Your Mind Can Make You Sick
Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes impact the way our bodies function physically.
It can be a bit unsettling to explore how our minds can make us sick. But learning more about the mind-body connection can provide information that makes us smarter about our healthcare.
The health relationship between our mind and our body is not a new phenomenon. In the early 1800s American author Henry David Thoreau wrote:
But what is quackery? It is commonly an attempt to cure the diseases of a man by addressing his body alone.
Worry or anxiety can make us sick. It can contribute to high blood pressure and stomach disorders. Heart disease is influenced by anger. Even cancer can have a beginning that originated with emotional distress.
Ignoring our mental health can have the same consequences as neglecting our physical health.
There are conclusive clinical studies that show connections between our emotions and our physical health. Researchers believe that 50 percent of people who see their physician have physical symptoms directly caused by their emotions. Some researchers think that amount is as high as 90 percent.
There’s a scientific reason why feelings impact physical health and make us sick.
Different parts of the brain are associated with specific emotions, and they are connected to certain hormone patterns. The release of hormones affects our bodies. When a person is aggressive and anxious, too much nor-epinephrine and epinephrine is released into the body, even while the person appears to be relaxed. This can result in feeling sick.
Experts are convinced that a person with prolonged anger will experience negative changes in blood chemistry. The arteries thicken, and an excess of hormones cause blood vessel muscles to constrict which raises blood pressure and narrows the arteries. This can result in chronic hypertension, stroke, or heart failure.
Many studies conducted have shown that cancer-prone persons tend to hide, ignore, or deny their feelings—especially anger, resentment, and depression.
They also determined that three specific emotional characteristics predispose a person to developing cancer: a perceived lack of closeness with one or both parent’s, responding to stress with a sense of hopelessness, and bottling up emotions or having no emotional outlets. Hiding, ignoring, or denying emotions has been linked so closely with cancer proneness that many researchers are now considering it a valid risk factor for cancer.
Cancer survivor and author Kris Carr wrote: If you don’t think your anxiety, depression, sadness and stress impact your physical health, think again. All of these emotions trigger chemical reactions in your body, which can lead to inflammation and a weakened immune system.
Do you dismiss the importance of dealing with emotional stuff? Understandably most people want to forget about past hurts, disappointments, and even some childhood memories.
But it would seem that your body remembers it if you fail to resolve it mindfully. If you don’t address it, your body will express it. There’s a strong probability you will become sick.
Whatever you have been avoiding emotionally, deal with it today for a healthier tomorrow.
For more details about the latest scientific proof that attitudes and emotions do indeed affect physical health, read Mind/Body Health: The Effects of Attitudes, Emotions, and Relationships by authors B. Hafen, K. Karren, K. Frandsen and N. Smith.
Think about it.
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