Basic emotions such as resentment, fear, anger, grief, and others are part of our normal response to everyday experiences. Generally these emotional responses dissipate as the situation that triggers them resolves. For example, if you encounter a growling dog while you’re walking down the street, you may feel fear. The fear, in this case, is part of the healthy emotional response that protects your survival, and it will normally dissipate when the threat is gone. However, sometimes there are factors that prevent the body from recovering from what was originally a healthy response. The result is a short–circuit or “glitch” in the nervous system, which can affect physical and mental well-being.
Scientists recognize the connection between the nervous system, emotions, and health. Historically, emotions were thought to reside entirely in the brain. Now we know that emotions chemically affect the body on almost every level. If you’ve ever felt butterflies in your stomach when you’ve been anxious or a heaviness in your chest when you were sad, then you know first-hand how emotions can affect the body. Moreover, studies have shown that stress and emotional distress can make us vulnerable to illness.