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Healing emotions for good healthThere is more to staying healthy than just physical health: you also need healthy emotions. And many people are lacking in this department. Most often it is not due to physiological disorder: it stems from the inner misperception of who we are. Negative emotions are toxic because they are destructive to your mental and physical wellbeing. Yet, they are often your habitual response to everyday's situations. Where do they come from, and why do we succumb to them?
Toxic emotions can be relatively short-lived, with varying frequency from one person to another, or they can burden you around the clock. They can be triggered by most any external "cause", seemingly important or quite insignificant. Naturally, negative feelings cannot be entirely excluded. But, as with most other health factors, it is the level of exposure - or dosage - that counts: your health only suffers when negative emotions become excessive in their amplitude and/or duration. How do they become excessive?
Most often because you let it happen. Our responses are learned, and based on random experiences beginning with the earliest age. Those experiences can be negative, and if you let them define to you who you are and how you act, you'll be carrying that burden for the rest of your life. That won't make it neither happier, nor healthier - to the contrary. And, yes - you can step in and change it for the better. It is all up to you. As the old saying goes:
"Whether you think you can, or can not - you're right...".
In addition to these stored, inner toxic emotions, chemically imprinted in the brain's habitual response patterns, there are also those caused by bio-active substances influencing brain function, such are psychotropic (affecting mind) compounds found in foods and living environment, as well as in pharmaceutical and other preparations. As with anything related to body functioning, nutritional deficiencies and imbalances can also affect your emotional wellbeing.
The two, of course, can combine, complicate
and worsen the adverse effect of negative emotions on your health.
Stored toxic emotions
Looking back to where your negative emotions originate, the trail extends to the events that shaped up your earliest emotional imprints and responses. Negative responses may have been appropriate under the circumstances, or not. Either way, through repetition, they have been learned and accepted as "your own". As such, they inevitably become part of your individual perception of self, and keep perpetuating the feeling that had produced them, feeling of being either threatened or inadequate, over and over again.
These emotions are also called "trapped emotions", and that is why; they won't go away, unless you face them, prove them false, and break free of them, stepping out of this vicious circle.
Typical negative responses they create are
anger, fear and/or guilt,
either expressed or suppressed (the latter leading to depression).
Obviously, none of these negative emotions makes you feel good, but how does it affect your health? In general, all negative emotions are stressful. Stress is a state of heightened alertness, prioritizing your response mechanism over your metabolic and regenerative function. As a result, your digestion and assimilation become less efficient, while demands on body's circulatory, glandular and nervous system increase. In short, exposed to prolonged or frequent stress,
your body wears off at a faster pace,
especially if you are borderline or deficient nutrient-wise, or with health condition, or both - which is almost always the case with those suffering from chronic diseases.
If let go, chronic negative emotions will weaken your body, putting you at a significantly increased risk of developing a disease. More so due to the fact that in sorting out its priorities, your body under stress also suppresses your immune-system function.
Needless to say, these emotions don't make you neither healthy nor happy.
Can you do something about it? Many have. It requires will and a focused effort on your part. If you are not awakening in a new day with a feeling of boundless energy, but rather seeing it as a threat justifying your anger, guilt, shame, feeling of inadequacy, fear, withdrawal and depression, hiding -
you have something to work on!
The key is in determining what is it in your learned perception of yourself and others that distorts your view. How can you figure that one out?
Try positive imagery: make a habit of mentally replaying events in which you've expressed strong negative emotions that you couldn't control. Then have them constructively altered in your mind, making yourself act as you really want to; try to see it as vividly in your imagination as you can.
Pay special attention to those moments you find hard to visualize - there is the indication of where your negative emotion is coming from; you are likely to be able to relate it to specific periods and events from your past. Go as far back with it as you can. You have to
pull it out clear, face it, re-evaluate and discard.
Make this your daily routine, your project, your dialog with yourself. Most importantly, SEE the light at the end of the tunnel - whatever that light is in your particular case - and never stop inching toward it. If it is not your true wish to reach the other end, you'll never make it.
But when you do, you'll never look back. Almost always, you simply need to cross the line that you yourself have drawn on the ground and, for any of possible reasons, have accepted as your limit. If you feel imprisoned, remember, it is you, and only you, who have built the walls, simply by accepting it. Tearing them down may be much easier than what you think,
accept it is possible,
The moment you decide to stop hiding, and face your demons, everything starts working for you, simply
because your mental goal has changed.
While a lot has been written on this subject, a little old classic from Dr. Maxwell Maltz, titled "Psycho-Cybernetics", may still be among best manuals on how to navigate your psyche toward your "new you".
Practicing positive imagery will give to your mind the material it needs to replace your learned (negative) response with what you really want it to be. With your conscious effort - and genuine desire - your brain will start pulling out this new, better you, in real-life situations, gradually replacing the old cliché you've been entangled into for so long. It is very much like healing - emotional healing.
This process can be substantially helped by using another simple technic: hypnosis. Specially made hypnosis CDs can reach your subconsciousness and help correct its negative mental patterns.
Try it hard enough, and it will work for you. By lowering your stress level, it also tremendously improves your long-term health prospects. Just look at the results of recent stress-related studies. Depressed folk have four times greater chance of dying from heart attack (John Hopkins); men exhibiting high levels of stress have three times higher mortality rate (Swedish study); depressed women have accelerated bone loss (National Institute of Mental Health), and so on.
Reduction of the stress level is a crucial factor in recovering from any serious disease. Another benefit of overcoming chronic negative emotions is better social integration. Indications are clear that social integration in turn further lowers your stress level and make you more resistant to its ill effects. On the other hand, social isolation is for most people not just unhealthy, but often plain deadly.
The very first step in getting yourself on the right track is: organize your life. Stop, think about your life and what do you want from it, and don't re-start before you answer to yourself
what is it that you should do, when and why.
That will give you sense of purpose, inner confidence and calm. This thoughtful, no-nonsense recipe telling you how to revive your spirit and keep it going is a very good practical example.
The bottom line is: stop waiting for yourself and
everything around you to be perfect, in order to allow yourself to be happy.
Forgive yourself and the world for being imperfect, embrace yourself for
what you are - a worm, living soul - and you will find joy, purpose and happiness.
Substance-induced toxic emotions
These emotions are induced by psychoactive agents we ingest, or by nutritional imbalances affecting functioning of the nervous system. It is well known that alcohol and narcotics exert great influence over brain function, diminishing the capacity for rational thinking and behavior. Obviously, that doesn't help in solving any problem, and personality disorders are no exception.
But there are other substances, often unsuspected, that can greatly influence how we feel, and act.
A very potent - and most widely consumed - psychoactive substance is caffeine. Its effect is commensurate to the amount consumed and individual sensitivity to it. Stimulant at low doses, at higher doses it creates feeling and symptoms of anxiety, possibly escalating into panic attacks. The mechanism of its action begins by stimulating excretion of adrenal hormones. One of the effects is accelerated sugar metabolism, elevating its by-product lactate, which induces feelings of anxiety and panic4 (lactate levels also rise as a result of consumption of alcohol and sugars).
It is known that a number of food additives can influence and distort our behavior and perceptions. They can affect both, adults and children, although children are more susceptible to toxic substances in general. Hyperactivity, irritability, asocial behavior and low tolerance level are common psychological symptoms in sensitive individuals.
Likewise, there is a long list of nutritional imbalances - such as deficiency in major nutrients like vitamin B complex, calcium, magnesium and potassium, or overconsumption of sugar, depleting the brain from needed nutrients - possibly resulting in anything from anxiety and moodiness to depression. It can have profound effect on how you feel and function in everyday's life, hence also
on the formation of your self-image.
This is how induced toxic emotions can lay down foundation for the formation of stored, or habitual-response toxic emotions, particularly during childhood and adolescence.
Obviously, this kind of habitual toxic emotion can be difficult to correct without addressing the substance factors that have led to it first. In addition to caffeine, food additives and nutritional deficiencies and imbalances, the list of possible factors include food and chemical sensitivities, pharmacological agents and drugs, as well as chronic diseases.
In all, correcting your toxic emotions may be tough cookie - and often time it is - requiring time, effort and determination. But it is well worth it every inch of the way, not only because it helps preserve health, but even more because it brings more joy and happiness to your life.