I’m really excited to kick off this four-part article series on emotions! Read all four articles using the links below.
As I discussed in part one of my emotions series, as humans, we should expect to feel the whole gambit of emotions. Emotions are not good or bad – they just are what they are – a normal part of the human experience!
However, there are a few things that you can do to get yourself off the emotional rollercoaster so that you feel balanced and on an even keel.
Sleep is super-duper important. It’s no secret, when we are tired we are irritable, less tolerable and can be down right cranky.
We often think we can get away with less sleep than we actually need for optimal health. The recommendation for adults is around 8 hours. And remember consistency is key – having 6 hours of sleep each weeknight and having a big sleep in on a Sunday doesn’t produce the same effect.
When we are well-rested, we are more likely to be able to think coherently and react appropriately to situations, rather than having an emotional outburst!
Ever been on the blood sugar rollercoaster? It’s a killer! The inspiration for the emotion of “hangry”!
Having either high or low blood sugar can have a significant effect on our emotions. Very low blood sugar (known as hypoglycemia) can actually cause feelings of anxiety and confusion. It can also make it hard to complete routine tasks and can lead to abnormal behaviour.
High blood sugar, on the other hand, can cause fatigue. You would be familiar with the blood sugar crash if you’ve ever indulged in a sugary treat, and needed to have a nanna-nap shortly after. Persistently high blood sugar levels (such as diabetes) has also been linked to, or may worsen depression.
Regular movement and meditation
Regular movement is a great way to balance blood sugar. It’s also a great stress release. I’m sure you are well-versed on the benefits of exercise, but remember it’s great for emotional health too!
Similarly, meditation also does wonders for keeping anxiety, stress and depression at bay.
I’ve written a few articles of the benefits of essential oils, which you can read about here and here. Remember that different oils have different effects on our nervous system. Citrus oils are great for waking you up in the morning, giving you an energy burst. When you are tired and stressed, lavender is very calming for the nervous system. Personally, I love Bergamot in the morning, and unwind with a mix of lavender and frankincense in the evening.
Have you ever heard that our gut is the centre of our emotional centre? You know, butterflies in our stomach when we are nervous, heaviness in the gut when we are guilty, we go with our “gut instinct”.
Did you know our gut has its own nervous system, the “enteric nervous system” which is almost like a second brain with over 100 million neurons sending messages to the body.
Recent studies are have found that a compromised gut can mess up serotonin production. Low serotonin is linked depression and anxiety. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of wellbeing and happiness, and it’s found in its greatest concentration within the gut; not the brain itself.
In fact, our gut is sensitive to a range of emotions. Feeling intense emotions can trigger symptoms in the gut, including anger, anxiety, sadness and guilt. Evidence also suggests that our gut bacteria respond in damaging ways when we experience negative emotions and stress. The hormones secreted during a stress response have been found to contribute to the overgrowth of bad bacteria.
Our gut and our emotions are very heavily linked, both ways, as they both have the ability to negatively affect one another. This is why addressing your mental health is just as important as the food you eat!
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If you are still struggling with these emotions, I encourage you to speak with a counsellor or psychologist who can guide you through a healing process.