Thursday, October 14, 2010

Emotional and Physical Health: Is there any connnection?

Our physical health is closely related to our emotional health. Have you ever had a stomach ache caused by the prospect of going to the dentist? Have you ever gotten a tension headache after dealing with a cranky two-year-old child all afternoon? If so, you know the close connection between feelings in the mind and feelings in the body. Feeling bad emotionally may make you feel bad physically.

Conversely, if you feel well emotionally you may be able to help yourself feel better physically. Surgeons routinely evaluate their patients’ emotional states before their operate on them, because they have learned that these emotionaal states can have an important impact on the patient’s chances for recovery. In a well-known case, writer and editor Norman Cousins used laughter and positive attitude – good emotional health, in other words – to recover from a degenerative spinal disease that physicians were unable to treat. Improving one’s emotional health can sometimes be a powerful tool in the treatment of physical disease.

How does the connection between mind and body work? Scientists know about some of the links in the chain. First of all, it is widely accepted today that our emotions, which we may think we experience “in our minds”, are actually physical states. Let’s examine what happens to our bodies when we experience an emotion.

Source: Marvin R. Levy, Mark Dignan, Janet H. Shirreffs

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