While motion is movement, emotion is inner movement. It is an accompaniment of instinct. Every object that excites an instinct, also excites an emotion. Emotion is composed of sensations and moods, passion and affection. Emotions are not willfully produced but appear suddenly from an unconscious region. It is something that cannot be explained unless we take into consideration the overall situation in which it occurs.
Emotions are of two types-negative and positive. Horror, fear, repulsion, dislike, aversion, disgust, anger, sorrow, self-pity are some which are the result of the negative type of emotion. Positive emotions are joy, excitement, passion, sympathy for others, etc.
The chemical reaction of the body is triggered by the emotions of the mind. The elaborate preparation for this action needs very little stimulation. Negative emotions cause stress which affect health because states of mind, personalities, relationships with people and environment has a direct action in our body.
How human body reacts to emotions?
Some organs of our body are more prone to emotional influences. When we face criticism, quarrels, anxiety before an exam or an interview, competition created by jealousy to win over others and similar other circumstances, our emotions demand over-action of the body. Thus provoked the following reactions take place:
- The blood stream is flooded by adrenalin.
- Breathing becomes quick and shallow
- The body suspends one of the vital functions-digestion-for some time to divert the blood towards the brain.
- The muscles of the shoulders and neck become stiff.
- Oxygen supply is increased because the spleen releases more red cells into the blood stream.
- Liver overacts to release the stored chemicals to meet the extra need of the body, especially when one is angry.
- The kidney gets affected by fright.
- Prolonged sorrow affects the lungs.
- Repeated over-mobilization of the organs makes the body prone to physical disorders.
Effect on digestive system
Disorders of the gastro-intestinal track present a direct reaction to the emotions than any other part of the body. Diseases related to the bones, like Osteoporosis (development of a porous structure in the bones) where the bones become thin and brittle, seems to be caused by a prolonged deprivation of calcium.
The absorption of calcium, inspite of administering larger doses, will be extremely poor making the digestive system worse. Moreover, when the emotion is sustained, more hydrochloric acid is secreted in the stomach and results in hyper acidity.
Emotions and heart diseases
Heart diseases too have a connection with emotions. Psychological strain causes heart diseases in people holding top posts and business people, due to strong negative emotions like anger, competitive attitudes, impatience, ego and superiority complexes. But it is not only the well-to-do who suffer. Even common people suffer from heart diseases due to the psychological strain caused by negative emotions like self pity, sorrow, worries due to the inability to tackle problems or jealousy due to inferiority complex. Even workers suffer from heart diseases when they find their job a combination of heavy demands and little or poor ability to tackle their work because they nurture negative emotions.
Common cold is no exception
When the immune system is poor, one is affected by every change in weather and is prone to cough, cold, and other respiratory problems. Researches and studies over the years have shown that even these disorders are the result of stress and anxiety caused by emotions.
Loss of control over muscular activity
There is a strong bond between emotion and muscular action. It can be expressed on one’s face or through bodily demonstration. Though these demonstrations are not intentional acts, nevertheless emotion aids the mind to motivate the reflex action physically.
Can positive emotions be dangerous?
In extreme conditions and over long periods even positive emotions can affect physical health causing psychosomatic illness. People die of heart attacks, suffer loss of speech and become unconscious when overjoyed or extremely excited. Also sympathy and worry for near and dear ones over long period results in mental and physical diseases.
Mind and body, single unit
“Psycho” is mind and “soma” is body. When emotions are incorrectly or badly handled, the disorders we suffer from become chronic eluding any type of treatment. Such diseases are purely psychosomatic.
Suffering of the mind
Disorders of nerves are mostly due to the affliction of the mind. The suffering of the mind is severe compared to the pain of the body. Strong emotions cause stress by making the nerves in the brain tense. If the mind goes on suffering from tension and stress, nervous disorders occur. When there are physical manifestations of some illness and the resultant worry caused by anxiety over the illness, neuroses of various types occur. The impact of circumstances cause a perfectly normal person to feel depressed or overjoyed.
Who are most prone to nervous disorders?
In persons with neurotic inclination, the depression is typically greater than the aggravating factor due to any disturbing circumstance. Such depressions may satisfy a subconscious need for personal attention and sympathy.
Emotional tensions occur in persons who are perplexed by problems which seem too difficult to be solved by them. In some cases, even if the person knows what he should do and how he should overcome such problems, he is prevented by his emotions like fear or love for others from acting appropriately. Meanwhile, emotional pressures build up. Emotional tensions also cause several functional symptoms, as pain, diarrhea, etc.
However, a certain amount of tension is normal at the workplace, home and society, Working without tension seems easy only in words.
Anxiety is the symptom caused by a feeling of uncertainty, fear and apprehension. Insecurity may cause anxiety which is normal in a person. But if one becomes anxious even under favourable circumstances and if he allows himself to be enslaved by emotions, it becomes a disorder. It is called anxiety neuroses.
Anxiety neuroses is usually caused by the fear of having some disease. And ironically, this destroys the health of the person more than the actual disease itself does, causing fatigue and exhaustion. While normal fatigue and exhaustion is felt in the late afternoon after the day’s physical work, abnormal fatigue caused by anxiety and depression is always found worse on rising from bed in the morning.
Nervous headaches are caused by the desire to do things precisely and on time, but being unable to do so. Any extra effort or strain upsets such people to result in headache associated with abdominal disturbances.
These tensions unless relieved by some physical act or some form of diversion, cause undue stress. If the diversion is constructive the tension automatically eases, but if the diversion is destructive, even after the physical demonstration and outburst, the tension may recur.
The reaction to illness varies between to individuals. A person with severe illness may go about his work cheerfully, while another may have fears about falling sick inspite of assurances to the contrary from physicians.
The difference in the behaviour or attitude between the two often is that the former’s relatives or those around him are encouraging him even in adverse circumstances, and the latter’s people worry their heads off making things worse for him.
Dealing with unworthy emotions
We must realize that our emotions are not worth wasting on things that annoy us and on situations that disturb us. Unavoidable circumstances and happenings are best dealt with ease in order to minimize the tension to our nerves.
Mediocre persons are lucky
People with average intelligence never suffer from any nervous tension or depression of any sort, as they are always engaged in simple physical jobs like carrying loads, weaving or operating a lathe. It is also true, if one does the job he loves or loves the job he does, he remains free from mental tension, depression and stress. If one chooses his job wisely, he can be free from any sort of nervous spells. Mundane activities like gardening, cleaning, putting the house in order, embroidery, knitting, playing musical instruments, and relaxation exercises are all constructive diversions that help cure psychosomatic illness.