Yes, you have feelings. And yes, you mostly try to keep them in check. But did you know that your emotions play a much bigger role in your overall health than you may realize?
From the world’s top immunologists to integrative and functional medicine doctors, an ever-growing body of research is beginning to uncover the profound ways in which our emotions affect our physical health—particularly our immunity.
Emotions exist whether we are aware of them or not, and they are constantly affecting our physical bodies. We feel them when we love, we feel them when we’re angry, we feel them when we grieve, and we even feel them with our partner when… you know what.
We’re talking about baking together; get your mind out of the gutter! There’s nothing better than baking cookies with someone you love, unless, of course, those cookies are for a bake sale and you’re feeling resentful about it.
In any case, the emotional effects of stress have been shown to play a significant role in weakening our immune system and making us susceptible to disease. And we’re not talking about having to bake faaaar too many cookies for a last-minute bake sale, but those that we feel on a day-to-day basis as a result of our relationships, careers, and other aspects of our lives.
Let’s dive in a little deeper.
How Do Emotions Affect Our Bodies?
When we experience negative emotions like fear, anger, sadness, and anxiety, our bodies release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can suppress the activity of critical immune cells like natural killer cells and T-cells, which help us fight off infection.
What this does is creates a state of chronic inflammation in the body, which has been linked to just about every major chronic disease out there, from heart disease and cancer to Alzheimer’s and depression. It’s not the Emotional Cookie Monster’s fault, (yes, we named him) but rather a result of the way our bodies are designed.
Hormones like cortisol and adrenaline are meant to help us deal with short-term stressors by giving us a burst of energy so that we can either fight or take flight. But when they’re constantly being released in response to the chronic stressors in our lives, they take a toll on our health.
This is why it’s so important to find ways to manage the stress in our lives and keep our emotions in check. But how do we do that? Well, it’s first helpful to understand what’s going on beneath the surface.
The Roots of Disease
A lot of the stress and anxiety we feel in our lives is a result of unresolved emotional issues from our past. We may not even be aware of these issues, but they can lurk in the background, affecting how we see ourselves and the world around us.
For example, someone who grew up in a household where they were constantly criticized or made to feel worthless may have difficulty asserting themselves in their adult relationships. They may end up in jobs that they hate because they don’t believe they’re worthy of anything better. Or they may sabotage their own success because, deep down, they don’t believe they deserve it.
These are just a few examples, but you get the idea. Our past experiences can shape the way we see ourselves and the world around us, leading to stress and anxiety in our lives.
When understanding the psychoemotional roots of our stress and anxiety, we can begin to find ways to heal the wounds of our past and create more peace and balance in our lives. This, in turn, can help to boost our immunity and protect us from disease.
What Are the Psychoemotional Roots of Immune Disease?
As we mentioned briefly before, the roots of disease are often found in our psychoemotional landscape. There are many different psychoemotional roots of immune disease, but some of the most common include:
- Feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy
- Difficulty asserting yourself or setting boundaries
- Patterns of codependency or enabling others
- Unresolved traumas or abuse
- Chronic stress and anxiety
While this list is by no means exhaustive, it gives you a good idea of some of the most common psychoemotional roots of immune disease.
How Do We Heal the Psychoemotional Roots of Immune Disease?
The first step is to become aware of the patterns in your life that may be contributing to your stress and anxiety. It’s essential to explore the possibility that there may be some unresolved emotional issues underlying your condition. Once you identify these issues, you can begin to work on resolving them.
While nothing will completely eliminate the stress and anxiety in our lives, there are many things we can do to manage it better. Some of the most effective ways to heal the psychoemotional roots of immune disease include:
- Counseling or therapy – This can be an extremely effective way to address the underlying issues that are contributing to your stress and anxiety. A therapist will work with you to help you understand and resolve the problems that are at the root of your condition.
- Support groups – There are many different types of support groups available, and they can be an excellent resource for finding understanding and compassion.
- Meditation or mindfulness – Meditation and mindfulness can help you to focus on the present moment and reduce the stress and anxiety that comes from ruminating on the past or worrying about the future.
- Exercise – Exercise is a great way to release the tension that builds up in our bodies when we’re stressed. It can also help to boost our mood and give us more energy.
- Yoga – Yoga is amazing for reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Bonus, it’s also great for improving flexibility and strength… so you can easily bake many more cookies – your partner will surely appreciate that!
- Acupuncture or energy healing – These modalities can help to promote balance and harmony in the body, which can reduce stress and anxiety.
- Journaling or creative expression – Writing or creating can be a great way to process the emotions that are causing stress and anxiety. It lets out what’s inside us so that we can move on.
These are just a few examples, but there are many others. The key is to find what works for you and to be consistent with it. Remember, it’s not about perfection; it’s about progress.
Reach Out to Innate Healthcare
Functional medicine is all about taking a holistic approach to healthcare. That means looking at the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – and finding the root cause of disease. Which we believe, more often than not, can be found in our psychoemotional landscape.
If you’re struggling with an immune disease, or any other chronic condition, and you’re looking for a different approach, reach out to us at Innate Healthcare. We would love to work with you to help you heal the underlying issues that are contributing to your condition.
Take the first step today and schedule a free consultation. We’ll sit down with you and talk about your health history, your goals, and how we can help you achieve them. We believe that everyone has the innate ability to heal, and we would be honored to help you on your journey.