You eat well and exercise regularly, but you don’t feel 100%. This can be very puzzling, especially if bloating ensues after a well-balanced meal or you can’t reach your exercise goals after following a specific routine to a “T.” If this sounds like a familiar situation, it’s very possible that emotional inflammation is the problem.
According to functional medicine experts, anxiety, shame, and past trauma can cause just as much inflammation as a diet rich in highly processed foods. Emotional inflammation refers to a psychological and emotional state of constantly being ridden with anxiety, hyper-vigilant, or on edge. With all that excess cortisol coursing through the body at all times, it’s only a matter of time before you start to experience negative physical side effects. Many of the side effects include tense muscles, elevated heart rate, higher blood pressure, unhealthy cravings, and blood sugar issues.
Now that you know inflammation can result from intense emotional situations, take a look at some common, yet sneaky, causes of inflammation. If your wellness has plateaued within recent days or weeks, the following tips may help you push past that plateau.
Your Social Networks
Poor food choices and lifestyle habits can cause inflammation, but your social media accounts may also be to blame. According to health experts, social inflammation is a very real thing. What you expose yourself to can have a profound impact on your nervous system and inflammatory markers, both of which affect hormones and the endocrine systems. One study found that participants who used social media excessively had higher levels of C-reactive protein, a marker of chronic inflammation. You don’t have to completely avoid social media, but do your best to vet what you follow to make sure that it isn’t harming your health.
Anxiety About Your Health
The beauty of the Internet is that you can find a lot of answers to almost everything. All of this information that’s available at your fingertips can make you very anxious about your health. You may experience a symptom, look up what it means, and then think you have a rare blood disease. In reality, you may just have a minor respiratory issue. The fear and anxiety around health can cause stress to circulate throughout the body. Researchers note that this is called the “nocebo effect,” which involves you constantly thinking about a negative outcome in relation to your health. Basically, you can worry yourself sick! The power of your emotions can affect your physical health, so be mindful of this and try not to fixate too much on health numbers.
It’s very difficult to move forward in life if you store unresolved trauma in your body. Some sources estimate that nearly 70% of adults in the United States have experienced some traumatic event at least once in their lives. The reality is that many people either bottle up these traumas, or simply brush them under the rug. Most people don’t realize how much ignoring this trauma can affect their nervous system and inflammation levels. It’s very easy for someone to say, “Well, people have been through worse things.” Not all trauma comes from catastrophic events or severe tragedies. Trauma can be very subtle, but the accumulation of the emotions surrounding the trauma can impact physical health over time. Learning to heal from trauma can be difficult, but there are ways to help manage it, such as somatic therapy.
When the body is in a constant state of fight-or-flight, reaching your health goals is near impossible. The different organs and systems in the body communicate constantly, so if you are suffering emotionally, the body will feel those effects. Stress is a natural part of life and it can be beneficial, but not when you experience it at all hours of the day. You can experience stress from the most minuscule things to large events. Shame about certain things, like not visiting family or snapping at your partner for no reason, can also cause stress to build up in the body. Managing stress is no easy feat, but try to incorporate stress-relieving exercises, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing, into your everyday life.