About the Author: Kate Olson, CPC, CHt, is a Life Coach, Master Hypnotherapist, EFT & NLP Master Practitioner & Trainer and Reiki Master located in Seattle, at Soul Fire Wisdom Life Coaching & Embrace Change Hypnosis & NLP . Kate offers workshops & classes, as well as, individual and group coaching. Her emphasis is on assisting clients in finding Path, Purpose and Peace. Kate focuses on integration of mind, body, spirit wellness. It is her mission to help clients find joy through connection, creative expression and embracing change. She is passionate about creativity, travel, personal growth and enjoying life. She has two other wellness-related businesses, Total Wellness Products, offering healing resources and products and Circle of Love Retreats. All four businesses operate as Dba's under Total Well Resources, LLC. Kate is a speaker, author and radio host. Her new radio show/ podcast starting in September is "Soul Fire Wisdom". Formerly she hosted "Embrace Change with Kate".
Most people would agree that our feelings have a powerful impact in our lives. Feelings make us aware that we are alive and without them we don’t really function well. What are feelings and how do they function in our mind and body? How do we deal with them and why is it important? The answers to these questions give us perspective on how feelings relate to our health and wellness.
As an empath, I have been sensitive to and aware of feelings (in an energy sense), my own and others. It has always been apparent to me that feelings impact our health. As a child, I could tell that my Mother’s anger was not good for her and I could see the effects on my Dad when his blood pressure went up. I knew it made me feel sick when I worried too much. That did not necessarily make me stop worrying, but I was aware of the physical effects and knew they were not good for me.
In my studies as a Hypnotherapist, NLP & Reiki practitioner, as well as, my study into Neuroscience and Energy Psychology, I have found support for my intuitive suspicions. I have gotten some answers as to how things work and I am convinced that the way we deal with our emotions is a key predictor of our well-being.
The dictionary gives three definitions for feelings:
(1) feelings are basic physical sensations, such as touch, temperature, etc.
(2) feelings are emotional states or reactions
(3) a belief, such as suspicion, apprehension. (Merriam-Webster)
Are feelings the same as emotions? Though related, emotions and feelings, are two sides of the same coin. Emotions are lower-level responses coming from the sub-cortical regions of the brain, dealing with conscious thought, reasoning and decision-making. They create biochemical and electrical reactions in the body and alter its physical state. Feelings on the other hand, originate in the neo-cortical regions of the brain. Feelings are initiated by emotions, but filtered by personal experience, beliefs, memories, and thoughts linked to our emotions. Feelings are the result of our brain’s perception initiating from emotions.
Interestingly, the relationship between emotions and feelings works in reverse, as well. Initially, an emotion leads to a feeling. A feeling can also initiate an emotion. If you encounter a snake and experience fear, in the future, just thinking about a snake can result in activating that basic emotional response with all the same chemical reactions in the body. Nature intended that we experience emotions and they are instinctual. They can affect health if we are constantly exposed to circumstances that evoke negative or stressful emotions. The release of cortisol into our system and the impact on our adrenals, heart and blood pressure creates tremendous impact. Our nervous system and body were not meant to be in a constant state of fear and stress. Early humans, who were in constant fear, with few resources for protection and survival, did not live very long lives.
There are fewer real dangers in our lives today, but unfortunately, many more imagined dangers or worries created over possible negative circumstances that will likely never occur. Anxiety and stress are prevalent in our world and they take a big toll.
“Chronic Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide. And more than 75 percent of all physician office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints.”
(The American Psychological Association, March 21, 2014)
Stress and anxiety result from feelings, the thoughts or meanings we attribute to our emotions around something in the past or future. Most of those feelings and harmful chemical reactions in our bodies are not related to what is actually happening now. We are making a choice to imagine something that may or may not ever happen. We are choosing to actually experience the negative trauma from an imagined occurrence. This causes needless illness, disease and dysfunction in our bodies and can lead to early death.
Our feelings are intricately related to our health. The medical community is beginning to realize this and place more importance on treating patients in a holistic way, taking into consideration, not only physical symptoms, but emotions and feelings in their treatment plans and assignment of expected outcomes. Research bears this out in a government study from the CDC, Healthy People 2020 Approach to Health-Related Quality of Life & Well-Being.
This is definitely encouraging, but more is needed. Individuals need to take responsibility, become more aware of their feelings and learn ways to manage stress, anxiety and depression. By making better choices this can be done. We can’t depend on curing disease. It is necessary to prevent some of the dysfunction and choose to be healthier! We do have the tools to make these changes and with more awareness, we can do this! It is up to us!
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