if you’re happy, and you know it……
“If you’re happy, and you know it, clap your hands!” How many times in your life have you cheerfully clapped, stomped, and shouted “HOORAY,” along with this song? I would say that most children screamed each lyric and played out the motions, with real devotion to its meaning. Unfortunately, in today’s world, most American adults are singing a different tune. “If you’re unhappy, and you know it, give a sigh!”
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), about one in 10 adults in America reports being clinically depressed. In fact, Americans say being the most unhappy in the world! The demands of life and the expectation to, “Keep up with the Jones,” leaves American citizens in constant stress and despair. Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduces serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression.2 Since 1994, prescriptions for depression medicines have increased 400%. That is an amazingly scary statistic.
Stress and emotions
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. The majority of Americans are stressed due to three common issues.
A person’s job, finances, and relationships make up the majority of their emotional efforts. In many instances, stress in one area will trickle into the next, eventually causing turmoil in all three. For example, having trouble with your money almost always causes fights with your significant other. If you are always worrying about paying your bills and that fight you had last night with your spouse, you will not be able to focus, which in turn, may cause issues at your job. This above situation turns into a vicious cycle that causes constant and chronic distress.
Chronic stress can lead a person down a very slippery slope. Stress brings on many negative emotions, which can severely effect a person’s health. PNI research suggests that chronic stress can lead to or exacerbate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, cognitive (thinking) problems, personality changes, and problem behaviors.3 Not only does stress create emotional and behavioral disorders, it also suppresses your immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight off illnesses.
emotions and Body Systems
Stress creates negative emotions and negative emotions bring on illness. Recent studies show emotions can be linked to pain in the body as well as occurrence of chronic disease. “Previous studies have linked stress to lowered immune system function, increased blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and altered brain chemistry, blood sugar levels, and hormonal balance.4 It has also been found to increase the rate at which tumors grow.5 One of the reasons for this has to do with the way the biological stress response promotes inflammation in your body.4
Emotions not only suppress your immune system, they can be linked to pain and malfunctions in other areas in our body systems. Grief can wreak havoc on your cardiovascular/circulatory system. Dr. Mercola stated, “Extreme grief (or any other extremely stressful event) can also have a devastating impact—not for nothing is the saying that someone “died from a broken heart.” In the days after losing a loved one, your risk of suffering a heart attack shoots up by 21 times.”
Anger is often connected to problems in the digestive system. For example, it can cause many issues in the gallbladder. The gallbladder stores bile. When you body signals, the gallbladder releases the bile to aid in digestion. “Problems in the gallbladder indicate trouble dealing with feelings and, particularly, clarifying them. Often they are angry and will not express their feelings. Anger triggers the sympathetic nervous system, energy rises up to the neck, shoulders, back and arms and irrigates the brain quite substantially, however, the person holds in their feelings. This confuses the nerves and, in turn, gives the gallbladder the wrong message. Instead of releasing bile, the gallbladder stores it.”5
Emotion and Hormone Connection
Hormones are special messengers in the body that control basic needs, such as hunger, as well as more complex functions like reproduction. They are housed in several glands (adrenals, thyroid, and pancreas) which are part of the endocrine system. When a person’s hormones are unbalanced, many things can happen, especially mood swings. Emotional health is closely tied to hormones. Dr. Vliet, a researcher at Rockefeller University, indicated that hormones (especially estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone) significantly influence neurotransmitters (such as dopamine and serotonin), which affect moods. She also reported information concerning a study conducted by Yale. In the study patients took part in a six month hormone therapy treatment. After the six months, patients showed improvement in the areas of depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.6
As shown, it is important to have balanced emotional health in order to achieve wellness. In the following, you will learn some natural ways to support your emotions.
natural emotional support
Many factors such as relationships, jobs,finances, toxin exposure, diet, exercise, and sleep patterns all affect a person’s emotion health. It’s important to remember that everyone is in control of their own emotions. Your first line of defense is yourself. Try and strive for optimism and happiness, no matter what the circumstance. However, there are some natural and non-toxic alternates you can choose for support. Below are some resources to assist in balancing and improving your emotional health and wellness.
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- Center for Control and Disease Prevention. U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services. 2016, Web. 22 July, 2016
- Bruno, Karen. “Can stress cause depression?” WebMD. WebMD, LLC.web. 22 July, 2016
Mills, H., Reiss, N., Dombeck, M. “Mental and Emotional Effect on Stress.” Mentalhealth.net.Centercite, LLC. 30 June, 2008.web. 22, July, 2016
Mercola, J. “Imaging Technology Finally Reveals How Emotions Manifest in Your Body.” Mercola. 2016. web. 22 July, 2016.
“Gallbladder.”Does Your Body Lie. Luís Martins Simões. n.d.Web. 22 July, 2016.
Vilet, L.E.”New sights on hormones and mood.”Menopause Management.June/July 1993