How Emotions Influence Physical Health

You may know JP Spears as the outspoken redhead comedian with several viral videos, like “How to Become Gluten Intolerant.” Before JP began showing up on our social media feeds, he was a wellness coach and instructor at the CHEK Institute for seven years. His specialty was emotional healing coaching—helping people with emotional healing work, nutrition coaching, and exercise coaching.

The Stark team had the chance to chat with Sears about the importance of emotional health. Here’s why you should begin prioritizing your emotional health so you can live a well-rounded, healthy life:

the headshot of JP Sears, featuring his trademark red hair and a soft smile

Physical Health and Emotional Health are Connected

The World Health Organization defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Our psychological state and emotions can have a dramatic impact on our physical body—for better or worse. You won’t be capable of physically performing at your best if you allow your emotional and mental health to fall by the wayside. Here are three ways emotional and mental health are connected to physical health, According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, emotional health and physical health are so well intertwined that people with serious mental health conditions are at a higher risk of chronic physical conditions, and people with chronic physical conditions are at risk of developing poor mental health.

a graphic showing human physiology under the surface of our skin, such as bones, organs, and nerves

Sears says, “I think we do ourselves a disservice when we separate aspects of the body into different systems—like the hormonal, endocrine, digestive, muscle, skeletal, and psychological systems. When we realize there’s really no true place where our emotions end and physical begins and vice versa, that respect for the whole serves us well.”

Listening to Your Body’s Wisdom

Sears emphasizes the importance of listening to your body’s wisdom to understand what it needs. He says, “I think we’re serving ourselves well when we treat and feed ourselves in accordance with the wisdom of our body and what it calls for.”

He continues, “I think an interesting thing about human beings is maybe the idea that the only thing that never changes about us is that there’s something always changing. As far as eating strategies, I think what serves us well right now might not serve us well the next month, year, or decade. When we become very religious about a habit, we’re willing to die for the cause. That goes against the very definition of health. It’s important to be really unattached about what works well for us. What feeds us well isn’t dictated by what we think feeds us well or what we want to be the right eating plan for us; the body’s wisdom dictates that. If we can become present, humble students who realize that what will feed us well might change, I think we’re in good hands.”

How Do You Listen to Your Body’s Wisdom?

Sears has a quick checklist that will connect you with your body’s wisdom: a general sense of feeling balanced, good emotional well-being, good physical energy, healthy digestion, and mental clarity. Do your workouts, eating habits, and lifestyle choices make your body feel good in these specific areas? The body provides these useful feedback loops to help us dictate whether our choices work well for us.

a grid with each square featuring a different facial expression, conveying a variety of emotions such as sadness, surprise, joy, and boredom

According to Sears, the wisdom of our body communicates through the “sophisticated language of feelings.” When you go deep into your emotions and work on bettering your emotional health, you’ll feel more revitalized than ever before.

You’re not performing at your best if you’re not prioritizing your emotional and mental health. Ready to start bettering your physical health by improving your emotional health? Try journaling, meditation, yoga, or visiting a licensed mental health professional to begin performing at your best in every way!