Our lives and culture bombard us with emotional challenges every day. We are constantly told that it is vital to have a positive mindset, be grateful, and succeed. And our brains are always worried about what other people are doing, whether we are missing out on something good, or if other people like or appreciate us.
Our emotions are intense and varied, and we have lots of ways of ignoring or blocking those feelings to soothe us and make us feel calm. Between the boundless forms of media, various substances to numb our brains, and the distraction of our various screens, there is no shortage of ways to avoid thinking about our feelings.
But, when you ignore your emotional health, you do not succeed in pushing your emotions aside. You do not get rid of them. Instead, you create internal pressure that will find a release.
When it comes to your physical self, your body has ways of intervening and treating many illnesses and disorder. But the same is not true for your emotional issues. Ignoring your emotions will not make them disappear, and your body needs your mind’s help to deal with these emotions before they cause problems.
How Ignoring your Feelings Affects Your Health
When you fail to cope with and confront your emotions, you put stress on your mind as well as your body. This stress, which releases harmful hormones into your body and raises levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, can create a host of physical and psychological problems.
Cortisol, the stress hormone, raises blood pressure, increases insulin resistance, and raises s of inflammation in the body. When you are under chronic stress, like from suppressed emotions, you are at increased risk for heart disease, autoimmune disorders, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, insomnia, and much more.
Those who fail to confront and process their emotions are also at increased risk for developing mental health problems, like anxiety and depression. By ignoring your feelings, you are creating tension and stress in your mind, which can result in more negative thoughts and worries, thus making these and other mental health problems worse.
When you experience strong emotions and conflicts, you will feel more anxiety because you have more activity in your vagus nerve. This nerve connects the emotional center of your brain to the autonomic systems that regulate your body’s processes.
When you feel emotions in your mid-brain, this nerve signals your intestines, lungs, and heart to act accordingly to take appropriate action for your survival. This evolutionary instinct was meant to keep us safe from physical danger, and without learning to control it now, our bodies always think there is a threat, and we live in constant anxiety about how best to respond.
Listen to Your Feelings
The importance of listening to and coping with your feelings, instead of ignoring them, cannot be overstated. Just like ignoring physical problems leads to more significant issues that require more intervention to heal, so will ignoring your emotional turmoil.
Emotions tell us important things about our lives and ourselves, and when you pay attention to them, you can learn a great deal about what makes you happy, how to improve your life, and what you need to change.
The first step is learning to listen, which requires mindfulness and focus. When you start listening to what your mind and body are telling you, then you can distinguish between all the various emotions as well as their many causes. Paying attention to patterns in how you feel as well as the ways your emotions influence your behaviors is also critical to repairing your emotional health.
Ignoring your emotional health is only asking for trouble. Improve your life and regain control today by listening to your emotions and paying attention to how your feelings affect you.