How our emotions affect our health

Happy couple outside

When you have good emotional health, you’re aware of your thoughts, feelings and behaviors and practice healthy ways to cope with stress and daily obstacles. However, when major life events or changes occur, it can disrupt your emotional health. These might include:

  • Divorce or marriage
  • Having a baby or adopting a child
  • Illness and injury
  • Job loss 
  • Money problems 
  • Moving
  • The death of a loved one

As you experience sadness, stress, anxiety or distress, it’s important to recognize your emotions and try to understand why you’re feeling, thinking or acting a certain way. These steps can help you manage your emotional health.

Other strategies

  • Find healthy ways to express your feelings to a trusted doctor, behavioral health provider or religious advisor. 
  • Write in a journal to help release negative feelings.
  • Practice gratitude by identifying things you’re grateful for. Try to note stress about problems at work, school or home that can cause negative feelings. It’s also important to take time for things you enjoy, such as reading or listening to music.
  • Take care of yourself by eating healthy foods, get plenty of sleep and exercise to let go of tension. Avoid excess caffeine and alcohol and don’t abuse drugs, which can lead to other serious issues.

When you experience poor emotional health, it can weaken your body’s immune system, causing colds and other infections. Poor emotional health can also manifest as chest pain, tiredness, headaches or insomnia.

If your negative feelings persist and prevent you from enjoying life, it’s important to talk to your doctor or behavioral health provider for support.

Sanford Health Plan members can schedule virtual behavioral health or primary care / specialty appointments. Learn more.