Human beings don’t just live, we experience life. Generally these experiences seem to us to be either positive or negative.
We get a promotion and a hefty raise – that’s a positive experience and makes us happy.
We get a flat tire and are stranded in the middle of nowhere – that’s a negative experience and makes us angry and frustrated.
No matter who you are, where you live, or what your IQ or bank account balance is, if you are alive, you’re going to experience life’s ups and downs and the emotions that go with them.
The key is to find healthy ways to cope with stress and negative emotions o they don’t fester and make you sick.
How Negative Emotions Can Make You Sick
When you feel sad, angry, resentful, scared, or nervous, you don’t just feel this way in your mind, your body feels these emotions as well and responds accordingly. This is what is termed the “mind/body connection.”
When you are stressed in any way, your body thinks you are in danger and begins the ‘fight or flight’ response. Certain hormones like cortisone and adrenaline are released that are supposed to help you become more alert and power your muscles so you can either run from the danger or fight the danger.
But since the danger isn’t acute, like when you’re being chased by a hungry bare, but rather chronic, like when you are in a toxic relationship, this fight or flight response lingers day after day, and day after day your body experiences wear and tear. The result? Your health takes a hit.
Prolonged negative emotions, or negative emotions that are pushed down and never dealt with, can affect digestive health (ulcers, IBS), weaken the immune system, and cause high blood pressure. This prolonged fight or flight response also disrupts our hormonal balance, which can lead to conditions such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism and diabetes.
But perhaps the scariest health results of prolonged stress and negative emotions are cardiovascular disease and decreased lifespan due to shortened telomeres (the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which play a big role in aging).
Healthy Ways to Deal with Negative Emotions
Unless you want to pack up and move yourself and family to the tallest ridges of the Himalayas, living only among peaceful, zen-loving monks, you will have to find some ways to cope with life’s stress and negative experiences.
Here are some things you can begin to do to decrease the impact negative emotions have on your health:
Express Your Feelings
One of the absolute worst ways to deal with negative emotions is to NOT deal with negative emotions. Many people, unable to handle their emotional pain, shove the pain down where they feel it can’t be felt. And in those depths the pain festers for days, weeks, months or even years. Until one day, a disease begins to develop.
It is far better to let your feelings out when you are feeling them. In appropriate ways of course. I am not suggesting that you throw a tantrum at the grocery store when you find yourself waiting in the checkout line for half an hour because there are only 2 cashiers on duty. But you can certainly ask to speak with a manager and calmly lodge a complaint.
Try to take deep breaths and then speak openly to your partner, coworker, child etc. to let them know that something about their actions or behavior is bothering you.
If necessary, seek guidance from a licensed counselor or therapist who can help you articulate your feelings and offer coping strategies.
Don’t Forget the Good in Your Life
When things are bothering you it is far too easy to begin to view life in a completely negative way. But no matter what bad things are happening in your life, there is always good to be noticed around you.
Start to focus on the good instead of the bad. This is not some feel-good, woo-woo exercise. It is, rather, an exercise in being realistic about life. You may be experiencing a divorce or a death in the family, and those are indeed tragic events. But there is still life and goodness all around you. Make it a habit to notice the good of life on a daily basis.
Practice Being Calm
When you can quiet your mind and raging hormones in your body, you can better see the situation you are faced with and how you may be able to deal with it. Feeling negative emotions is reactive. We want to put ourselves in a zen-like state so we can be PROactive and do what needs to be done to change the events and situations we find ourselves in.
To become calm, try things like meditation, yoga and Tai Chi. Plain ol’ exercise is another great way to use up all of that ‘fight or flight’ energy so you can relax.
Biofeedback is a guided breathing technique backed by those in the health and scientific communities like the Mayo Clinic, Johns Hopkins, and the American Heart Association. This technique naturally cues your body to relax, bringing heartrate and blood pressure down.
In the past, these biofeedback machines were very expensive and not accessible to regular people. They were typically used in research studies.
But thanks to digital technology, biofeedback techniques are available to everyone and a wonderful and fun way to deal with life’s stress.
If you are looking for a way to calm your nerves, lower your blood pressure, and positively deal with your negative emotions, ensuring the best possible health outcomes, you’ll want to learn more about Sonic Wave Relation Therapy.
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