HOW EMOTIONS AFFECT THE BODY

by Peter Franks

 

The human brain is hotwired to respond to actions and stimuli that takes place in both our internal and external environment. Our subconscious is responsible for us feeling the way we feel in response to what is going on in our daily lives. These emotions we feel are involuntary and reflex actions that our conscious mind is not capable of controlling.

 

The limbic system is a brain area located between the brain stem and two cerebral hemispheres that govern, integrates, and regulates emotions and memory. It includes the hippocampus, hypothalamus, and amygdalin. This part of the brain processes reflexive emotions like anger and anxiety.

 

EMOTIONS AND FEELINGS

 

Emotions are different from feelings and moods. Emotions are electrochemical signals that flow through us in an unending circle, while the feeling is sensitivity or intuitive understanding or an emotional state and reaction to an idea or belief. Feelings can be compassion, sympathy, adoration, lust, passion, fondness, love, pity, sorrow, condolences, sixth sense, and concern.

 

Emotions are either pleasant or unpleasant depending on the factors that cause us to feel these emotions and how they affect the body. Biologically, we are hardwired to express emotions like anger, fear, disgust, sadness, contempt, happiness, surprise fear, desire, amusement, adoration, disappointment, distress, awe, interest, nostalgia, relief, boredom, calmness, awkwardness, and anticipation.

 

These emotions affect the body negatively and positively:

 

  • Anger: in response to anger, the brain shuts blood away from the guts and towards the muscle in preparation for physical exertion. Anger is also linked to abdominal pain, increased anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, dizziness, headache, and feeling overwhelmed. Anger is also commonly known to trigger stroke and heart attack.
  • Joy/ happiness: happy people are less vulnerable to feeling stressed caused by reduced fibrinogen and lower resting heart rates. Happiness enhances the production of hormones in the body and brings a host a lot of potential health benefits.
  • Fear: our immune system and cardiovascular system are in danger when we experience fear. It causes the release of stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline which causes an increase in blood pressure. Fear negatively impacts both our physical and mental health and causes cardiovascular diseases, immune dysfunction, depression, and anxiety. Fear also makes us cautious and prevents us from taking unnecessary risks.
  • Sadness: sadness can lead to physical stress in the body. Sadness is linked to depression and can make you sick and cause symptoms like headaches, body aches, and exhaustion. According to a study, a feeling of sadness is also linked to heart disease and metabolic syndrome, it also affects blood pressure, memory, and self-esteem.
  • Loneliness: did you know? More than 60 percent of the lonely people in this world are married, meaning the world’s most common and legal form of companionship (marriage), does not prevent loneliness. Loneliness is mostly attributed to low self-esteem, other causes include social awkwardness, difficulty in expressing oneself, race, age, depression.

 

Loneliness does not depend on how many friends or relationships you have. Loneliness is known to trigger what psychologists call hypervigilance for social threat. Studies have shown that there is a link between loneliness and an increased risk of developing dementia in adults.

 

HOW EMOTIONS AFFECTS OUR BODY ORGANS

 

Emotions when felt triggers the release of some hormones in our body and our body organs are the target for the release of some of these hormones. Some influence of emotions on our body organs includes:

 

  • Anger affects the liver
  • Happiness affects the heart by reducing the risk of high blood pressure
  • Sadness affects the heart and lungs
  • Anxiety affects the heart
  • Surprise/ shock affects the heart
  • Fear affects the kidney and heart
  • Thoughtfulness affects the heart and spleen

 

HOW TO MANAGE AND CONTROL EMOTIONS THAT AFFECTS US NEGATIVELY

 

  • Socialize more, relate with people around you and form relationships to prevent loneliness and boredom
  • Seek professional help to manage emotions that are out of control like anger and fear
  • Get more physically active and exercise more to reduce your vulnerability to stress-induced emotions
  • Use medical pills prescribed by a psychiatrist or therapist
  • Avoid people or certain activities that trigger these negative emotions

 

Negative emotions like anger, sadness, fear, and distress cause feelings of sorrow, helplessness, and hopelessness and can upset the body’s hormonal balance and can damage the body’s immune system. These negative emotions also trigger depression and induce suicidal thoughts and death.

 

Live a healthy lifestyle, register with a therapist to help manage emotions that are out of hand, and always try to talk it out with trusted friends and family members, to prevent these emotions from building up in your body and causing major psychological problems in the long run.

 

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