5 signs your emotions are keeping you sick
The relationship between our minds and bodies is an INCREDIBLE phenomenon. I’ve experienced it in my own life, and I've seen it in countless others’ in their journeys toward healthier, fuller life.
And here’s what I’ve learned:
Sometimes being resisting our emotions is what’s keeping us sick.
I used to believe that the problem almost always boiled down to nutrition—and what you eat to fuel your body is absolutely significant. But no matter how many different diet plans I (or my clients, or my friends…) tried, it didn’t seem to bring health or healing. So I started exploring the opposite relationship.
Emotions are thoughts, and thoughts have a profound impact on not only our bodies, but on our reality. The sickest times in my life have been in periods of profound stress.
Can you relate?
It was helpful for me to know that stress was affecting my body, but it wasn’t helpful for me to not engage with the emotions causing the stress, as I experienced them specifically. Without engaging them, I never healed emotionally, so I never healed physically.
In all of these seasons, I had a sense of deep, spiritual unrest which I was doing my best to stifle or logic my way out of. It wasn’t until I allowed myself space to experience the full extent of my own grief and fear, that I actually created space for my body to heal.
And it did...fast.
Releasing, accepting, experiencing, and laying to rest the emotions we've buried are often the keys to restoring physical health for those who suffer in chronic conditions. Sometimes, and even often, disease is a physical manifestation of emotional pain.
I’ve got storiesonstories of this happening in the lives of other people. But for now, let it suffice to say: if you’ve been struggling with not feeling healthy for an extended period of time, it very well could be that the root of your dis-ease is primarily emotional. Here are five signs that it may be time to do a bit of emotional excavation.
1. You are inexplicably tired.
Emotions are all more than just a mental experience. Each emotion, each thought pattern you have, all vibrate at a unique frequency. Joy, love, and enlightenment all vibrate at a very high frequency, whereas despair, grief, and sadness all have a very low frequency. And what is a frequency but energy? So think what happens when all those waves and waves of frequency are vibrating and creating energy inside your body, waiting to be released…and they never are. When emotions aren’t released from their internal, thought-energy state, they consume your energy from within and create blockages in the natural energy flow in the body. Exercise can sometimes temporarily overcome those blockages, which helps you to feel alive again! But after a few hours, the energy flow is blocked again, and you’re left feeling frustrated and more aware than ever that you don’t feel “normal.”
Listen, this is not your “new normal” energy level. That old normal is not lost forever. Before you consign to a life of fatigue without any explanation, consider the role of emotions in your energy.
2. You tell yourself, “I don’t have time to deal with those feelings.”
You’re already running late, juggling a to-do list with a finite deadline in the next few hours, and you just got a text that your best friend is going through a breakup, when you rush into a meeting to a snide remark from your supervisor. You don’t have time to feel it now—there’s work to be done and there are expectations on you, so it will have to wait. And realistically, when you rush back out, you'll never make the time to validate, process, and release the emotional experience you had that day. This is how the feelings get trapped inside.
If you find yourself regularly dismissing emotions in the moment, hoping for a more convenient time to deal with them, there’s a good chance that this habit has been in place for a while, and there are some untapped pockets of emotional energy inside keeping you from living your best life.
3. Your digestion has taken a turn for the worse.
For lots of people, one of the first places energy flow gets diverted is within the GI tract. Food intolerances, IBS, chronic indigestion, all extremes of BM issues—when these are consistent and develop seemingly out of nowhere, there is a good chance diet isn't the only culprit. The gut-brain connection has been the subject of many studies in the recent few years, and the effects of emotional disturbance often affect the gut even before they reach the brain. Now we know humans have actual neurons in the GI system which communicate directly with the brain.
Countless people will be diagnosed with a food intolerance or given a restrictive diet for their chronic conditions, and after months of vigilance, report not feeling any better. In fact, often, the new restrictions become a point of even more stress and emotional dissonance.
On the contrary, when emotional pain from the past is unearthed and allowed its space to exist without judgment or denial, often healing comes to the gut and the whole body.
If dietary changes aren’t helping your digestive issues, it’s a good time to look at what sort of emotional root might be at play for your illness.
4. You can’t identify where your feelings are experienced in your body.
This may seem like a strange one, but if you haven’t taken the time to really ask yourself, “where am I feeling this in my body?” when you feel an emotion deeply, it’s rare to be in tune with the connection between mind-body in this way. And if you’re unaware of the connection, it’s likely that your physical experiences of emotions have been stifled at some point in the past.
When they’re stifled, emotions aren’t expressed, and you can count on those to store up a LOT of energy inside, disintegrating your holistic well-being, from tucked away, unexpressed emotions.
5. You’re covering up real emotions with positive self-talk.
AKA false optimism. Now let me just put on my hypocritical hat here for a second, and note that just saying “everything is going to be okay,” doesn’t mean you believe it. I am the first to write off my own emotional experience with, “but it’s okay.” In my past Christian circles, its manifestation was, “but God is still good,” tagged at the end of a heartbreaking story, but because it often doesn’t allow space for a genuine emotional experience before turning toward hope, it’s still false optimism. Sometimes things are not okay. And that's okay.
Masking any pain with false optimism is not a fix, and it won’t heal, either. It’s not even a band-aid, it’s more of an ibuprofen — distracting you from the real issue by covering up the pain symptoms, but offering nothing toward the actual process of healing itself. If this is a common pattern for you when you’re handling painful emotions, there’s a strong change there’s unaddressed emotional energy that will bring healing with its release.
If any of these 5 signs resonate with you, particularly if more than one do, it might be time for some intentional self-reflection. It can be done alone, but is best done with the help of a professional who can help you reconnect in your mind-body experiences.
Unaddressed emotional pain can be the source of some of our most limiting beliefs, and I want you, reader friend, to be free from anything that is holding you back from being the best version of yourself. The world will absolutely be a better place when you’re living as your best you!