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This information provides a general overview on this topic and may not apply to everyone. The information is NOT a substitute for you visiting your doctor. However, as Medical Science is constantly changing and human error is always possible, the authors, editors, and publisher of this information do not warrant the accuracy or completeness of this information nor are they responsible for omissions or errors as a result of using this information.

How Your Emotions Affect Your Health

What is good emotional health? People with good emotional health are aware of their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life. They feel good about themselves and have healthy relationships.

However, many things that happen in your life can disrupt your emotional health and lead to strong feelings of sadness, stress or anxiety. These things include being laid off from your job, having a child leave or return home, dealing with the death of a loved one, getting divorced or married, suffering an illness or an injury, getting a job promotion, experiencing money problems, moving to a new home or having a baby. “Good” changes can be just as stressful as “bad” changes.

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 may 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
High blood pressure
Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
Sexual problems
Shortness of breath
Stiff neck
Upset stomach
Weight gain or loss

Poor emotional health can weaken your body's immune system, making you more likely to get colds and other infections during emotionally difficult times. Also, when you are feeling stressed, anxious or upset, you may not take care of your helath as well as you should. You may not feel like exercising, eating nutritious foods or taking medicine that your doctor prescribes. Some people abuse alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to try to make themselves feel better.

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Last modified October 2015