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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:
Change in appetite
Constipation or diarrhea
General aches and pains
High blood pressure
Insomnia (trouble sleeping)
Palpitations (the feeling that your heart is racing)
Shortness of breath
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.