Why Your Emotions Are Wreaking Havoc on Your Health
A few years ago, I was a ticking emotional time bomb. To outsiders, I was a fairly happy-go-lucky, confident woman, and for the most part, I believed that too—well kind of, but not really. As a typical type A personality—or “anxiety-prone go-getter”—nothing was ever good enough, and everything could be better, from my appearance to my performance, and I told myself so internally, constantly. Eventually this made me pretty sick, and it was the final straw for my sister, who sent me an incredible life-changing book that saved me from myself: The Body Is the Barometer of the Soul, so Be Your Own Doctor by Annette Noontil.
This book explains the critical impact our emotions and thoughts can have on our physical health. Noontil believes that “thoughts are energy and they are powerful,” so when you have a negative thought, it can develop physical illness in the body. Annette’s book is a constant reference for me. Whenever I start feeling sick, the book will show me the emotion attached to that feeling, and through having that awareness, I can stop it from happening again. I know many other women like myself who run on emotion so much of the time, but this is a recipe for disaster for your long-term health. Scroll down to read more about this interesting concept and how to stop negative emotion from affecting your health.
Traditionally when we think of illness, we think of parasites, bugs, and viruses that get inside and make us physically ill. And while this is certainly true, Noontil believes that we let them in when we allow our emotions to control us. It is possible to learn from your body ailments, and it might take a little time, but eventually you will understand how the negative thoughts you have affect your body. Once you know that everything you think has an effect on your body, your awareness will be heightened and you’ll be more likely to quash each negative thought that enters your mind before it does any physical damage: “The quality of our life depends on the quality of our thinking and our thinking has overtaken our feelings,” says Noontil.
Sometimes our internal dialogue can be so loud that it affects the way we react. When you respond based on emotion, quite often it has negative repercussions. If a response is emotionally charged, when you lash out or react negatively toward someone else, it not only makes them feel awful but also makes you feel worse. It’s important to get in touch with those unresolved feelings and thoughts and replace them with a new, positive outlook before it’s too late and you become self-destructive.
Karol Truman, author of Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, also looks at the often overlooked and downplayed role of emotions on our health. Her helpful "Probable Feelings Causing Illness" chart covers over 200 ailments (like candidiasis, anxiety, and liver problems) along with exercises to help you work through and release their related feeling. One of these is called “scripting,” which she says “can literally take the slums out of you and then you can change your environment.” It’s only through understanding your reactions to these emotions and feelings that you can learn from them, move on, and finally release them. “To cope with life in the present time, these reactions need to be understood so that they can be seen as learning experiences, not limitations or fears,” says Noontil. “I have learned to be thankful and grateful for my experiences, traumatic or pleasant as the case may be.”
How well do you really know yourself? We spend so much of our time doing things for other people—your partner, children, parents, siblings, boss, colleagues, pets, the list goes on—that we forget to stop and listen to our own bodies and ask ourselves what we really need. Annette asks that you take the time to look inside yourself and understand why you do the things you do. “Why do you limit yourself with fears? Fear of death gives you a fear of living. Fear of success. Fear of failure. Fear of being found out. Fear of what people think,” she says. Well in all honesty, who cares? What really matters is how you care about yourself. Noontil adds, “I see my body as a vehicle to learn from, not a vehicle to use for sickness.” For example, her book points out that when your body is feeling bloated, this is caused by an “accumulation of your emotions in your small intestine.” Or when your stomach is feeling upset, it’s because “you are not taking the time to understand the things you do so you can grow to feel positive.” The book acts as a reference and lists all the possible ailing parts and the emotional reason and/or cause.
When you’re so busy putting yourself down, telling yourself how life could be better or why you don’t look as beautiful as someone else, is it any wonder your life isn’t where it’s supposed to be? My mom has always told me I’m the most beautiful girl in the world, but my lack of self-love prevented me from seeing it too. This isn’t just the physical beauty, either. How often have you looked at someone you know really well and thought, “Wow, they just radiate beauty?” This is because you see them for who they really are. True beauty is seeing all of someone, the outside and inner essence combined. When you discover this and harness its power, there’s no stopping you. Annette says we “all have inner essence to draw on,” and when you do, you’re “able to face whatever life experience you need to have.” So trust in yourself, take charge of your thinking, and be in control of your life—which brings us to our next tip…
We can all think of things about ourselves that we don’t like, but what about some of your positive attributes? In fact, stop what you’re doing right now, and write down five good qualities about yourself. How did you go? Did you find it hard? Why do we find it so hard to talk positively about ourselves? When we don’t have a positive view of ourselves internally, then it affects our confidence outwardly, including our ability to stand up for ourselves and project our best self into the world. Your newfound self-acceptance will allow you to say “no” without a hint of guilt or worry about what other people think. “I don't have to agree with people to be accepted by them anymore. Being accepted by myself is what really matters,” says Noontil.
There is so much to learn about our emotions, and it can take time to understand them and control how they impact our bodies. But just having awareness is all it takes to make major changes to your health. The main thing is to start, and as Annette says, “be married to the process of looking inside for your answers… and be divorced from the result.” Share your wisdom along the way, and sprinkle the positive energy on others as you learn how, because as Noontil says, “If you wait until you are perfect before your share your wisdom, people will be dead.” The next time you’re feeling unwell, take a moment to work out what you’re doing that could be causing you to feel that way, because it could stop an even bigger ailment from building up in the future.
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Do you believe your emotions impact your physical health? How do you stop your feelings from attacking your body and making you ill? Share it with us below.
Opening photo: Gilles Bensimon for Maxim