What Are the Effects of Emotions on Physical Health?

Medically Reviewed on 7/29/2021
effects of emotions on health
Emotions can have a huge effect not only on your mental state but also your bodily health

Your mind and body are deeply connected. Emotions can therefore have a huge effect not only on your mental state but also on your bodily health. Understanding how powerful your emotions are can help you manage them effectively.

Everyone processes emotions differently, and the effect they have on you depends on factors such as:

  • Type of event
  • Your past experiences
  • Your current state of mind
  • Your expectations

5 emotions and their effects on your health

1. Happiness

Happiness and good health go hand in hand, making our hearts healthier, immune systems stronger, and lives longer. Happiness also helps us overcome stress, which is the culprit of many diseases.

2. Sadness

In severe cases, sadness can lead to depression, which can weaken the immune system and give rise to other illnesses. Depression can cause insomnia, memory problems, and impaired decision-making. Combined with stress, depression can also increase your risk of heart problems.

3. Anger

Anger is associated with resentment and irritability and can cause anything from a headache and insomnia to digestion problems, skin problems, a heart attack, or even a stroke. Anger can also worsen generalized anxiety disorder as it can cause you to hold onto unhealthy thought patterns.

4. Fear

When you are frightened, blood can drain from your face, which is the result of your autonomic nervous system. Fear can cause our blood vessels to send more blood to our extremities in preparation for a flight or fight response.

5. Disgust

Disgust is one of the most difficult emotions to control. Unlike fear and anger, which can increase your rate, disgust can slow down your heart rate. It can even cause nausea and other digestive issues. 

Why is managing emotions important?

Being aware of your emotions and how they affect you can help you find ways to cope with distressing things that are a normal part of life. In addition to helping you improve your relationships with others, controlling your emotions can also help you avoid mental health issues such as anxiety and depression or self-harm.

We all have valuable internal resources to call upon, but sometimes despite our best efforts, we may need the help of an understanding counselor. If necessary, don’t hesitate to seek the help of a professional therapist. They may be able to recommend therapies and medications that can help you calm negative thoughts and allow you to talk through emotional distress.


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Medically Reviewed on 7/29/2021
How Do Thoughts and Emotions Affect Health? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/how-do-thoughts-and-emotions-affect-health

How Emotions Affect Learning, Behaviors, and Relationships: https://www.edutopia.org/blog/emotions-affect-learning-behavior-relationships-lori-desautels

Emotion and Decision making: https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/jenniferlerner/files/annual_review_manuscript_june_16_final.final_.pdf