Those who experience physical pain often search out practitioners to help them feel better. But if there is an emotional component attached to this pain then just healing the body isn’t going to work in the long-term. Why? Simply because the mind and body are intimately connected so what affects one, affects the other.
So what is emotional health? Emotional health is the way you feel about yourself, your relationships and your life. It is how you manage your feelings and how well you deal with life’s challenges.
Those with good emotional health have learnt positive ways to manage feelings of stress and overwhelm when they arise. They feel good about themselves and their relationships with others. They understand what is important to them and choose to nurture these areas of their life.
Those with poor emotional health often feel out of control, that their life is out of balance or they just aren’t coping. Feelings of stress and overwhelm are constant companions. All their energy is focused on other people, leaving them exhausted and often resentful. They want things to change but are not sure how to start.
The link between emotional health and physical pain.
In my work as a physiotherapist (and life coach) I have many women come to see me with problems such as regular headaches, tight and sore shoulders and backache – and they want their pain gone!
What is interesting is that there is always a common thread amongst these women. They are all incredibly busy, they say yes more than they say no, and they are the lowest priority in their own lives. They fall asleep exhausted. They wake up tired. And they are desperate for just five minutes in the day to themselves.
If I was to only treat their neck, shoulders or back my clients would get temporary relief but their symptoms would reoccur because their physical pain is intimately related to their emotional wellbeing. Are you beginning to see the relationship between the two?
By also teaching them ways to manage the stress and overwhelm in their life, my clients develop a tool-box of strategies and practices that help prevent future pain from occurring.
So how do you know if your emotional health needs some loving attention? Some other common physical problems include:
- You get sick a lot. This is because chronic stress actually lowers your immunity.
- You experience frequent headaches, backaches or muscle pain.
- You constantly feel tired and even a good night’s sleep doesn’t help.
- You suffer from dizziness, chest pain, shortness-of-breath or heart palpitations (unexplained by medical tests).
- You struggle with gut problems such as poor digestion or an irritable bowel.
The next question you might be asking is what can you start doing right now to improve both your emotional and physical health? Great question! I’m going to share with you the first three things I get my clients to do.
The first is a very simple technique called breathe, feel & ask.
Breathe: Lie flat on a mat, or bed, and take a few minutes to concentrate on your breathing. Slow it down until you drop in to a state of mindfulness.
Feel: Do a body scan (you can either start at your head and move down to your toes, or move from your toes up to your head) and tune in to the areas that feel tight, stiff or sore.
Ask: Once you have tuned in to the areas of your body that are telling you that something’s not quite right, stop and ask yourself two questions: “What is going on in my life right now that may be making me feel this way”?, and “If this pain was an emotion what would it be”?
Secondly, spend 10 minutes a day (it doesn’t even have to be this long!) writing down all the things that are making you feel stressed, overwhelmed, anxious or fearful. Just by writing these down on paper it can help clear some of the negative energy that you are holding in your body.
And thirdly, start making a list of some simple self-care practices they you can implement easily into your day.
When we think about acts of self-care we often believe it has to involve hour-long bubble baths, half-day excursions to a spa and three-day weekends relaxing by a pool. While all those things sound lovely, let’s be honest – they are not something that most of us have time to indulge in on a regular basis!
I like to think of self-care as the small things that we do each day for ourselves that, done consistently over a long period of time, keep our energy recharged and our minds and body feeling well.
Simple things like lighting a candle while having a shower in the morning, taking five minutes to have a cuddle with your dog when you get home from work, listening to your favourite podcast while cooking dinner, or just going to bed 15 minutes earlier to read a chapter of your book.
Begin by adding the three practices above to your own toolbox of self-healing strategies and then experiment with other things you read or hear about. But remember … if something doesn’t work discard it. Not every practice is going to work for everyone. But if something does help then it’s important to find a way to implement it into your life. This is your toolbox and you get to outfit it however you like!
And if you have experienced a light-bulb moment while reading this article, it is now up to you to make a commitment to improve your emotional and physical health.
I just want you to remember, though, that it is the small things that you do consistently that will make all the difference. Don’t expect to feel better immediately but in time, as long as you commit to showing up for yourself consistently, you will begin to see improvements in both your emotional and physical wellbeing.
Please note: this article expresses the opinions of the author only and not Happiness + Wellbeing Academy. We recommend talking to your trusted medical practitioner in regards to any health concerns.
Her programs, courses and guides teach women how to listen to their body and heal their physical symptoms intuitively, naturally and holistically.
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