Have you ever noticed that when you get anxious, your heart rate seems to increase tenfold? Or maybe you've experienced a few stressful days that end up leaving you with a head cold? These are just two examples of the powerful connection between the mind and body.
For centuries, healers have pondered the powerful connection between mental health and physical health. As more research on the mind-body connection advances, science is catching up to this ancient knowledge.
As we go through major life events, stress and negative emotions can trigger physical symptoms in our body, which can suppress our immune system and begin setting the scene for disease. With modern stressors at an all-time high, it’s an incessant battle, one which we’re going to lose if we don’t do something to control our emotions.
These emotional connections to our bodies have been long understood by Chinese and Ayurvedic healers. Here are the 7 emotions directly linked to specific organs in the body.
- The Heart: Over-excitement is felt in the heart and results in symptoms of palpitations and insomnia.
- The Liver: Our liver is the organ related to anger and this is evident when a heavy drinker experiences rage.
- Kidneys and Adrenals: The kidneys and the adrenals carry fear, and you can feel this when your energy levels drop.
- Gallbladder: Shock is paired with the gallbladder and these emotions scatter your energy, leaving you feeling confused.
- Lungs: Our lungs produce the emotion of grief, and people who experience chronic sadness will often have problems with their lungs.
- Spleen: Worry is controlled by the spleen, with symptoms including fatigue, poor appetite, and bloating.
While it’s impossible to switch our emotions off, our awareness of these feelings can help us begin the process of bringing them under control.
Bradley Nelson, the author of the Emotion Code, says that when we feel an emotion strongly enough, it literally shakes our entire being through vibrational energy.
“Sometimes the energy of that emotion you’re feeling is too powerful and it can become trapped and stuck in the body,” he explains in the film E-Motion.
“When you distort that energy field you start to have problems because what you’re really doing is distorting the tissues of the body. If you distort tissue and irritate tissue long enough, that tissue starts to have problems and it can go through those changes we call cancer.”
Cancer survivor Chris Wark knows this all too well and talks about his experience in Transcendence. “When you are stressed, whether you’re in a state of chronic worry and anxiety, or fear or resentment or bitterness or unforgiveness, jealousy, envy; if you’re entertaining those emotions every day, then you stay in a state of chronic stress,” he says.
If you find yourself feeling stressed, anxious, worried, or other negative emotions on a regular basis, here are 8 self-help practices to control your emotions and heal your body:
1. Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT)
EFT or meridian tapping helps you find a balance between positive and negative energy. Essentially it blends together the ancient science of Chinese acupressure with the modern science of psychology. There are different meridian points which are tapped on gently on the body while saying certain affirmations or statements out loud. It’s best seen in an instructional video and we have some on FMTV here.
The art of refocusing your mind and shifting thoughts has a profound effect on both your emotional and physical health. Science shows that meditation can positively alter the brain helping us to deal with emotional stress, anxiety, and can be better than morphine when it comes to physical pain. Just try 5 minutes a day and you’ll start to notice a difference.
The act of writing out your feelings can have the incredible ability to free you from your emotions. It’s a great way to get your emotions out instead of leaving them trapped inside.
4. Talk it out
Similar to journaling, speaking out your feelings and emotions can also bring that freedom you’ve been longing for. You can simply talk them out to yourself or find someone you know you can trust to help you process through your emotions.
This practice has a two-fold effect: 1 - you get more oxygen to your cells, allowing your body and brain to function at a higher level; 2 - it causes you to stop and relax. In just 10 minutes, you take yourself out of the chaos of the emails, kids, bills, jobs, etc. and give your body time to relax and just take a breath.
6. Make time for rest
Similar to breathwork, finding time to stop, rest, and recharge each day can help you take back control of your thoughts. Just ensure you are doing what recharges you, not just something that shuts your brain off.
7. Fuel your body well
Ensure you are feeding your body the nutrients needed for a healthy nervous system with an adequate intake of B vitamins (salmon, leafy greens, eggs), vitamin D (egg yolks, fatty fish, orange juice), and two long chain omega-3 fatty acids, DHA, and EPA (mackerel, anchovies, flaxseeds).
Physical activity releases endorphins, aka the happy hormone! Simply exercising for 20-30 minutes a day can reduce your stress hormone (cortisol) and increase your happiness with an immediate impact on anxiety.
If you want to learn more about the science of how stress and negative emotions can impact your health, and what you can do about it, you can find out more in our latest docu-series TRANSCENDENCE - Live Life Beyond the Ordinary.