North Texas Daily

The manifestations of illness

The manifestations of illness

The manifestations of illness
February 21
12:00 2022

The U.S. is a country distraught with illness, and a part of it may have to do with the lack of ability to be in touch with our emotions. We are a numbed population focusing so many hours of our day on solely surviving that we often never have a minute for ourselves. Finding a few minutes to connect with ourselves can be beneficial to our overall health, yet self-care remains a luxury for too many of us. 

Mental and physical health conditions can be a result of generational illness or a combination of social, political and economic factors which cause strain. These are not factors this article serves to dismiss, but instead bring attention to the importance of dealing with psychological health. There is an unfortunate reality among us that often goes unnoticed. 

Our physical reality can be a manifestation of our inner thoughts and feelings. Avoiding our emotions or not taking care of ourselves can find a way to express itself through our bodies. Our physical beings have a way of telling us more about what is happening inside us than we give them credit for. It is a reflection of our inner world. 

This isn’t just a spiritual or mystical idea — it is a biological one. The main task of your brain is to regulate your “body’s internal systems by anticipating needs and preparing to satisfy them before they arise,” which is a process known as allostasis. Regulating stress hormones such as cortisol has proven to cause a disruption in immune functions and lead to the development of chronic illness and mental health conditions. These internal processes are an important contribution to one’s understanding of how connected the body is to the mind and how a disruption in these processes may result in different issues.

It is a well-documented fact that the suppression of emotions can have a negative effect on your body. The suppression of emotions can increase a person’s chance of premature death by 30 percent and an increased risk of a cancer diagnosis by 70 percent, according to a 2013 study by the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester.

The suppression of anger, grief, sadness and all other emotions can embody themselves through high blood pressure, memory problems, diabetes, heart disease, headaches, hair loss or anxiety and depression. Emotions can express themselves in a variety of health forms. These are real physical stresses that your body may experience as a way of releasing and dealing with these pent-up emotions. 

By not acknowledging certain emotions and practicing care and regulation, we are also at risk of exacerbating aggression. Emotional outbursts and violence are both clear-cut signs your body is holding onto something that it is desperately trying to let go of. 

A problem that many of us run into, however, is how exactly to take care of ourselves. This is something that has proved to be entirely crucial for our well-being, and yet we severely lack information on how to find the best self-care activities, and how exactly to become more aware of examining our emotions to improve our conditions. These are all questions that should be answered in schools in order to adequately prepare us for surviving in the world. 

Finding time to implement self-care coping mechanisms can be the greatest barrier when it comes to this. Businesses and corporations should make work-life balance a model that they encourage and implement. Our well-being is often lost in workloads, but our true success is dependent on it. Companies have a responsibility to consider how people are going to be able to fit themselves into their schedules. 

Making knowledge on self-care a requirement, making health services more accessible and prioritizing work-life balances can greatly contribute to the success and well-being of individuals everywhere. Our lives are dependent on the health of our minds, so let’s take it seriously. 

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Vanessa Delgado

Vanessa Delgado

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