Short answer: Yes!
Your emotions definitely have an effect on physical health.
Maybe a better question is, “How and why do emotions affect your health?”
The answer to this has several layers. The body-mind and gut-brain connections are deep. They aren’t entirely separate systems.
We experience emotions in the body. That’s where they are felt. That’s why there are so many expressions we use around emotions that have to do with the body:
“I had butterflies in my stomach.” – anxiety, nervousness
“There was a frog in my throat.” – grief, fear
“Hearing that news was like a punch to the gut.” shock, betrayal,
“My heart is broken in a million pieces.” grief, sadness
“What they did makes me sick to my stomach.” – disgust
Our body tells us what we are feeling.
Emotions Let Us Know What’s Wrong
Our emotions are so important in letting us know what we need, when our boundaries have been crossed, when we need to do things a different way, when we’re in danger, our likes and dislikes, our values, and our purpose in life.
Emotions urge us to take action!
Be thankful you have them! The problem only lies in not listening to them, not feeling them, and therefore, not letting them go.
The body is a map of the subconscious mind – a place where all of our memories, beliefs, fears, and, yes, repressed feelings go. When we experience “trauma,” – meaning any type of experience that was emotionally distressing and disturbing to us at the time – sometimes those emotions get stuck in the body if they aren’t acknowledged, fully felt, processed, and released. Over the years this can build and cause physical problems.
Traumas can be large and small. They can be mental, emotional, or physical. If you survived your childhood, you probably remember something distressing that happened to you that affected you in a big way. When we are kids we are powerless and completely dependent on others for our survival and sense of safety and belonging. Even a parent’s lack of attention can feel like the end of the world. Through a kid’s eyes, it is.
As a kid, if you ever felt ignored, unloved, unseen, unheard, humiliated, abused, neglected by an authority figure… you’ve experienced some type of trauma. But also chronic stress has a very negative effect on your physical health as your body is in a constant state of alert, suppressing functions that aren’t necessary when the need to fight or flee arises. Such as digestion or the immune system.
This is where a lot of damage starts to occur. It’s where your emotions affect your health.
Maybe you’re suspicious of this kind of “unscientific” explanation but experts are finding more connections between mental health and physical health all the time. We already know that stress and depression negatively impact the immune system. And it’s already accepted that our gut is a “second brain,” controlling much of our mood through the production of feel-good neurotransmitters like serotonin. It’s also been established that inflammation in the body and brain causes depression.
It’s not a stretch to say that our physical issues are a compounded material representation of our mental-emotional patterns.
Psychoneuroimmunology is “a branch of medicine that deals with the influence of emotional states (such as stress) and nervous system activities on immune function especially in relation to the onset and progression of disease.”
And this whole blog is about the gut-brain axis – how the gut and brain communicate with and affect each other. How the gut creates 90-95% of our neurotransmitters that are responsible for how we feel.
So, again: Do emotions affect your health? Definitely!
The Mind-Body-Gut-Brain Connection
I wanted to share a story that happened to me recently that links having a body experience with an emotional experience.
And, yes, I realize this is a weird story to share. But here I am!
As you may know, I’m on a journey to heal my gut and solve my digestive, skin, energy, and mood issues. Recently, I had taken Oxy-Powder Colon Cleanse because I wanted to start with a “clean slate.” I have slow digestion and I want my body to be able to catch up because it’s been behind for several months.
There are several reasons this may have happened: antibiotics, travel, stress, a breakup, and a period of inactivity. But also, I’ve had chronic stress and low mood for a lot of my life. If you have similar issues such as slow digestion, anxiety, depression, constipation, acne, sugar cravings, brain fog… I know what you’re going through. Sometimes we have a variety of unexplained symptoms and they may all stem from a leaky gut or an unhealthy gut microbiome.
Back to the Oxy-Powder Colon Cleanse.
The instructions said to take 4-8 pills before bed with a bunch of water. I’m always cautious when taking something new so I only took one to see how my body would respond. Well, I’m pretty glad I tested the waters first because my gut woke me up in the middle of the night with this vibrating fizzing activity in my stomach. It wasn’t painful, but I am a light sleeper, and being so sensitive to body sensations I couldn’t imagine how anyone could sleep through that.
What I think happened was because I took the pill and then laid down, it dissolved completely in my stomach and just sat there without getting to my intestines. I had to try again.
The next morning I was looking into side effects other people experienced and most people sleep just fine. Like I said, I’m sensitive. I decided I would take the pills several hours before bed so the pill was digested enough and I’d be able to sleep. So I took 3 pills about 2 hours after dinner so that my stomach was empty. Or empty enough.
You can really feel the stuff working!
I did wake up again in the middle of the night because of all the action happening in my intestines. Again it didn’t hurt, it was just a strange sensation, like the walls of my gut were getting a good scrub down. Because I was awake for a bit I started to feel like I had to use the bathroom. So that was bowel movement (BM) #1.
I fell back to sleep.
I was having an unpleasant dream that my mom and dad were disappointed in me because I wasn’t married or “successful” at my age. I was feeling the disappointment and shame…in my gut.
It may not sound too bad but it was actually kind of terrifying. As I started waking up in the morning, still in dreamland, I felt like all the activity happening in my gut from the Oxy-Powder pills moved or triggered an emotional response that I was still in the middle of.
The last time I felt an emotional reaction from physical movement was last year doing yoga. This felt similar to that release. A lot of the health issues I am experiencing and trying to heal stem from my gut. And it seems I am carrying a lot of shame in my gut.
Can I heal my gut by healing my emotions?
I think you can as long as you are supporting that healing with a healthy lifestyle.
This just reinforced my belief that my gut issues are partly a manifestation of my emotional issues and my false, negative beliefs that have caused me pain and stress over the years. Emotions build if we don’t let them go every day. So again, emotions affect your health.
BM #3. Imagine if I took the recommended dose?
Emotions Bubble Up To The Surface
I don’t say all of this because I think everyone will have the same experience I had. I don’t think many people will. But it did confirm for me that my gut and body issues are completely connected or one with my brain and mind issues. The pills that I took “shook” my gut and old emotions that I had not dealt with and they bubbled to the surface.
It also showed me that the Oxy-Powder works but I’d rather take it during the day when I know I’ll be spending the whole day at home. I do think a lot of people will experience the bowel movement results that I did though.
If we are not able to feel, accept, process, and let go of our emotions then we will continue to experience the negative physical effects.
Sometimes pain in the body is the physical manifestation of our mental and emotional patterns. So take care of your body and emotions!
Create a practice where you sit with your emotions instead of constantly tossing them aside. If physical health is a priority for you, mental and emotional health must be dealt with regularly.
UPDATE: I have since tried Oxy-Powder again and didn’t have such a visceral reaction. I think when I took them the first time my gut was leaky. I have been doing the Myers 30-Day Candida Breakthrough Program and now my stomach is not as sensitive. I will do a more thorough review of Oxy-Powder in the future because I’ve been using it with great results!
Have you ever linked physical health with emotions? How do emotions affect your health? Let us know in the comments!