It’s no secret that the mind and body have an intimate bond – the way you think or feel can have a profound impact on your mental and physical health. Your body has specific ways of responding to different emotions. When upset or under stress, your body reacts, telling you that something isn’t right. It’s an evolutionary advantage; your fight or flight response that keeps you away from danger. On the downside, when left uncheck, this can open up a number of health risks.
Diving deeper into the topic, here, I will discuss a few points to further explore the mind-body connection and its relation to our health:
Emotions can have a direct impact on our quality of sleep. Insomnia, most commonly linked to high amounts of stress, results in an unrefreshing, non-restorative sleep. It can adversely impact health, leaving any sufferer feeling lethargic and fatigued throughout the day. Most of us experience a form of it at some point in our lives, stemming from physical and emotional issues, including stress, grief or jet lag and illness. There’s more to the power of sleep than most of us realise. Major restorative functions in the body such as tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis occur almost exclusively during sleep.
Luckily, there are natural and safe ways to combat insomnia, from sleepy time snacks to modern treatments and alternative sleep therapies from trusted experts.
Disturbances in diet due to emotions are undeniably harmful to anyone’s health and can interfere in a happy and healthy life. Occasionally using food as a reward, or to celebrate something isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it becomes an emotional coping mechanism from things like stress or low self-esteem, it could lead to binge eating or stress eating. Although eating can make you feel good, the feelings that triggered the hunger can still be there and so the cycle goes on.
Turn it around and use proper nutrition to fight stress and fatigue. Encouraging a healthy view of self and being mindful of what you eat can have so much impact on your health and the way you see food
The feeling of heartbreak: caused by different circumstances, from grief or loss, heartbreak is an emotion that actually physically hurts. When we get our heart ‘broken’, we normally feel a sensation of heartache, where we go through a combination of emotional stress and stress-induced physical manifestations including tightness in the chest muscle, increased heart rate, and shortness of breath. In one study , it’s even been implied that people who recently lost their spouse are more likely to of die from a heart attack by 20 to 35 percent.
With our conscious spark of awareness, we are always accompanied by mental noise, which can trigger stress and a chain of reactions within our body—one of those is the production of cortisol, or the stress hormone. Although not inherently bad (after all, it prevents inflammation and aids metabolism among many things), an excess of cortisol production can suppress our immune system, which can tip the balance of our health and well-being.
Stress can also lead to anxious thoughts and can occur in people who are unable to distinguish the stressors in their life. Restlessness, panic and feeling of impending doom are a few emotional effects of anxiety, but it can also induce physical symptoms such as stomach ache, muscle tension, headache, rapid breathing and fatigue. Prolonged anxiety can adversely impact health and much like stress, can lead to different conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, hyperacidity and diabetes.
There are ways to manage stress and anxiety, and it can be as practical as getting enough sleep, or even practicing mindfulness and talking to a friend or a professional.
About Samantha Lippiatt
Samantha is an entrepreneur, healthy lifestyle advocate and co-founder of Australia’s first dedicated wellness travel company, Health and Fitness Travel. Samantha has an unbridled enthusiasm for all things travel, health and fitness and is committed to providing healthy holidays options that not only enhance but change lives.