Emotions Affect Your Health
by Jackie Woods
Does your fitness plan include healthy emotional
expression? The following tools will help you create a
healthier, more integrated life.
Did you ever feel you were walking through quick sand
just because you were emotionally down? Did you ever
feel bad all over just because you were bored? Did you
ever say, "I feel like a millions dollars,"
just because a special friend called? These examples
indicate the immediate impact emotions have on one’s
physical vitality. They also have long-term impact. Long
after a feeling has passed through your awareness it may
be "hanging out" in your physical body.
This concept of the emotions and the physical body
working together may be new to you, but not alien. If
you just think back, you will remember how these
connections have happened in people you’ve known. For
instance, have you known someone who was never able to
completely express all their anger each time it came up?
This person may have had several bladder infections, or
even developed kidney stones. Often times after a death,
the body will cry in the form of a cold. Or if a person
never totally passes through their grief for a loved
one, they may develop lung problems. This is because
they are emotionally congested around their heart.
If you can respond to any of those examples or come
up with some of your own, then you certainly are able to
see the necessity of gaining tools to help clear the
emotions so they won’t get stuck in your body and make
you sick. Never fear, this does not mean you have to
become a raving maniac. You must simply become
comfortable with feeling, and then expressing, every
single emotion to its full intensity, in order for your
physical body to have emotional health. Not only will
you be healthier, but you will also be happier.
There are a few simple tools that can make this
health project easier:
*LIST all the unhappy EMOTIONS that you can think of,
like anger, guilt, sadness, rage, shame, frustration,
etc. Then put each one on a separate 3x5 card.
*WRITE down on your cards three POSSIBLE WAYS of
expressing each one.
*JOURNAL DAILY to increase your awareness of what you
are feeling. Simply take note of what went on during
your day and list the feeling that accompanied each
*Take special care to EXPRESS each emotion to the
person (and/or about the situation) it is connected
When listing all the unhappy emotions you can think
of, it helps to list the varying emotional intensities
as separate feelings. For example, frustration is just a
variation of rage, but the difference in intensity
requires an entirely different mode of expression. Take
note as you practice the four tools, to see if your
range of intensity increases. Some people only express
mildly, while others only know one volume of loud. You
will need to be aware of the full spectrum and have
possibilities listed for expression of each level.
As you become proficient with this simple formula,
you will probably want to add to your list more emotions
and more possible ways of expressing them. Eventually
you won’t need to carry your cards with you because
the ways of expressing will accompany the feeling. At
first, however, the strong emotions will override any
new ideas, and cards will need to be handy to serve as
reminders of how to express in appropriate ways. The
whole point of the card-carrying tool is to retrain your
mind toward healthy expression patterns. Few people are
born with those. They need to be developed.
Journaling doesn’t have to be a time consuming
thing, but you will need to schedule around ten minutes
per day if it is going to serve as a tool for awareness.
Too often people’s actions are near to robotic. Why
shouldn’t brushing your teeth or even cooking supper
be accompanied by an emotion? You are a total person
with all cylinders engaging at all times. Neither your
mind, nor your emotions, nor your physical body are part
time. They may not be in charge, but they are
functioning through every detail of your life. It is
just that awareness usually gets cut off after a certain
number of repetitions. Journaling helps you to search
beyond the part of you that is in charge of an activity
to find the other parts.
The last tool of expressing to the appropriate person
or addressing the appropriate situation is probably the
most difficult. How often have you complained to a
friend about what is going on at home or at work? Or are
you one of those people who doesn’t tell anyone; you
had rather change the subject by directing your
attention elsewhere? The originator of the emotion holds
the key to its completion. Just as dust can’t be swept
under the carpet to have a truly clean house, neither
can emotion be swept under the carpet. The dirt in the
house must be addressed. The emotion in the situation
must be addressed!
This formula for keeping a healthy body is as
important as eating right, exercising, and brushing your
teeth. The only reason emotions didn’t make your
original health list was because they were considered to
exist in a different part of your life. As you
understand that all parts of you must work together to
create a healthy integrated whole, then you will be
grateful you have these four tools to assist you in
having a healthier life.
©Copyright 2002 Jackie Woods. All Rights Reserved.
founder of the Adawehi Healing Center in Columbus, NC.
She is author of the books, Spiritual Energy Cycles
and Journey to Ultimate Spirituality. She has
also published tapes and compact discs addressing
various areas of health. She can be contacted on the
Internet at www.adawehi.com
or by telephone at 828-894-0124.