I think every body has felt how emotions affect the body in both and good and bad ways. From the awesome feeling of giddiness you feel when you get good news to the sinking feeling in your stomach when you realize something isn’t quite right. Your body responds to the way you think, feel, and act. This is also known as the mind/body connection.
Emotions Affect the Brain
Many things can affect the health of the brain. Chronic stress actually kills brain cells. And according to Dr. Amen of Amen Clinics, emotions also affect the health of the brain. He did a study with a psychologist Noelle Nelson on the power of appreciation. In his clinic, he uses SPECT scans to image the brain. Her brain was scanned twice. Once when she was focused on what she loved about her life, and then again while she focused on what she hated about her life. He reported that the scans were extremely different. The scan of her rain when she was focused on appreciation looked healthy. The can of her brain when she focused on things she hated about her life showed decreased activity in several important areas of her brain, involving emotions and memory.
Other studies too have found that focusing on negative thoughts changes the brain in a negative way. Creativity, learning, and imagination all go DOWN with negative emotion; while focusing on positive, happy, hopeful thoughts helps both the brain. Dr. Amen also reports chronic stress kills cells in the memory centers of the brain.
Emotions and Disease
Many books have been written about how emotions affect the body in very specific ways. One of the first, and most well known books is, “You Can Heal Your Life” by Louise Hay. In the book, she outlines specific emotions and the likely affect it will have on your health. For example, she sites that a sore throat is related to: “Holding in angry words. Feeling unable to express the self.” Another book is “Feelings Buried Alive Never Die” by Karol Truman. In the book, she explains that unresolved feelings can distort not only happiness but also health and well-being. She offers scripts to help replace negative emotions with positive emotions.
Emotions and Energy Flow in the Body
There is a natural flow of energy in the body. Eastern practices that have been used for thousands of years like acupuncture, QiGong, and Tai Chi, are based on opening up the energy pathways in the body for general health and overall wellness. A newer technique that is based on the same basic principals is the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT is a form of psychological acupressure, based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture, but without the invasiveness of needles. It is becoming widely accepted that emotional disharmony is a key factor in physical symptoms and dis-ease and for this reason, techniques like EFT are being extensively used on physical issues, including chronic illness with often astounding results.
As already discussed, all emotions affect the body. But the affects of depression are big enough, it deserves a separate paragraph. Depression doesn’t just effect the mind. Some of the physical effects of depression include erratic sleep habits, loss of appetite, constant fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and back pain. Amen Clinics has identified that anxiety and depression occur together 75% of the time. They have further identified 7 different types or patterns in the brain. Treating depression is not as simple as changing your attitude. There can be nutritional, hormonal, and toxicities elements involved along with many possible other reasons. The affects of depression can be devastating and can take time to overcome.
Emotions and Hormonal Balance
The levels and balance of hormones are influenced by a number of important neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters can become out of balance from stress. They can also become out of balance due to poor diet and genetic predisposition. When they are out of balance, the body can not maintain proper levels of key hormones. Heather Carlini of the Carlini Institute points out that chronic stress from long-held trauma has a detrimental effect on the adrenal glands that result in a constant secretion of cortisol which produces the “fight or flight” survival response. She says that many women carry deeply buried cellular imprints from trauma they experienced earlier in their life. Over time, this can result in imbalances in estrogen, progesterone and thyroxin that can eventually lead to dis-ease of the female reproductive system.
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