Emotions and physical health are really just two parts of the same machine. Health is not just an absence of disease. That is what WHO World Health Organisation said. They also said that health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. This means
You are only as healthy as your emotions.
What is not stated here, but is true nevertheless, is that your emotions CREATE your state of health. When your senses are triggered by an external stimulus, your body wisdom is triggered too.
Your brain and body are a single unit or circuit. When you sight something on the road, for example, it is just a bunch of photons (light particles) hitting the retina; followed by nerve cells taking the signal and triggering a section (visual cortex) of your brain. So far, only energy movement.
Now neurons in many different parts of your cortex (brain) start firing to understand the meaning of the incoming signal. By the time you become aware of this stimulus, many parts of the brain have spoken. Ultimately you perceive that you just saw a Bugatti Veyron car that costs upwards of 30 crores.
In the brain is also a complex network called the Limbic System with areas like hypothalamus and amygdala, which have likely been triggered by now. These are receiving and sending signals. With their involvement, you are now emoting –feeling awe, lust, envy or inadequacy.
Hypothalamus is in charge of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is the way our brain sends nerve signals and neurotransmitters (nerve chemicals) to various body organs like kidney, gut, liver or heart. Turns out, hypothalamus is a multi-tasker, and is also overseer of the hormone system (endocrine).
Now we have two outcomes. The frontal & pre-frontal cortex of brain has heard the noise from limbic system and is giving us an EXPERIENCE and an EXPRESSION of emotion. Secondly, our internal organs like liver, kidneys, heart and gut have heard the noise too. Nerve signals and neurotransmitters from ANS plus a bunch of hormones curated by hypothalamus and pituitary gland reach the internal organs.
Our emotion plus outer and inner reaction circuitry is a single unit. There is no way to create an emotion without triggering the relevant physical processes inside the body. (That is also why dieting alone doesn’t work for weightloss. Emotions need to be taken into account for holistic weightloss)
We may now have our eyes pop, the jaw drop, the face flush, and a light sweat. Depending on what we are feeling –more like inspired or more like ashamed –our internal organs get different signals and react accordingly. Either immunity, digestion and reproduction peaks or tanks.
Emotions -> health.
So, the kind of environment we encounter on most days -whether energising Bugatti Veyrons or tiring bus queues; and how it makes us feel -empowered or ashamed, affects what signals our organs get everyday. This is how our cardiac, kidney and liver function, digestion and metabolism as well as immunity and reproductive ability are all affected by the emotions we experience everyday.1