When it comes to our physical health, our emotions have a lot to do with it. That’s because our bodies respond physically to what we think, feel and act. For example, research shows that the stress of delivering a speech can double the severity of allergy symptoms for two days. So here are some examples of how our feelings affect our health.
First: When you’re in love - It raises your levels of nerve growth factor for about a year. Nerve growth factor is a hormone-like substance that helps restore your nervous system, and improves your memory by triggering the growth of new brain cells. It’s also associated with the feeling of being content, which has a calming effect on both your mind and body.
Next: When you’re feeling down - You experience more pain. Depression, pessimism and apathy are all linked to low levels of serotonin – a feel-good chemical in the brain, and since serotonin plays a role in regulating pain perception, many people suffering from depression also suffer from aches and pains.
And lastly: Let’s say you’re feeling sad. Dr. William Frey is a biochemist and author of Crying: The Mystery of Tears. In his research, he compared the tears of women who cried for emotional reasons, to those who cried when they were exposed to onions. And he found that the emotional tears contained high-levels of hormones and neurotransmitters associated with stress - the onion tears didn’t. In other words, Frey says the purpose of emotional crying is to release stress from our bodies. Holding back tears leaves you prone to anxiety, weakens your immune system, and impairs your memory and your digestive tract. So, when you feel like a good cry, go ahead and let it out.