STARTING OVER: Understanding The Role Of Emotions In Good Health

Positive emotionsI have written many articles about health and its various components. I have read countless books, magazines, scientific research and viewed many videos. All of this information as well as my training as a physician has increased my knowledge of health and what it takes to be healthy. Although I believe knowledge is important it must also be recognized for its limitations. It is nothing more than a tool; a data base of information WITHOUT EMOTION. Why is it important to emphasize “without emotion?” It is this internal force within each of us that utilizes knowledge to motivate behavioral changes. Knowing that something is good or bad does not necessarily direct our actions. How we FEEL about something good or bad plays a much larger role in the decision making process.

Many of my articles provide “ACTION STEPS” that help people create accountability to themselves to achieve the goals they set. After talking with people and LISTENING to their responses, I began to realize this “rational” approach to self improvement was missing a crucial element needed to BEGIN the process. I discovered that each of us have SPECIFIC EMOTIONAL NEEDS that need to be addressed first (or early in the process) to create the incentive to change and improve one’s life. Without addressing this crucial component properly, the best we can hope to achieve in most cases is a yo-yo outcome. This would look like a good day, a good week and then a setback. An obstacle would be overcome putting us back on another good day, another good week followed by another impediment eventually causing us to fall back into long term patterns of destructive behavior. Why do we fall back into patterns that prevent us from maximizing our potentials in life? It is my contention that our SPECIFIC EMOTIONAL NEEDS are either never understood or never addressed.

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cartoon and body dysfunction

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Whether you suffer from heart ailments, diabetes, chronic diseases, obesity, depression or cancer we need to find the missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle by searching for the specific emotional needs that are impacting a diminished state of health. I believe this may be best accomplished by:

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STARTING OVER

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What does starting over mean? It means taking yourself to a safe place in your mind and slowly peeling back the years and uncovering the emotional realities that drove you to your current destination in life. It means learning about your handicaps (your fears, your anger, your sorrows, your loneliness) as well as your strengths (your joy, your desires, your commitments, your character.) This safe place controlled entirely by you provides the opportunity to expose all hidden emotions contained over the years that have interfered with the body’s ability to perform necessary functions to maintain healthy living. This safe place gives you permission to lift these burdens and unload these toxic feelings. It’s a process that will require time, because some of these SPECIFIC EMOTIONAL NEEDS are not consciously recognized. Some of us have many layers of emotional issues to contend with and will require patience. As we successfully get through this process, a greater clarity of who we are emerges. This new understanding of SELF begins the process of allowing the body to heal both physically and mentally. It is at this stage in healing that we can reach for the tools of knowledge to facilitate the direction in life we choose to follow. We no longer experience a combative attitude within our bodies or our minds. Energy levels rise as energy consumption reduces from a body functioning more efficiently.  There is still plenty of work to accomplish, but the challenges become viewed from an optimistic perspective. Obstacles become challenges rather than set backs. This new mindset and new approach creates a vision of success. The ability to live and experience a COMPLETE and BALANCED LIFE becomes possible.

Brain

Have hidden or avoided EMOTIONS impacted your quality of life and state of health? Please feel free to share your comments to help other people realize they are not alone.

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44 comments

  1. I am currently under medication…thanks for this post..this is such a big help…I am now in a better place to deal with my current medical condition…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m thankful you found this article beneficial. All of us have so much to offer this amazing (sometimes mixed up) world we live in. It is easy to get lost in the numbers and lose our individual identities. I believe each and every one of us was placed on this planet with a purpose. This emphasizes how important each of us are. Becoming sidetracked is part of life’s difficulties. It doesn’t mean we have to follow this unsatisfying path until we die. Reaching for positive attitudes and energies help us refocus and redirect our attentions. This, quite often, helps us find the paths in life we’ve been searching for. I hope you continue to strive for quality living and accept all the positive energy and positive solutions found in life. NEVER give up!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks a bunch…so nice of you to take time and encourage me …Thank you

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I think my story speaks for itself really. Staying at home and eating instead of facing the world had a massive effect on my life.
    No two ways about it.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Cameron, you are becoming a “health machine” in action. You are simply in the developmental and constructive phases. This is a great place to be. You will become enthusiastic as you learn new things that complement and enhance your life. Your blog site will be a place you can turn to share your personal growth and development that will help motivate others to find better direction with their lives. Can you think of a better combination than attaining personal BALANCE and helping others achieve the same? I am counting on you and your new successful attitude. I can’t spread the benefits of quality living by myself. Stay healthy and happy.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s funny, I was just speaking with a friend this morning about struggles I am having with an emotional change in my life of late. I was sharing that I have a hard time disconnecting emotionally from people who are not headed down the same path in life that I have chosen for myself. We used to walk together, but now I have made changes that put me on another path. Confusion…distraction…second-guessing (fear, anger, and loneliness, as you mentioned here), that is what I am left with, but I know I cannot hold onto these emotions and remain steadfast/get where I need to go. Expending too much personal emotional energy trying to “fix” others is a losing proposition for us both. Through prayer and meditation I have come to realize that life is a hot mess most of the time, and that I cannot change others, so I need to focus on changing myself. Its simple, but not easy, to walk away from old friendships that used to “work” but don’t anymore. I know I can do it, but it takes time, and a lot of emotional wrangling, but my health has to come first. If I’m not well, I can’t help anyone, including me.

    Not sure if this is what you are looking for in the way of comments, but what came to mind as I read your post this morning. Thank you, Jonathan!

    Liked by 5 people

    1. This is a beautiful comment that clearly speaks from the heart. I have gone through what you are currently experiencing and understand the difficulties you mention. It is NOT our place to IMPOSE any lifestyle (even a healthy one) on another person. I know you are NOT doing this, but friends do not always understand this. From our dialogue, I know your efforts are intended to share your experiences and beneficial changes you’ve undergone. Often, people desire these changes, but are not ready to commit themselves physically and mentally. This can leave them envious and jealous. These two emotions can play havoc on a friendship. Always remain true to yourself. As difficult as this may be, you will be happier with the outcome on a multitude of levels.

      One of the ways of dealing with altered friendships is reversing direction by turning the search inward and taking time to discover the new SELF. We have a tendency of focusing on the friend and their needs. This new SELF may attract different personalities than the past. It doesn’t mean that old friendships have to end; it means the relationship needs to be viewed from a different perspective. Find the essence within the person that attracted you to the friendship. Two people can move in very different directions, yet emotional ties can be strong enough to sustain relationships.

      I believe you are on a path that will bring much joy and happiness. Since life is about BALANCE, we will always have to contend with issues of distraction. Stay positive; you will be happy with the outcome.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. I second this comment.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel like you just spoke what I am going through. It is very hard to let go of relationships that used to work like you said:( I have faced having to let go of not only friendships, but family members. It is heart-breaking, but our own emotional well-being comes first, and the people who value us and will uplift us will be the ones that remain.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You would probably be surprised how many people choosing a life of opportunity, of BALANCE, of quality health and lifestyle face the same concerns about friends and family as you. Many people get “stuck” in patterns that are self destructive, but become fearful of change and its unknown outcomes. This literally causes people to lose sight of objective thinking which narrows the walls preventing them from changing course. Choosing healthy living as well as physical, mental, spiritual balance opens up the world of creativity with endless opportunities. The drawback for some is the acceptance of having to move in new directions that friends and family members may not follow. This does NOT mean we have to sever ties. It means if there is a POSITIVE emotional tie with a friend or family member, we must seek its meaning and focus on this aspect of the relationship to keep it beneficial and thriving. If the emotional tie can not be found or is found to be too destructive, it might be time to release this bond and move forward toward new relationships waiting to be discovered.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. Perfectly said/written:) Balance is essential! At times it hurts, but we heal and are stronger in the end by surrounding ourselves with a true support system. Thank you for the uplifting message:)

          Liked by 2 people

  4. This is powerful. Thank you for sharing. It makes a massive difference; when you start to tackle your emotional health, you do begin to see a positive impact on physical ailments and other medical problems, speaking from personal first-hand experience and that of friends and family. That is why I always try to blog on mental and emotional wellbeing because it is such a powerful tool for healing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Well said. I have read on your site the injuries you’ve sustained. It is easy to become frustrated and give up in situations like these. I have found that “giving up” under these conditions is truly self destructive. I have learned to reach within; to search for answers, to determine a course of action that provides solutions which are achievable and acceptable to my personal needs. This certainly includes levels far below the ELITE status as long as I CHOOSE these levels. Once this level is achieved, it becomes my CHOICE to quit. By following this path, quitting no longer impacts the emotional feeling of failure! It becomes a positive decision to move on to something new and productive.
      Thank you so much for taking your time to read my article and sharing your personal comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful post. A better understanding of ourselves is probably the best place to start. I have a sweet tooth that often gets the best of me. Years ago, I did a search of my inner self to understand why I had so many uncompleted writing projects. It changed my life. My question to you is why is it we apply different methods or habits to govern our lives, then we fail to apply it to something as important as our diet?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It is my opinion that one letter of the alphabet representing two distinctly different words (mentioned in the past) play a huge role in answering your quesiton. P (PAIN) and P (PLEASURE) have a greater impact on most lives than people are aware. Your writing is more than just a hobby. It is a passion and potential career decision. You recognized the PAIN you would experience if your uncompleted writing projects remained in limbo. In addition to this fact, the act of publishing creates PLEASURE and fulfillment.

    Poor dietary habits do not create enough physical PAIN early in the process to motivate a change in behavior. Years of experience has taught me that knowledge by itself does not usually create long term changes. The addictive PLEASURES on the other hand that processed foods, chemicals and other artificial ingredients produce motivates these destructive patterns and physically alters normal hormonal function to fuel the “fire.”

    Unpublished writing = FAILURE and PAIN creating MOTIVATION

    Poor dietary habits = Undetected pain and gustatory PLEASURE reinforcing an unhealthy response. Bad food “feels” good. During emotional times, it falsely and temporarily satisfies the need for PLEASURE. As we feed the body what it truly needs, the endocrine system (hormones) re-balances correcting the release of hormones that commonly cause the cravings most people experience. Poor food choices lose their element of satisfaction. Without the overwhelming sensation of PLEASURE these foods once produced the desire and cravings dissipate. Emotions, however, commonly prevent people from following this corrective course of action. They fall back to the foods that “feel good” and promulgate this destructive pattern before the body is able to re-balance itself.

    I hope this helps answer your IMPORTANT question.

    Like

  7. Great post Jonathan. It opens the door to learn and understand the powerful impact our emotions have on our body. Working through my emotions of grief was vital to my health. I have seen so many suppress their grief and it always takes a toll on their health. It is a very important subject.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know you have experienced great losses in your life. Your personal understanding of this subject and your professional credentials offer so much in the way of assistance to so many people in desperate need. Looking within can produce frightening visions. The ability to find and release these emotions is crucial to finding happiness. I know you have helped many achieve this goal. Thank you again for sharing your emotions and showing that better health is achievable.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thankyou Jonathan. I am excited because I have just completed my book on this journey of grief and it will be published next year. Like you, I have such a passion to share my experiences and help others know there are many ways to heal our mind and body. It is great to have these forums to learn from.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Congratulations. I’m certain it will help bring comfort to many people traveling the road you have unfortunately been forced to travel. Please let me know when it becomes available.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. billgasiamis · · Reply

    Great post. Having done a heap of work to understand why I do or not achieve the goals or overcome the challenges in my own life I discovered that the best outcomes occurred when I was coming from a heart space. If I did something because it was logical but my heart wasn’t in it there would be no way the outcome would be achieved. i feel that doctors need to find a way to directionalise recover for each patient differently and I think the place to start is to help the patient determine what values need to be met which means that the heart will lead recovery.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Understanding the significance of the mind/body connection is imperative to healing. Psychosomatic is the term used that describes this interaction. It is significantly more powerful in influencing the healing properties of the body than most pharmaceutical agents. Utilizing this dynamic when creating treatment protocols could greatly influence more favorable outcomes. To deny its existence because our technology can’t fully explain its mechanism is foolish. As physicians we should harness any positive influences we can find that helps direct the body to achieve a better outcome. The heart elicits an emotional response with great potential to influence the mind/body connection. The more positive energy utilized during individual recoveries the faster and more thorough the recoveries become. Denying this emotional component of healing by any doctor does a disservice to their patients.

    I appreciate your thoughtful response to this article. I couldn’t agree more with the importance in taking into account the heart’s emotional role in healing. Stay healthy and happy my friend.

    Like

  10. Emotions always play a great role in life. Yesterday I was thinking if a person could be so practical as to come out of his emotional life..? I thought a lot about that and was struggling to get an answer. And it was the right time , I read your post. Thank you so much…

    Like

    1. I’m so glad our timing was good. Emotional issues play a bigger factor in many of our lives than we realize. As we become more in tune with our inner self, a weight is lifted giving us a chance to view life from a new perspective. The possibilities from this point forward become limitless.

      Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your time and willingness to read my articles. Stay healthy and happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I think you’re absolutely right that the emotional foundation we lay sets the basis for our physical health. But the question is–what’s next?

    You tell readers to peel back their emotional layers to get to the heart of their motivations–which is, again, advice I admire, respect, and agree with. But how? How, in concrete steps and terms, does one achieve the kind of emotional awakening you’re advocating?

    I’d love to see a follow-up article with concrete advice for getting in touch with our emotional pasts and how that leads us to correct the health issues of our present. I would love to attempt the kind of personal enlightenment you’re gesturing towards, and that I’ve always wanted, but I just don’t know, on my own, quite how to accomplish this.

    Like

    1. The problem with providing “concrete” answers is best explained by understanding the various emotional issues each of us face. An algorithm provides a very logical step by step approach. Emotions in many cases are not based on rational thoughts. This doesn’t make them any less legitimate. Counseling services, church organizations and various shelter groups have professionals they work with to help people uncover the truths about themselves. It is a VERY PERSONALIZED approach needed to overcome a personal history of events in a person’s life. This is why I would have a difficult time attempting to lay out a plan of action for multiple people to follow. General concepts can be stated, but without a clear path to follow, these concepts (by themself) would unlikely achieve their intended goals. I would encourage professional guidance by organizations that volunteer their services for those unable to afford it. I wish I had all the answers to help people. I am a realist and therefore offer my professional assistance to anyone I feel I can help.

      I encourage you to create a journal of your own history involving friends and family; good and bad actions; and events you believe may have played an impact on the person you have become. This might place you more in tune with yourself and might uncover some hidden truths necessary in overcoming some problems you face (including obesity.)

      I hope this helps put you on a path that leads to better health and happiness.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes! Emotions, not knowledge, are at the root of all we do. How we feel about what we know determines our actions. If we can’t dig down and figure out how we really feel, it will be impossible to choose actions that lead to happiness, fulfillment, and long term health.

    That’s why it makes me so sad that culturally we are constantly belittling the feelings of boys and men with phrases like “Man Up.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree that emotions are commonly at the root of our actions, however, I’m not convinced we have to accept this observation as a fact without possible flexibility. If we allow our emotions to run our lives the consequences would likely be devastating. We need to find a BALANCE achieving emotional satisfaction without compromising the quality of health and life. Helping the obese population achieve this balance while maintaining a dialogue with them to gain their perspective on methods needed to implement accountability are crucial. I’m hoping the concepts discussed in this article help begin this process.

      As far as the “man up” phrase is concerned, I couldn’t agree with you more. I have commented about this phrase on your site and believe it to be more destructive than beneficial to character development.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. When I say root, I don’t mean we have no choice in the matter. We still have flexibility and choice, but emotions color the lens through which we view our choices and consequently which actions we choose to take.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Absolutely. This is why achieving balance between emotions and rational thought is so important. Combining the two creates a human perspective allowing us to RESPOND to life rather than REACT to it.

          Liked by 1 person

  13. Reblogged this on and commented:
    He’s got a very important point here.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Emotions have played a major part in my health and where I am now. Most of my physical disorders and diseases are caused due to obesity. Now genetics played part of it, but I thought that if I made myself heavy I would be invisible to people, mainly my ex-husband and he would leave me alone. It didn’t work and instead I am full of problems brought on by obesity. Until I deal with those emotions it is yo-yo for me. Another subject to discuss with therapist. I occasionally had weight problems as a child, like I said genetics on my mother’s side played a part in it, but as a child I would gain and lose and was very tiny and petite.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your personal story. When real people discuss real problems they face in life, more people begin to realize they are not alone. Finding yourself among people that offer courtesy, respect and understanding helps overcome emotional problems. We need to focus on those areas we know are the results of self sabotage. It’s not easy, but most things worth while in life require effort. The trick is finding a path that creates long term change and produces a healthier sense of self. Thank you so much for being a part of this dialogue.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the article.

        Liked by 1 person

  15. My dad passed away over a year ago and since then things have changed drastically in my life. I think death opens our eyes and allows us to see people as they really are and not as who we thought they were. My parents had a very toxic relationship they always seem to be very angry and mean to each other verbally. I was always very close to them both. I was the one they called when they needed help doing something. My sister was never around to be any help. I have been struggling with a relationship with my mom since my dad’s death. We can speak for awhile then she basically attacks me verbally. Sometimes I wonder if she is trying to make me her new victim for her anger since my dad is no longer around. We never had a problem before his death. She has butted in and interfered with my relationship with our children.The stress of this made my blood pressure go up, I was not able to sleep and I felt horrible. Instead of trying to fix this relationship again as I have several other times I have stepped back and just taken deep breaths. Now my blood pressure is down, I am sleeping much better and I find I am not near as stressed out. This is because I am not talking to my mom I can see the connection now to all the issues I have been having. I have to wonder though will my mom and I ever get back to having a normal relationship or did this relationship die the day my dad died?

    Like

    1. Family relationships are amazingly complex. The dynamics seem to change as we experience emotional “interruptions.” Long term patterns typically need time and patience to uncover deep seated emotions that may clearly be misunderstood. I believe relationships always have possibilities (even if the level of relationship must change) until a person’s last breath. Look into your heart and see what you believe is in your best interest and those of your family. If the ROOT CAUSE of a decisive and toxic relationship cannot be uncovered and addressed by you and your mother, third party professional intervention might be needed. I hope this helps.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have been in counseling since earlier this year. She refuses go she says she has no issues, no problems and nothing that needs to be fixed. She gets very bitter and angry when you mention it.I recently asked her about something she said that was very painful to me. She denied ever saying it. It was just the day before I had asked her about it. I then ask her to please get a MRI she went off on me in such anger. This scared me because of Alzheimer’s.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. We can only extend ourselves so far in an attempt to mend a relationship. Have you tried to limit your dialogue to topics of interest that she enjoys discussing? Sometimes people become less defensive in posture when they realize that confrontation is absent from communication (at least for a while.) These dialogues need to start and end without tempers flaring. Your therapist might be able to expand on this concept.

          As far as the potential for any neurological compromise, your mother would have to be willing (on her own)to have a neurologist evaluate for any pathological concerns. Aging parents can be the source of enormous trauma in our lives. I hope that time, patience and ultimate resolution to an injured relationship helps reduce your pain.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I totally agree. The big issue is when she brings up something up to ignite the fire.

            Liked by 1 person

  16. Howto$tuffYourPig · · Reply

    Being a stress eater I can really relate to this post. When my emotions are in check so is my diet so I do believe the two are related. I realize I am a work in progress and the best way to handle it is to avoid buying the bad stuff to begin with. I may eat three apples to deal but it’s still progress! Another great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. If you think about it, the food is only the CAUSE of a SYMPTOM. Addressing the root cause of the problem (STRESS EATING) alleviates the PROBLEM. Two recommendations:

    1. Prepare stress food. When the time comes to use food for relief, make it a choice that nurtures the body and satisfies the need to eat.
    2. Prepare activities that give you access to CHANNEL your stress so it doesn’t become internalized.

    These simple tasks can make a world of difference. I have also learned what doesn’t work as well. If a person says, “I know, I know,” and doesn’t follow this simple phrase with productive actions. The end result typically becomes more of the same unwanted behavior.

    Hoping you choose a path that achieves the goals you wish for yourself. People with good hearts deserve to be happy. Wishing you only the best in life.

    Like

  18. Very insightful article and interesting comments. It makes me happy to hear a physician talk about emotional health and how this affects your physical well-being or can cause illnesses.
    It might be a slightly simplistic view but I believe that if we all got the love and care and respect we deserved as babies, toddlers, children, teenagers by our parents and immediate family/care-takers we would develop very little physical or mental illnesses. Because really, we humans are amazingly functioning interconnected entities, extremely resilient and geared for survival.
    However, due to trauma, emotional neglect, abuse of whatever kind, a non-answering of our emotional needs you mention above in childhood, as adults our task is to heal ourselves from the inside out, love ourselves (which is much more difficult than it sounds) and take care of ourselves, emotionally, mentally and physically. Because really, no one else will do it for us.

    Like

    1. This is NOT a simple view at all. It is a view (in my opinion) that receives too little attention. It has greater impact on an individual’s health and quality of life than given credit. I agree with you that health is found from within. This is why external sources of “treatments” (ex. pharmaceutical drugs) have limited success in many cases.
      Thank you for commenting with such thoughtful insight.

      Liked by 1 person

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