Emotions that are kept inside may eventually burst into a disaster in the long run. So, it is always important to vent them out. Good emotional health is a rare phenomenon these days. Negative emotions like anxiety, stress, fear, anger, jealousy, hatred, doubt and impatience can affect your health to a great extent. Certain incidents like getting fired from a job, going through a tumultuous marriage, experiencing monetary issues or coping with the death of a loved one can be detrimental and wreak havoc on your mental and emotional well-being, and in turn take a toll on your health.
1. AngerAnger is defined as an intense feeling in response to feeling frustrated, hurt, disappointed or threatened. If addressed quickly and expressed in a healthy way, anger is good for your health. But most of the time, anger is detrimental to your health. In particular, anger can affect your reasoning ability and cause an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Anger ramps up the ‘fight-or-flight’ reaction in the body, thus leading to an excess secretion of stress hormones like adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. This causes the brain’s amygdala (an area involved with experiencing emotions) to overreact, and it pushes more blood to the frontal lobe (the area in charge of reasoning). The excess blood in the reasoning area can disrupt your thinking process. This is why people say that “anger is blinding”. It can lead you to throw your phone, laptop or anything you are carrying at that moment. Moreover, anger leads to tightening of the blood vessels, resulting in a spike in your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. If this happens frequently, it causes wear and tear on your artery walls.
2. WorryChronic worrying can trigger a host of health problems. It affects the spleen and weakens the stomach. It causes changes in the functions of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. So, when you worry a lot, your body receives chemicals that guide it to respond with an upset or weak stomach. Worrying or obsessing about a certain issue leads to problems like vomiting, diarrhea, stomach troubles and other chronic medical issues. Excess worrying is also linked to chest pain, high blood pressure, weakened immunity and early aging. Moreover, worrying too much about a certain thing puts a great amount of pressure on the muscles in the stomach, which in turn places pressure on the stomach. Any pressure on the stomach changes the way your stomach feels. For instance, you might have experienced situations when you have had butterflies in your stomach due to excess worrying. Worrying too much is also bad for your personal relationships. A 2011 study led by a Case Western Reserve University faculty member in psychology reports that worrying can be so intrusive and obsessive that it can interfere in the person’s life and endanger the health of social relationships. At the same time, worry may also make you absent minded or neglectful of your health. Excessive worry disturbs your peace of mind, making it harder to enjoy sound sleep. Sleep disturbance can take a toll on your health in many ways.
3. Sadness or GriefOut of several emotions that one goes through in life, sadness is the longest-lasting emotion. Sadness or grief weakens the lungs, causing fatigue and shortness of breath. It disturbs the easy flow of your breath by narrowing the passageway in the bronchial tubes. When you are filled with grief or sorrow, your breath cannot flow in and out of your lungs easily, thus leading to asthma attacks or various other bronchial conditions. A 2003 report in Acupuncture Today reports that sadness comes from the heart, damages the lungs, then comes back to damage the heart. If the lungs are truly damaged, one needs to look for other signs of lung qi or yin deficiency, such as coughing, shortness of breath, etc. Depression and melancholy also ruin your skin and can even cause constipation and a low blood oxygen count. Also, people who are depressed tend to gain or lose weight more easily, and are even easily addicted to drugs or other harmful substances. When feeling sad and distressed, do not hold back your tears. Letting them flow helps release the emotion. Interestingly, emotional tears have actually been found to contain stress hormones and neurotransmitters associated with stress.
4. StressEveryone feels and reacts to stress in different ways. Mild stress can be good for your health and can help you perform better. However, when stress is excessive, it can lead to high blood pressure, asthma, ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, stress is a leading contributor to heart disease. Stress causes an increase in blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Plus, it encourages unhealthy habits and behaviors such as smoking, physical inactivity and overeating. All these factors may damage the artery walls and can cause heart problems. Stress manifests itself through symptoms like migraines, grinding your teeth, heart palpitations, light-headedness, exhaustion, insomnia, nausea and a decreased or increased appetite. In fact, stress can lead to numerous other health conditions, including:
- Asthmatic conditions
- Excessive hair loss and even baldness
- Mouth ulcers and excessive dryness
- Mental problems, such as insomnia, headaches, personality changes and irritability
- Cardiovascular disease and hypertension
- Spasmodic pains in the neck and shoulders, musculoskeletal aches, lower back pain, and various minor muscular twitches and nervous tics
- Skin outbreaks, such as eczema and psoriasis
- Unhealthy reproductive system, leading to menstrual disorders and recurrent vaginal infections in women and impotence and premature ejaculation among men
- Diseases of the digestive tract including gastritis, stomach and duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis and irritable colon