Emotional Balance

SERIES

Emotional Balance understand the impact of your emotions on your health

Mind and Body a delicate balance

The connection between physical and emotional health has been long suspected, and scientifically proven in recent years. Psychoneuroimmunology, which studies the interaction between the mind and body, has discovered that three primary body systems (the nervous, endocrine, and immune systems) are responsible for how your body responds to threats, emotions, thoughts, feelings, stimulus, allergens, and other external stimuli. When these systems are in harmony, you experience health and vitality, but when they are out of balance, as is often the case, you experience distress, disease, discomfort, and unexpected physical and mental conditions.

Emotions more than just a feeling

Astangahradaya Sustrasthana, a classic Ayurvedic text, warns that emotions such as hatred, violence, grief, low self esteem, hostility, and ingratitude are stronger than the body’s capability for healthy balance. Recent research reveals that patients who cannot abandon their negative emotions create new diseases as fast as a physician can heal them. Strong negative emotions cause physiological changes that impact the systems of the body responsible for maintaining balance and homeostasis. Substantial evidence shows how mood and stress influence immune status and function. Under extreme emotional stimulus, the endocrine system sends hormones coursing through the bloodstream, which stimulates the brain. In response, the brain manufactures cytokines, which send messages to the immune system. The immune system responds by sending its own messenger signals that exaggerate this process. If this cascade of signals and stimuli continues the body reaches its physical threshold and its natural ability to maintain balance becomes compromised. In a state of exhaustion, the body becomes more susceptible to illness, aches and pains, fatigue, and other troubling conditions. It’s not just obvious emotions that can affect the body and its ability to keep balance. Many researchers believe that an inability to express emotions can pose an even greater threat of potential disease. “Sickness behavior” is a combination of physiological and behavioral changes that can include any combination of fever, fatigue, pain, sleepiness, decreased ability to concentrate, reduced food and water intake, sleep disorders, changes in coping ability, and loss of pleasure, appetite, and sexual drive. It can also cause lack of interest in social interaction and feelings of depression, hopelessness, irritability, anxiety, worthlessness, and guilt. Prolonged periods of sickness behavior wreak havoc on the body and lead to more series chronic conditions.

Feelings the impact they have on the body

Our lives have become much more complex. For many people the chance to relax and reset the body to a healthy state of emotional balance no longer exists. To make matters worse, we are often are taught to quickly work through our emotional issues without expressing them. In doing so, most people fail to truly address their emotions, they simply hide them, use drugs to mask them, or ignore them until their body shuts down. This is when disease, discomfort, or illness manifest.

Check all that impact you: £ £ Hostility Hostility has been shown to increase the risk of heart disease by a staggering seven times. £ £ Anger This emotional state incorporating feelings ranging from irritation and aggravation to rage and fury and is associated to hypertension and heart disease. £ £ Lack of Control A combination of high demands and low control appears to raise the risk of heart disease as much as smoking or elevated cholesterol levels. £ £ Low Social Support In one study, nine out of ten women reporting inadequate social support also had poor health. £ £ Low Self-Esteem Self- esteem and health appear to be connected in a continual cycle. People with low self-esteem have more frequent health issues. £ £ Poor Explanatory Style (the way people perceive things) People with more negative perceptions have a 55% higher risk of premature death from all causes and a 23% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

£ £ Worry People who worry are more likely to be obese as adults and suffer from anxiety and depression. £ £ Anxiety Chronic anxiety is associated to pain. Physical symptoms often seen with anxiety include musculoskeletal and back pain, chest pain, heart palpitations, dizziness, numbness or tingling, and trouble swallowing. £ £ Fear Constant fear can lead to a constant state of arousal causing digestive and nutritional issues as well as exhaustion, adrenal fatigue, anxiety, and depression. £ £ Depression Studies show that depressed people have significantly compromised immune systems, which can lead to chronic disease and reduced ability to fight cancer. £ £ Despair/Loss/Bereavement In one study, three out of four patients with medical problems (ranging from cardiovascular problems to respiratory, digestive, and skin diseases) reported that their symptoms occurred one week after they experienced a loss which lead to despair and/or hopelessness. £ £ Stress Stress and other psychosocial factors can make the body more susceptible to infectious diseases, autoimmune diseases, or cancer. £ £ Loneliness Heart disease and hypertension can be exacerbated by a person’s sense of abandonment.

How is your emotional wellness? Activity

RARELY have emotional experiences.

2-5 PER WEEK but have practiced some form of coping or release techniques.

5+ PER WEEK and have not developed a coping technique.

1+ PER DAY of these emotional symptoms and am poor at coping.

Your Thoughts

making a difference by being in control Strong negative emotions have a direct association to significant health problems and can disrupt healthy immune response. Substantial evidence shows that factors such as mood, thoughts, and stress have major implications on the immune system. Strong emotions cause your body to activate a fight-or-flight response model, causing your body to do one of two things: 1. Over respond to an otherwise normal situation leading to chronic issues such as hypertension, stroke, autoimmune, or heart failure. 2. Suppress both emotional and immune response, allowing infection disease such as the common cold, flu, inflammation, and even cancer to infect the body. When facing negative emotions, the way we view and experience those feeling can either exacerbate the effects they will have on the body, or minimize them. Supplementation to support the body and good coping techniques are important to your mental and emotional vitality.

coping techniques: • Cognitive Reframing: This is a process in which you change the way you view something, which can change the way

you experience it. There are four steps to successfully reframing: 1. Understand your thinking patterns (check all that apply

o o All-or Nothing – Do you tend to use words like “always” or “never” and often think in extremes? o o Overgeneralization – Do you assume all future experiences will turn out the same as previous experiences? o o Mental Filter – Do you tend to overlook positive moments and focus more on negative ones? o o Disqualifying the Positive – Do you view positive experiences as temporary or a fluke and expect negative experiences to follow? o o Jumping to Conclusions – Do you have a preconceived conclusion already formulated in mind before drawing logical conclusions? o o Emotional Reasoning – Do you consider your emotions about a situation before considering objective facts? o o Should Statements – Do you lack flexibility and try to live up to unachievable, self-imposed expectations? o o Labeling and Mislabeling – Do you create labels for yourself that define you and contribute to a one- dimensional view? o o Personalization – Do you blame yourself for or take personally things you cannot control? o o False Reality – Do you judge experiences on how they fit into your self-created interpretation of reality? 2. Recognize your thoughts a. Catch yourself when you start slipping into a negative or stressful thought pattern. Make a note of the thought and the circumstance you were in when the thought(s) began.

3. Evaluate truth a. As you take notice of these thoughts, evaluate them and check for truth and accuracy. i. Are these feeling and thoughts actually true? ii. What are ways to interpret the same thought/event differently? iii. What other way of interpreting the thought or event will serve you better and more positively? 4. Recondition your thoughts a. Quiet your inner critic. Consciously replace certain words in your self-talk to use less strong, negative, and false terms. b. Look at your stressors in a more positive light, one that still fits into your situation, but is also more optimistic and positive. • Meditation and Relaxation: 1. Practicing deep breathing techniques a. Put one hand on your belly and the other on your chest. b. Take a deep, slow breath. (You should feel and see your hand raise on your belly.) other coping options • Time to Yourself: It only takes a few minutes to give yourself a private mini-vacation from everything going on around you. • Physical Activity: Moving around and getting the heart rate up causes the body to release endorphins, the body’s feel good hormones. • Reading: Reading can help you de-stress by taking your mind off everyday life. • Friendship: Having supportive friends who are willing to listen through good and bad times is essential. • Hobbies: Creative outlets such as listening to music, drawing or gardening can help you concentrate on something other than stress or worry. • Spirituality: Actively believing in a higher power or divine being can have many health benefits. • Pets: Studies show that pets are a calming influence in people’s lives. Taking care of a pet helps distract the mind and exercise the body. • Proper Nutrition: When your body gets the proper nutrients it is better able to function in every capacity. Supplements can provide the nutrients the body needs to produce endorphins, peptides, and neurotransmitters for proper mind and mood vitality. c. Hold your breath and slowly count from one to seven. d. Completely breathe out slowly as you count from 1 to 8. e. Do your best to exhale all the air from the lungs. f. Repeat until you feel calm and relaxed.

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