why they came up. Once you realize the control you have over much of what we attract within the body, you will be free of pain.
Are you ready to deal with your negative emotions?
- Salovey, P., Rothman, A.J., Detweiler, J.B. and Steward, W.T., 2000. Emotional states and physical health. American psychologist, 55(1), p.110.
- Colbert, D., 2006. Deadly Emotions: Understand the Mind-Body-Spirit Connection That Can Heal. Thomas Nelson Inc.
- Sturgeon, J.A. and Zautra, A.J., 2013. Psychological resilience, pain catastrophizing, and positive emotions: perspectives on comprehensive modeling of individual pain adaptation. Current pain and headache reports, 17(3), p.317.
- Lumley, M.A., Cohen, J.L., Borszcz, G.S., Cano, A., Radcliffe, A.M., Porter, L.S., Schubiner, H. and Keefe, F.J., 2011. Pain and emotion: a biopsychosocial review of recent research. Journal of clinical psychology, 67(9), pp.942-968.
- Uskul, A.K. and Horn, A.B., 2015. Emotions and health.