We are comprised of many elements, two of which are our thoughts and emotions. Although they are entirely separate from one another, they often interact very closely.
Thoughts are the intellectual processes by which we interpret the world around us. Our senses—sight, smell, touch, hear, feel—send signals to our brain, which we then utilize according to our experiences, worldview, and education. Our thoughts are a fundamental part of how we interact with the world around us. When we want to know someone, we often ask, “What do you think?” because knowing what someone thinks gives us insight into who they are as a person.
Emotions are influenced by our thoughts. Emotions are what we feel in response to something like joy, sadness, loneliness, frustration, and anger are often a side effect of the way we think about situations and ourselves. For example, a coworker receives a raise while we do not, and we feel anger. A situation doesn’t turn out the way we wanted, and we feel frustration. We are unsure of how to respond to a problem, and we feel anxiety.
The way we perceive and think about each of these situations impacts our emotions. In turn, these emotions then become trapped in our bodies and, especially when sustained over a long period of time, will negatively impact our health.
The intimate connection between mind and body means that these negative emotions affect our whole being. Sustained negative emotions cause a hormone imbalance and deplete the chemicals in the brain responsible for happiness. Some of the health problems that result from trapped emotions include back pain, chest pain, fatigue, high blood pressure, insomnia, upset stomach, and weight gain or loss.
These trapped emotions not only impact our physical health, but also our emotional health! What begins as frustration or worry quickly spirals downward into blame, hatred, insecurity, guilt, shame and a host of other negative emotions. Trapped emotions such as these can, over time, create depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, eating disorders, and sleep disorders. We become unable to feel positive emotions like contentment and joy because we are mired in negative thinking and negative emotions. As you can imagine, this dramatically detracts from our quality of life.
Trapped emotions must be released in order to find relief from their many negative side effects. Stay tuned next week as we continue to explore the correlation between thoughts and emotions and their impact on our health.
For more information on the emotional upward and downward spirals, take a look at The Emotional Guidance Scale.
If you have any questions, please contact me! I am here to help.