Biology and Emotion

This week in group we are attending the importance of biological well-being and emotion. Biological well being is sometimes overlooked or minimized in the general context of what helps us to control emotions. However, if you skip lunch, haven’t had enough sleep the night before, and are physically ill, you may be more prone to irritability and other negative emotions.

Taking care of your biological well-being includes getting adequate and nourishing meals, getting enough rest, and exercising. Some of this may seem basic and mundane, but we have probably all struggled with starting, keeping, or maintaining a regular exercise routine; changing dietary habits, and balancing structured demands on our time with down time.

Someone tipped me off some time ago to the website: Joe’s goals are “habit tracking”, which means that you can make your own calendar of goals and check off tasks when you do them. Kind of fun for those of you who like to monitor concrete achievements. This could be a jumpstart to identifying relationships between biology and emotion. For instance, you could track days in which you have a very difficult time emotionally- and then track days in which you are adequately rested and have balanced your eating. Other biological vulnerabilities that can certain affect mood may include having or not having caffeine, quitting smoking, changes in medication, or one’s menstrual cycle.

While the medical field is sometimes criticized for paying too much attention to the ways in which biology affects mood (ie, take medication), the mental health field is sometimes criticized for not paying enough attention to it (focusing on thoughts and feelings). Sometimes it can be helpful to figure out what biological aspects we can control in order to take care of our emotions.