How Tuning Into Your Emotions Can Improve Your Health
When you’re feeling painful emotions, the most common response is to want to avoid them or push them away. As humans we are wired to avoid pain, so this is not surprising.
But, as Charles Darwin (the founder of the theory of evolution) discovered in the latter part of his life, there is an evolutionary purpose to emotions. This means that we have emotions for a reason. And if, by the process of evolution (think survival of the fittest), we were meant to have emotions, then wouldn’t it serve us to tune into them in order to survive and thrive?
The Purpose of Emotions
Emotions actually do serve a purpose. They are messages that help us with the following:
When we feel an emotion, it is a signal that something is not right and you need to do something like draw a boundary or take action in order to feel safe. Emotions are also insights coming from our authentic self to tell us we need to pay attention to our needs.
Emotions can give us insight into how we may be thinking about the situation and “perceiving” the world. How you perceive the world gives clues as to how your subconscious programming operates behind the scenes and out of your conscious awareness. We can often understand what beliefs are governing our lives when we tune into our emotional responses. So, emotions can signal that something needs to be done in the present moment, or give insight into how we are perceiving ourselves and the world.
When we don’t listen to our emotions, our body goes into stress mode. When you are stressed your body is thrown off balance. When you’re off balance your cells cannot function optimally, which leaves you vulnerable to shifting into ill health. (You can go to this article to learn more about how emotions affect your cells and genetics.)
Emotions As An Authentic Expression Of Yourself
In my Ebook , I talk about the importance of being and expressing your authentic self and how it is very connected to your health and well-being. Emotions often come from your most authentic self. For example, if someone asks you to do something and your immediate feeling is hesitation, or anger, this feeling is telling you to set a boundary as what you are being asked may not be aligned with your best interest. What often happens, however, is we say “yes” in order to please others and gain love and acceptance, even though it is at the expense of our own true best interests. So, emotions can be a valuable message telling us how to stay aligned to our true self and keep us in a balanced state.
Emotions From Your Subconscious Programming
On the other side of the coin, emotions can also be reactions that come from our chronic patterns and ways of being that are stored in our subconscious programming. These chronic ways of reacting to the world are often learned earlier in life and become a pattern we carry with us for years, but have no awareness of how they are running our lives now. This reaction pattern may have served a purpose at the time it was developed, but likely does not serve us anymore and is causing undue stress in the present moment.
Emotional reaction patterns develop in this way: Every time you have a strong emotional reaction to an event it means a learning has taken place and is stored in your subconscious mind. Often these learning’s were created during a stressful situation and become “limiting beliefs”. All you need is a trigger from around you that feels like that past event and your nervous system pulls up that emotion and has you responding in the same way.
But what if the learning was not correct or “misperceived”? How does reacting in the same way over and over again serve you or your health today?
In this case, tuning into your emotions can allow you to become the “watcher” of how your subconscious programming is operating behind the scenes. Once you become the “watcher” and can observe your emotional reactions, you are in a place to choose whether you want to continue this pattern that may very well be creating stress and inflammation in your body.
Tune Into Your Emotions And Take Control Of Your Health
Since your emotions have a purpose and a message, it would serve you best to tune into them. Becoming the “watcher” of your emotions can help you to be more in charge of your health as the emotion is no longer in charge. You can listen to the emotion and honor your authentic needs, or you can let go of the emotional programming and connect to what is true in the present moment. Either way, you are sending a message to your body to move out of stress and into balance. From this place your body has a much better chance of creating optimal health.
- When you feel an emotion, tune into it and accept what’s coming up.
- Become curious and ask yourself: What is causing me to feel this way? Do I need to say “no” or draw a boundary? How am I perceiving this situation?
- Take action to alleviate the emotional stress and move you towards fulfilling your needs. OR
- Change your perception of the situation and see how it feels to see life through a new lens.