Have you ever noticed the way that stress takes a toll on your body? These impacts can be felt in both the short and long term, but it’s undoubtable that your level of stress and ability to handle life’s ups and downs will impact your health and longevity.

How can my emotions affect my health?

Your body responds to the way you think, feel and act. This is often called the “mind/body connection.” When you are stressed, anxious or upset, your body tries to tell you that something isn’t right. For example, high blood pressure or a stomach ulcer might develop after a particularly stressful event, such as the death of a loved one. The following can be physical signs that your emotional health is out of balance:

  • Back pain
  • Change in appetite
  • Chest pain
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme tiredness
  • General aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
  • Sexual problems
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach
  • Weight gain or loss

How can I improve my emotional health?

First, try to recognize your emotions and understand why you are having them. Sorting out the causes of sadness, stress and anxiety in your life can help you manage your emotional health. The following are some other helpful tips.

Express your feelings in appropriate ways. If feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety are causing physical problems, keeping these feelings inside can make you feel worse. It’s OK to let your loved ones know when something is bothering you. However, keep in mind that your family and friends may not be able to help you deal with your feelings appropriately. At these times, ask someone outside the situation–such as your family doctor, a counselor or a religious advisor–for advice and support to help you improve your emotional health.

Develop resilience. People with resilience are able to cope with stress in a healthy way. Resilience can be learned and strengthened with different strategies. These include having social support, keeping a positive view of yourself, accepting change and keeping things in perspective.

Calm your mind and body. Relaxation methods, such as meditation, are useful ways to bring your emotions into balance. Meditation is a form of guided thought. It can take many forms. day-trips . For example, you may do it by exercising, stretching or breathing deeply. Ask your family doctor for advice about relaxation methods.

Take care of yourself. To have good emotional health, it’s important to take care of your body by having a regular routine for eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and exercising to relieve pent-up tension. Avoid overeating and don’t abuse drugs or alcohol. Using drugs or alcohol just causes other problems, such as family and health problems.

– via familydoctor.org

If you are open to investigating the mind body connection in your own life, you might experience some pushback from your usual doctor. But spending the time and effort to find a doctor who believes in the same holistic approach as you do is vital to your long term medical experience. For now, you can try the tactics below to lower your stress levels, both physically and emotionally.

Why The Mind Body Connection Matters

There is a dramatic and powerful connection between your mind and body, and between your body and your mind. In fact, it really should not be called a connection because it is just ONE bidirectional system.

Unfortunately, few doctors accept or understand this fundamental reality about biology. So, in most doctors’ offices, you aren’t going to learn about the connection between your body and brain or how to use that connection to help you heal.

Tips for Calming Your Mind

Here is what we know about how to influence the mind-body and the body-mind system. Consider these essential survival skills. You cannot thrive without them!

  • Relax — Learn how to ACTIVELY relax. To engage the powerful forces of the mind on the body, you must DO something — you can’t just sit there watching television or drinking beer.
  • Learn New Skills — Try learning new skills such as meditation, deep breathing, yoga, biofeedback, and progressive muscle relaxation or take a hot bath, make love, get a massage, watch a sunset, or walk in the woods or on the beach.
  • Move Your Body — Exercise is a powerful, well-studied way to burn off stress chemicals and heal the mind, so just do it! It has been proven to be better than or equal to Prozac for treating depression.
  • Supplement — Take a multivitamin and nutrients to help balance the stress response, such as vitamin C; the B-complex vitamins, including B6 and B5 or pantothenic acid; zinc; and most important, magnesium, the relaxation mineral.
  • Try Herbs — Use adaptogenic herbs (herbs that help you adapt and balance your response to stress) such as ginseng, Rhodiola rosea, Siberian ginseng, cordyceps, and ashwagandha.
  • Use Heat Therapy — Take a hot bath or a sauna to help your body deeply relax and turn on the relaxation response.

– via Dr. Mark Hyman

How can you feel stress in your own body? What do you do to keep stress and its effects under control?