When you keep hearing about taking care of yourself Mind, Body and Spirit what does it actually mean to you?
Taking care of yourself on the physical level is tangible, you put the right foods into your body, you make movement part of your routine and you consume water to stay hydrated. So what exactly does it mean to take care of yourself on an emotional level? How are emotions tied to overall well being?
Emotions come from the arousal of the nervous system. Millions of chemical reactions are taking place in the brain at any given moment and the response is predicated on the information being received. For example, if you’re witnessing a puppy stretched out in the sunshine having a nap your brain takes in the info and you may notice a sense of calm wash over you even though you’re not the one basking in the sun. On the flip side of that if you are consuming information, such as news on television that is fear driven or negative in any way you may feel anxiousness or worry. The brain takes in whatever information it is offered through all of the senses (taste, touch, sound, sight, smell) and relays it to produce an emotional response in the body. The expression of the information being received is a chemical reaction of the nervous system. You can likely recall a moment where you noticed your heart pounding or you begin sweating. This is an excellent example of how emotions create a physical response in the body. If you are not in the middle of a workout and these physical reactions occur it is a tangible expression of emotion based on information intake.
Lesson: Allow yourself as much positive information to be consumed as possible in order to stimulate the emotional response of tranquility, peace and contentment. What you look at, who you give your time to, what books you read, what you eat (yep! Food that is visually appealing and is known to be nourishing is vital to your emotional health).
Some expressions of the nervous system are not seen but occur constantly within our physical body as a result of an emotional response. The release of hormones.
In situations where the intake of information is creating stress, worry or anxiousness the hormones being released are done so to protect us. The fight or flight response occurs in the amygdala of the brain and is actually a survival mechanism. Since we have evolved and are no longer running from wild predators on a daily basis we do not use up the hormone to run and save ourselves. The stress hormone is released anyway but it isn’t spent. This results in a physical response in the body and overtime can change our biochemistry. The average person experiences dozens of stressful episodes every day and this has a cumulative effect. The release of hormones can create weight gain, complicate the rhythms of the heart, induce fatigue and irritability and more.