We live in a culture that resists and fears emotion. We’re taught to shut off “negative” feelings like anger or fear, but suppressing, repressing or otherwise overly controlling our emotions can lead to serious health consequences.
Clinging to your feelings by continually re-thinking, re-telling, and/or ruminating over uncomfortable or painful thoughts and experiences is not necessarily “feeling your feelings.”
And pretending you don’t have certain feelings or denying your emotions doesn't make them go away. In fact, holding back intensifies them and can cause emotional buildup.
Unaddressed stress tends to linger in the body, and if your stress is chronic, the result can be hypertension and increased inflammation where it can contribute to:
High blood pressure
Elevated blood sugar
Type 2 diabetes
Weakened immune system
Here are 3 ways unresolved uncomfortable (some say “negative” feelings but I don't like to label emotions) can affect your health:
1. They can cause inflammation
Studies have shown that the effects of emotions like anger, fear, disgust, sadness and shame can cause inflammation in the body. If uncontrolled or prolonged, this inflammation can turn into persistent pain too.
2. A weakened immune system
Research has linked emotional repression to decreased immune system function. Neuroscience research suggests that the emotional and immune systems actually mirror each other. This is why people with mental health disorders can often suffer from immunological disorders as well. Any unresolved painful emotions can cause immunological disturbances, weakening the immune system sufficiently to cause frequent bouts of illnesses or chronic disease.
3. Cardiovascular issues
Many studies have shown that emotions like anger, grief, anxiety and depression can trigger coronary heart disease. This is because not only do these emotions lead to inflammation of the nerves but also to increased blood pressure and other risk factors associated with heart disease.
But by paying close attention to how you feel, you can help yourself accept and feel through those emotions and then give yourself permission to let them go.
The key is to sit with the feeling(s), without judgment.
If you need guidance uncovering the emotional root cause of your health issues and you’re ready to make some real changes in resolving YOUR chronic issues, email me and let's set up a call.
Love, Your Wellness coach,
P.S. Listen to podcast episode 140, “Feel Your Feelings or Let Them Go?”
August 30, 2023