The role of the mind and emotions in our state of health appears to be a vital one and by understanding this relationship we can claim a greater role in our own wellbeing. It is only a part of the overall picture, but it is the part that is invariably overlooked.Ed and Deb Shapiro
Your mind and body are powerful allies. How you think can affect how you feel. And how you feel can affect your thinking.
There is an extraordinarily intimate two-way communication going on between our body and mind that affects both our physical state and our mental and emotional health.
An example of this mind-body connection is how your body responds to stress. Constant worry and stress over jobs, finances, or other problems can cause tense muscles, pain, headaches, and stomach problems. It may also lead to high blood pressure or other serious problems.
But your mind can have a positive effect on your health too. Having a positive outlook on life might help you better handle pain or stress and stay healthier than someone who is less hopeful.
Discover how your mind and emotions affect your body:
How do you react when someone is angry with you?
If your boss or your partner shouts at you, what happens to your heart, your head, your insides? What do you do with angry feelings? Do you express them, or is there somewhere you put them? Is your headache because you have built up unexpressed anger? Do you swallow hard, get a sore throat, clench your muscles, or get constipated?
How do memories affect you?
What happens if you recall past memories? Do you feel warm and relaxed, or do you break out in a sweat and feel nervous? Pay particular attention to what happens when you recall unhappy memories, perhaps when a parent hit you or you were bullied at school. As you follow these memories, watch where in your body there is a reaction, a tightening or nervousness.
How your thoughts and feelings affect your health
Your brain produces substances that can improve your health. These substances include endorphins, which are natural painkillers, and gamma globulin, which strengthens your immune system.
Research shows that what your brain produces depends in part on your thoughts, feelings, and expectations. If you’re sick but you have hope and a positive attitude and you believe that you’ll get better, your brain is likely to produce chemicals that will boost your body’s healing power.
Negative thoughts and emotions can keep your brain from producing some of the chemicals that help your body heal. But this doesn’t mean you should blame yourself for getting sick or feeling down about a health problem. Some illnesses are beyond your control. But your thoughts and state of mind are resources you can use to get better.
How stress affects you
How you handle stress has an effect on your health.
When you’re stressed or anxious, your body reacts as if it is under attack. Your body releases hormones that speed up your heart rate and breathing, increase blood pressure, and make your muscles tense. This physical reaction is called the fight-or-flight stress response.
This stress reaction is good if you need to avoid an accident or other danger. But if you constantly feel stressed, your body’s natural fight-or-flight response lasts too long and your blood pressure may stay high. This is bad for your heart. Stress can also affect your emotions. It can make you feel moody, tense, upset, or depressed.
But when you are able to relax your mind and body, your body stops producing the hormones that create stress. The feelings of stress ease, and you return to a state of calm, both physically and mentally.
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Culled from: Michigan Medicine