Emotions and Health | Know How to Welcome Them

by Shamsul
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Emotions and Health

Health is conditional on respecting its major determinants, including the psychological and emotional state. According to the WHO, Emotions and Health are “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being.”

The body and mind are in constant interaction. Physical health is obstructed by emotional health, which itself is characterized by the harmony between positive and negative emotions. Life is made up of good and hard moments. It would therefore be incredible and try to live without negative emotions. However, it is important not to overwhelmed. But what are emotions for? Is it good to express them? Should we suppress them? For some they can be invasive, can we learn to live without emotion?

Emotions and Physical Health

What Do We Mean by Emotion?

There is no universal definition. The study of emotions remains an open chapter. It is a more or less intense reaction, caused by a stimulus (event, external fact) which triggers physiological reactions (sweating, redness, paleness, etc.). There is therefore a triggering event, which the brain will analyze. Emotion is a sudden and fleeting state, a bit like a reflex reaction. The basic emotions, called primary, are joy, anger, fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise. These primary emotions can give rise to secondary emotions like shame, guilt, amusement, etc.

Emotions are linked to the satisfaction or non-satisfaction of our fundamental needs such as respect, security, and recognition. They bring pleasure or displeasure which, in turn, affects our internal balance. They encourage action, through the energy they deliver.

1- Sadness makes us withdraw into ourselves to “digest” a loss, for example.

2- Fear can arise when we feel our need for security threatened and will push us to action to secure ourselves.

3- Disgust is also a defense system. It allows us to turn away from something (or someone) that may be toxic and goes against our needs.

4- Anger can affect us when the need for recognition and respect is violated (unmet need) and push us to reposition ourselves.

5- Joy, conversely, is the reflection of a satisfied need, which can lead to disinhibition and motivate social openness.

occurrence of emotions

Is Emotion Confused with The Notion of Feeling?

They are different concepts. The feeling is an affective state resulting from reflection, which persists over time. This is the result of thinking: we think about what happened or what could or will happen. The feeling can last a lifetime, the emotion just a few moments. It takes on the notion of immediacy. The feeling is formed at the mental level (cortex) while the emotion emanates from the emotional brain (limbic system). It does not cause any physical signs. Emotion can give rise to a feeling. Feelings can impact the occurrence of emotions, by directing our interpretation patterns.

A reflection from a third party can provoke anger in some, while others remain placid due to a different system of interpretation. Our perception/interpretation is the result of our past experiences, and sometimes “the emotional bath” experienced during childhood. Growing up in an environment where the fear of big dogs is omnipresent can shape an adult for whom the sight of such an animal generates the emotion “fear”.

Emotions are the sign of life. They help us adapt to our environment and seek satisfaction of our basic needs. As they are independent of our will, and as we all have our own system of interpreting events, wanting to avoid them seems complicated. Faced with too much displeasure, some people, on the other hand, have inclination to ignore them.

Are Emotions Harmful or Are They Resources?

They are both at the same time. They are often resources for better understanding and knowing oneself. Letting one’s joy or anger explode is often frowned upon. However, repressing them can generate imbalances, and even illnesses, “everything that is not expressed is printed”. To ignore one’s fears, one’s anger, one’s sadness is to try to resist them, but the object of this resistance persists and grows in intensity.

All emotions are useful since they send us a message, in relation to what we are experiencing and the satisfaction of our needs, our values. It is therefore important to qualify the emotion and decipher the message received. This “work” requires training but it can help us reconsider the triggers and review the subjective interpretation of our feelings. For example, didn’t I give too much importance to this fact which, in the end, didn’t really have any? This technique can, on the one hand, change our outlook on our environment, and on the other hand defuse the installation of negative feelings: anger which degenerates into hatred, fear into panic, joy into hysteria.

Don't Ignore Your Emotions

Don’t Ignore Your Emotions:

Ignoring your emotions can lead to undesirable behaviors: smoking too much, drinking too much, spending too much time watching television, loss of confidence, social isolation, etc.

Understanding the messages sent to us can, with a little time, allow us to be less reactive to our environment, and avoid the undesirable effects that arise from emotions.

They can be harmful due to their biochemical effects. The brain receives, analyzes the stimulus then releases hormones/neurotransmitters with activation of the autonomic nervous system. It is the branch of the nervous system that functions outside of the will. In the case of negative emotions, there will be:

1- Production of norepinephrine, adrenaline, cortisol

2- Increased heart rate, blood pressure

3- Increased blood pressure

4- Release of glucose into the blood

The activity of certain organs accelerates and slows down for others (such as those of the digestive system and immunity). Occasionally, this chemistry remains harmless but repeated too often, it is harmful to health. The recurrent activation of certain organs can generate more serious disturbances.

Note that the emotion “joy” also causes overactivation of the organs, but it is accompanied by so-called happiness hormones. Dopamine, endorphins, oxytocin, and serotonin bring the feeling of pleasure. Exercises exist to facilitate emotional balance and to absorb what is good. Install in our brain a positive image of happiness (already experienced) and activate it (think about it as often as possible). Repetition of this exercise acts on neural pathways and allows you to feel emotions of pleasure more often. As Christophe André, writer, psychiatrist and psychotherapist, says, moments of pleasure are quickly forgotten, and moments of displeasure are better remembered. Let’s learn to reverse this trend!

There Are Many Techniques to Welcome and Understand Your Emotions:


Reconnection with nature

Practice of positive thinking: seeing the positive aspects of situations experienced

Mindfulness practice: living in the present

Practice of emotional intelligence: the ability to better understand, manage our emotions and develop self-regulation

Everyone can find the easier method that suits them, to manage their emotions, without letting themselves overwhelmed. Find a balance between positive and negative emotions.

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