Emotions can negatively affect your health
Trust me, I've been there.
Anger and bitterness are emotions that can knock you off your feet and put you in bed with a chronic illness. Loneliness can increase cortisol levels (the stress hormone), affect sleep quality, and increases blood pressure. Isolation and solitude can likewise weaken your immune system.
A year ago I wrote a blog post: Is Your Marriage a Fixer Upper? At the end of the blog post, I said I would write about tips to keep a marriage in good shape. I desperately wanted to get mine in good shape, but the more I tried, the worse it got.
I confided in my girlfriends. One of two things would happen; either my friend would commiserate with me and extol the downfalls of marriage alongside me, which can be like adding fuel to a burning marriage.
The other thing that would happen is my well-meaning friend would tell me as a Christian, the only option was to stay and then suggest ways for me to fix things.
I wanted to avoid a failing marriage, I wanted to seek success more than avoid failure, I just didn't know how. My feelings ruled me. I saw my situation as one with zero real options where I had no choice but to stay.
I felt trapped
During this time I sensed an impending doom and grew more depressed and unhealthy in spite of my efforts to eat right, exercise, and get plenty of sleep. My therapist and I discussed it weekly.
I was at the end of my rope. Mentally, I just couldn't handle my perceived failure, living a lie, all of it, anymore.
Around this time, someone said something different. She said, “Why don't you leave?” At this point, I spent some time considering this idea. That's when I realized I had a choice. I didn't have to stay but I wanted to stay. I knew that I actually could leave if I wanted to without being disowned by my Father.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. – Romans 8:1-2
Knowing that I wasn't trapped was like chains falling off my heart. I was free. I felt completely at peace. My heart was light as a feather for the first time in a long while.
Then, within days, something unexpected happened.
Out of the blue, I was starting to enjoy being around my husband again. I missed him when he was gone to work, and I thought about him all day and all night.
I finally got up the courage to talk to him about my feelings, and miraculously, he was still waiting for me to come around. His heart still belonged to me.
After having avoided him, now I couldn't get enough of him. I wanted to see him all the time!
Perception of choice changes how you look at things. A feeling of freedom had entered our marriage. We get up and spend as much time together as possible before he leaves for work. We text and FaceTime throughout the day… we are very conscious of our relationship now and proceed with intent.
Now, people can tell you all day long that you have a choice, but until you ACTUALLY perceive it down to the very fiber of your soul, it won't matter. You have to get it, you have to believe the choice is available to you.
Emotions affect our health
Being consistently upset might end up having you feeling less than stellar physically. Harvard University scientists discovered that in healthy people, merely recalling a bitter experience from their past caused a six-hour dip in levels of the antibody immunoglobulin A, which is the cells’ first line of defense against infection. (source)
If this is you, then protect your immune system by learning better coping strategies. By improving means of communication, learning better problem-solving skills, the practice of being balanced rather than rigid or all-or-nothing and using humor to ease tension can help.
Anger and anxiety are often two peas in a pod! Generalized Anxiety Disorder which interfere's with your lifestyle on a daily basis can be worsened by anger. Panic attacks can be a symptom of holding in emotions.
Depression is linked to anger in various studies. Dwelling on something unpleasant that makes you feel angry increases your risk of depression. If you can't fix the problem at least occupy your mind, so you aren't thinking about it as often.
Frustration, irritation, resentment, and rage are all associated with anger and can affect our physical health and drain our energy, leave our head spinning and even cause high blood pressure! According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this emotion is stored in the liver and gallbladder.
Over time, unresolved or persistent anger can cause problems with the stomach and the spleen. However, the liver is most affected by anger.
For example, here are some things that might be affected if your liver is full of anger:
- Skin conditions
I had all four of these symptoms to some degree but almost overnight I was feeling better than I had in years! Perception changes everything.
If you are experiencing health challenges related to anger, bitterness, and resentment resolve what you can for your health's sake. Try, if you can to sit back and reflect, really become heedful of the choices you have. Pray and seek Him.
Maybe you need some encouragement? If so, join us in Hopelively, a group where women support women through the hardships of life.
The companion post can be found on Jami's blog Sacred Grounds, Sticky Floors… “Under the heavy burden of finance, family, and law if you truly believe that miserable is your only option… you pick miserable.” read the rest of her post here!