This Is How Our Feelings Make Us Sick
I was in an abusive relationship for almost three years. During that time, I suffered skin lesions, a cyst on my gums that had to be operated on (it was benign), chronic Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), hormonal acne, excessive weight-loss and panic attacks. These are very physical manifestations of extreme stress which, would have been much worse (it’s possible) if I was also living a toxic lifestyle.
Thankfully, given my profession and background, I was consciously eating clean, sleeping well and was keeping active, hence, my symptoms, although serious, did not spin out of control as it did some of my clients who were also in unhealthy relationships—theirs turned into a full-on auto-immune disease as bad as cancer!
My eyes were opened to how psychological abuse, extreme stress and toxic emotions can literally make us physically ill. I reached out to Saps Uttam, an Inner child therapist and Holistic Nutrition Coach at Heilen Medical Wellness in Makati to help me understand how this can be managed holistically.
Traditional Chinese Medicine
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), emotions are viewed as potential “internal pathogens” that have the ability to unbalance the function of our organs. It is perfectly healthy to experience a different spectrum of feelings from moment-to-moment, but dysfunction happens when we suddenly feel too intensely, suddenly or when we hold on to heightened emotions for a period of time. In order to not suffer imbalance, TCM advises to allow feelings to flow freely, (don’t hold-on to it) by letting it come and go without attachment.
Emotional commotion to organ problems
- Liver — Anger, rage, hatred, jealousy
Symptoms: heart palpitations, high blood pressure, insomnia, and menstrual difficulties, eczema, psoriasis,
- Kidney — Judgement, disappointment, failure, shame
- Lungs — Grief
Symptoms: Asthma, flu, cold, sinusitis
- Stomach — Inability to cope with present circumstance, money woes
Symptoms: Irritable Bowel Syndrome, cramps , bloating, digestive issues
- Heart — Self-love
Managing our emotions
Let go, or be dragged (and get sick!) Ironically, when you tell yourself to “get over it,” the opposite happens! So here are four of the best quick-fixes to trick your mind into releasing baggage before it turns to a pimple, (or a cyst!)
1. Your vibe attracts your tribe
Are you really depressed? Maybe you’re just hanging out with a negative crowd. Even the strongest, most positive, put-together person will eventually wear and tear around toxic company.
Reassess your relationships; is it making you richer, hotter, smarter, kinder and happier? You’re either growing together or sabotaging one another. Ghost emotional vampires completely and set firm but compassionate boundaries with the ones you cant avoid for good so that you can make room for new and better people who will “spark joy” in you.
2. Eat junk, feel like crap
As American author/activist/journalist Micheal Pollan said; “Eat real food, not too much and mostly from plants.” A diet rich on whole foods is a recipe for steady blood sugar and well-balanced hormones which is key for a stable mood. Consuming too much processed, fatty, and sugary foods will cause acid to spike in the body leading to inflammation. Swelling on the inside makes us highly temperamental and less able to respond to situations mindfully. Literally, meat and sugar heats up the body and combined with the hot weather of the tropics, it is no wonder you can’t keep your cool when triggered.
At a time of instant access, we’ve never felt more isolated. Now that were connected 24/7, we’ve never felt more alone. We curate a life to get the most likes but end up wanting to escape it.
Wake up. Get out. Return to nature. Walk barefoot on the grass. Watch the stars at night. It not always bikini photos and perfect sunsets (you’re just after another viral post). Experiencing nature attunes us to the inherent interconnectedness of everything giving us a feeling of true belongingness—the only connection that matters.
Surprisingly, most of us don’t breath right. Were all guilty of over-breathing, chest breathing, and holding our breath. Breathing habits like these lead to a shortage of oxygen and energy which further strains the body, whereas, breathing properly relieves the body of stress as it sends oxygen to the brain which has an instant soothing effect.
How do you breath correctly?
- Breathe through the nose (not the mouth);
- Inhale and exhale to and from the diaphragm (not just the chest);
- Relax, and quietly repeat in a rhythm.