Body and Emotions

Believe us-Emotions have a very important role in maintaining our Health & Wellness.

Our bodies are amazing machines.  Different types of tissues, organs, systems all wired together performing complicated functions involuntarily 24*7.  Along with this there are functions like thoughts, emotions and  memories which are embedded in our mind (conscious and subconscious) ready to be utilised when needed.  Emotions especially have been known to have a very huge impact on not only our psychological health but also on our physical and physiological health.  Researchers have proven that different emotions are linked to different organs in our body . This gives us an indication that not only our diet and lifestyle but our emotional wellness is also as important to us to be healthy and balanced.  Ayurveda defines health as not only the absence of disease but the balance of physical, physiological, psychological and spirituals aspects of the body. 

What are Emotions?

The Wikipedia definition of emotions is-Emotions are psychological states brought on by neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or displeasure.  Also note that there is currently no scientific consensus on a definition. 

Emotions are often intertwined  with mood, temperament, personality, disposition, creativity, and motivation.  It has also been defined as positive or negative activity in relation to a particular physiological activity.   Emotions are not only feelings or moods but they are dependent on feelings and moods of a person.  Emotions are autonomous physical responses to internal or external events generated subconsciously and describe different physiological states. 

Emotions mainly involve three components-a subjective/physical experience, a physiological response and a psychological reaction to the experience.  

According to Paul Eckman, there are only six basic emotions throughout human cultures—fear, disgust, anger, surprise, happiness and sadness; but later he added embarrassment, excitement, contempt, shame, pride, satisfaction and amusement to the list. 

How is our body or health & wellness affected by Emotions?

In our everyday life, we use a lot of sentences to express our emotions like heart broken, cold feet, blushing cheeks, butterflies in the stomach and so on.  These expressions give us a clear indication of the organ affected by the emotion.  We just don’t experience the emotions in our mind but also our organs and body.

As we just saw, emotions are physiological and psychological response to physical, external or internal experiences or stimuli.  

Let’s look at our body metaphorically as a pinwheel. so our body has three different wings which rotates continuously with internal or an external force.  The various wings include-the physical parts, physiological organ systems and psychological aspects (conscious and sub-conscious mind).  For a pinwheel to function efficiently, all three flaps or wings should be proper and functional.  Similarly for our body to be efficient, all the three flaps-physical, physiological and psychological have to be balanced and functional.  In a pinwheel, even if one of the flaps is broken or weak, the pinwheel cannot work efficiently. Similarly  in our body an imbalance, injury, damage or a deficiency to any one of the flaps affects the other two leading to an overall imbalance  and thereby disease or illness can occur.  

Since emotions are physiological and psychological responses to a physical stimulus, any imbalance or any emotion beyond a certain limit creates massive imbalance in functioning of various system of the body.

According to various modern studies, there is a close relationship between certain emotions and specific organ/systems in our body.  Relationship between emotions and organs has been studied and described in many of the Asian traditional medical systems like Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, Unani , etc.  Chinese medicine states that if there is an imbalance of ‘Qi’ in the body due to emotions especially negative emotions it consequently  affects the liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and colon.  Ayurveda which believes in the balance of the biohumors (doshas) of the body also explains in details the connection between the emotions and vitiation of various biohumors (doshas) in the body leading to many different types of diseases. Many recent studies by psychologists and medical doctors have shown that indeed emotions play a huge role in many of the physical and physiological ailments.  Liver is intensely affected by anger and stress . The gall bladder is affected by hatred, jealously , etc. The kidneys are affected by fears, the colon is affected by extreme anxiety, the lungs are affected by severe grief and  sadness. Worry weakens the stomach and stress, anxiety weakens heart & brain.  When one is harbouring these emotions over sustained periods of time, the concerned organs go into a hyper functioning mode for some time and then start slowing down leading to various physical and physiological symptoms like skin problems, digestive issues, weight problems, hormonal imbalances and so on. 

The most commonly experienced and studied condition in the present era is stress.  Stress can be due to various reasons-professional, nutritional, physical, and pathological . When the body is faced by any form of stress it goes into a fight-flight mode, and our stress combateurs I.e the adrenal glands start hyper-functioning in turn start stimulating the necessary tissues and organs to either fight or flight.  But since even in stress, we do not do either of this and just sit and think of solutions or do nothing. The changes produced by the adrenal hormones influence other hormone systems as well as the nutrients.  Over a period of time due to continuous stress and anxiety levels, severe imbalance in various hormone systems are observed leading to various illnesses and diseases.  While treating such conditions, it is necessary to find out the root cause of the disease, because just medicines will not help cure the patient and will only be symptomatic.

Emotional health has become one of the most important aspects to be taken care of in the modern times.  Be it before the pandemic times, during or after this pandemic, our lifestyle has become extremely demanding and stressful easily leading to emotional disturbances.  These severe emotional ups and downs have lead to early appearance of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular issues, infertility, and cancer and so on.  Constant stress, anxiety, anger, grief, depression etc leading to unhealthy diet and lifestyle as well has tripled the occurrence of various fatal diseases in younger generations.

So, it is now high time that we start taking care of our emotional health along with physical fitness and physiological health.  

Self reflection on daily basis has to become an important part of our daily regimen.  If one is able to solve the issues and get out of the negative emotion well and good, if not it is always better to get professional help at the earliest.  Trained expert psychologists and hypnotherapist like the ones at ASTA can provide numerous simple, powerful and  effective therapies to get oneself out of the emotional whirlpool and normalise one’s life.   

It is believed that nature provides us with the elixir for the good health of all living beings on this Earth, but we Humans rarely made use of the energy and resources in the nature appropriately instead we  destroy it.  ASTA has a vision to make use of this powerful energy resource of  nature along with the inner strength of the individual to realise one’s own dreams and also maintain perfect health and wellness.

Author – Dr Anjali Bhat