- I have been a teacher of fitness and health for thirty years. In 1989 I was certified for personal training with the National Acadamy of Sports Medicine. I had a gym in Santa Barbara for eight years. Co-owned and created a spinning bike company which manufactured bikes for five years. Also I have worked with nutrition companies for twenty years. Along with many wonderful non famous people I have trained many celebrities, and members of the Royal Family. My own athletic past consists of long distance running, long distance cycling, cross country skiing, down hill skiing, rollerblading, hiking, sand running, track work, and weight training. I have authored two fitness columns in local papers, and have been writing this blog since January 2010.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The Harmful Effects of Negative Emotions
This morning on the news, I heard a segment about how our negative emotions can cause us to have diseases and bad health. It makes total sense to me. When I am feeling negative feelings like anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, or frustration, I feel bad not only mentally, but physically.
I have to do a commute three to four days a week on a road that goes up and over a mountain. This highway is mostly two lanes that wind and curve on what can be a very dangerous road. Many people are fearful of driving this road and drive it too slow, or there is always the dare devil on it that passes people on blind curves.
I will inevitably have to deal with these two types when I am on my commute. I have now gotten to a place where I do not burst into "road rage" all the way there. I realized that when I would get angry or frustrated with these drivers that I was the only one who suffered. My blood pressure would rise, my heart rate would raise, my adrenaline would rush, my whole body would tense up, and I would feel tingling in my arms.
All of this because some driver would irritate me with their bad driving. Even though I was yelling ugly things to them, they did not hear me, or even notice that I was in this state. I was the only one that was being upset and disturbed. I was hurting myself with my own emotions. Now when I begin to fall into my own trap of being upset, I immediately feel my body respond with this negative emotion, and I take a breath and calm myself down. Those are the kind of negative feelings and emotions that can bring on a illness.
I have written before about how good emotions like love, compassion, kindness, can help keep you healthy and actually help heal you, and how bad emotions like anger, hate, resentment, can make you sick and cause illness. Being aware of how your body feels is a great barometer for keeping yourself in check. If you feel that physical stress like muscle tension, adrenaline, or high blood pressure, you need to re-think what it is you are feeling and expressing.
I know people who hold grudges forever, or invest their time in hating something or someone. Learn to let things go, it will be much healthier for you to do so.
I was talking to a friend today about her mother who is one of those people that holds onto things forever. Her mother was angered that her brother married a much younger woman thirty-three years ago, and had not spoken to him since. He died last week....what a waste.
She missed out on her relationship with her brother, because she disagreed with a choice that he had made for himself. She would rather have been right about her ideals than to enjoy being a part of her brothers life. Tragic. By the way this woman lives much of her life this way, and has had colon cancer and other health issues.
There is a lot of evidence out there to show how we sabotage our health with our own emotions. This is where you can practice your mindfulness. Be aware of what you are thinking and feeling. Do you feel good, or do you feel bad? Pay attention to this so that you can change any negative thinking or emotion to a better feeling thought and emotion.
Remember that your negative thoughts and actions only hurt you. The party that you are thwarting your anger at is usually oblivious to it anyway, unless you confront someone to their face, and that is not healthy most of the time either. Stopping and calming yourself down, and taking a breath before you react to any situation is a better idea.
So make sure that you are not making yourself ill and sick by negative thoughts and emotions. Get your ego out of it, and think of how you can help yourself with a more positive thought process and reaction. Being angry, hateful, vengeful, mean, or envious, will never give you a good outcome. Switching to compassion, kindness, understanding, and love, will!