WHY SHARING FEELINGS WITH OTHERS IS GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH
by Ilio Masprone – Publisher – Knight of the Principality of Monaco for cultural merits
MONACO. If your emotions don’t find a healthy resolution, they’ll make you suffer for it. In fact, there’s a strong connection between our emotions and our physical state of well-being. The effects go both ways; just as we might feel emotionally down when our body is afflicted by an injury or illness, when we’re depressed, stressed, angry, happy, etc., our body reflects this in a variety of ways. This emotion-body relationship is an important subject of psychological study. There are natural, normal, and healthy manifestations of emotion, such as laughing, crying, or shouting. However, when those natural expressions are repressed, certain feelings can also express themselves as psychosomatic illnesses: physical symptoms usually associated with other causes (an infection, an injury, an autoimmune disorder) but which can also be the result of not dealing properly with negative feelings. Some “negative” emotions aren’t bad; they’re actually good, healthy reactions to bad situations, designed to help us react appropriately. However, they’re unpleasant, so we tend to think of them as negative. Sadness is the reaction to a loss of any kind. Sadness is one of the principal emotions of mourning. The most obvious natural expression of sadness is, of course, crying. The more profound and vocal our weeping, the more it frees us. Fear also is not as negative as it can look because it is a response that warns us that we’re in danger, and it mobilizes the necessary energy so we can deal with the threat by fighting, fleeing, or freezing. Anger is a reaction to aggression. When we feel physically or psychologically attacked, we feel anger towards the aggressor. The natural expression of anger is to react with verbal or physical force to defend ourselves against the aggressor. The physical sensations that accompany the emotions we feel are telling us that we need to act to restore balance. Sometimes, because we feel inhibited by our environment or by the way we were raised or educated, we don’t pay attention to them and we don’t resolve the situation. Consequently, our negative emotions tend to accumulate, and can manifest themselves through other physical symptoms. Some people are more prone to psychosomatic illnesses than others. Many studies have shown the connection between personality and physical illnesses, discovering, for example, that people who tend to isolate themselves and/or not express their feelings are more likely to suffer this kind of problem. We need to become aware of our body’s reactions and learn to pay attention to them, and deal with them, instead of repressing them. One important means of working through our feelings and giving them a healthy outlet is to share them with others. It’s also a way of showing our trust and confidence in the support our family and friends offer us. Relationships based on authentic love and friendship, in which we are honest and open about who we are and what we feel, are an effective means of protecting our emotional, and therefore physical health. On the occasion of these 2019 festivities I wish happiness, health and harmony in our families. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!