Feel All the Feels: Emotional Management for Optimal Health

 
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By Hannah Woit

Your emotional feelings and physical feelings are connected. Positive emotions can benefit your health while negative ones can harm if they are not dealt with in the right way.

So, with that in mind, where do we go from here if we want to cultivate an emotional life that supports our overall health? Are we supposed to walk around pretending everything is fantastic and that we actually love the fact that we just dropped our ice cream cone on the ground or got all the way to the office only to realize we left our cell phone at home?

Deal With It:

For better or worse, life has its highs and lows. It would be silly to act as if that’s not true. In fact, ignoring your feelings--negative and positive--may be the worst thing you can do.

According to the University of Minnesota, failing to deal with or ignoring your anger can be associated with high blood pressure, heart disease, infection, and digestive issues. Instead, you should feel your emotions and express them without judging yourself.

Feel it, then you can let it go.

Work It Out:

If you tend to hold on to negative things that have happened, this doesn’t mean you are doomed for poor health. A study supported by Stanford and the Department for Veterans Affairs showed that you can learn how to forgive. In the study, adults who were trained in forgiveness experienced fewer physical ailments, less anger, and fewer feelings of hurt.

If you want to develop a more positive approach to life, there are things you can do to mould your outlook for the better. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson suggests that you aim to experience three positive feelings for every negative one to reverse the potential physical damage that negativity can inflict. And, she posits that positivity is like a muscle that can get stronger over time with practice to make you more resilient emotionally.

So, just like you have a gym or workout routine, it may be worth implementing a routine for checking in on and working through your emotions--your body will thank you.