Are Your Emotions Making You Sick?

Are Your Emotions Making You Sick?

In This Article

Do you find yourself holding onto old or destructive mental patterns?

freedom kid bird trauma cleanse

According to Ayurveda, toxic emotions, known as mental ama, are created as a means of self-preservation. Such tendencies can create destructive behavioral patterns that can linger for a lifetime. But you do not have to let your past control your present! 

According to Ayurveda these destructive behavior patterns are first felt in the heart or sadhaka pitta. Then, they are carried to the brain for memory storage by prana vata and finally written into the white matter of the brain called tarpaka kapha. The memories of a trauma are recorded to protect you from future trauma. Unraveling these old stored emotional traumas (or mental ama) is a primary goal of Ayurveda, which is why I write so much on this subject. 

Most of us spend years trying to change our minds and free ourselves from emotional pain, oftentimes with little success. The reason changing the mind is so difficult is because these emotions have actually taken up permanent residence in the cells—not just in the mind, but all over the body! 

To break out of old destructive patterns of behavior, you must dig these emotions out of the body on a cellular level. Research at the National Institute of Health has now proven the existence of mental ama, in the form of chemicals trapped deep in our cells.  

Read on to find out how to root out old emotional pain! 

We recommend "Cleanse Emotional Trauma with Ayurveda":

How Do Emotions Get Stored? 

We often judge our uncomfortable emotions as “bad,” and we do our best to express only the positive sentiments. We then pass these ideas onto our children. Pent-up childhood emotions like anger, jealousy, and grief often get repressed because children may not feel safe expressing them.  

moody kid childhood anger jealousy grief

These feelings, never fully unpacked, store deep within the cells as “molecules of emotion,” a term coined by renowned researcher Candace Pert.1 According to Pert’s research, these repressed emotions alter the flow of the body’s information network, compromising immunity, mood, and energy. Pent-up emotions also block blood flow to parts of the brain, says Pert,1 since this blood flow is regulated by small information-carrying peptides. The information these peptides carry is often emotional. 

The Cortisol Connection 

Any type of trauma, whether physical or emotional, will surge cortisol into the blood from the adrenals. If the trauma is repeated or chronic, as it often is with emotional stress, the receptors for handling this stress become overwhelmed. The receptors break down, and thus fail to send feedback to the brain to turn stress hormones off!4 

As a result, stress hormones rise to dangerous levels. In one study, cortisol was tenfold higher in severely stressed or traumatized individuals’ brains compared to those not stressed or traumatized.1, 5 Excess cortisol has been linked to many health concerns. 

Decreased Blood Flow = Mental Fogginess + Poor Decision-Making 

We all know that people become white as a ghost when they are frightened and red as a beet when angered. But research has shown that if this emotional charge is repressed, blood flow can become chronically constricted.1 This is because blood flow to the brain is regulated by these emotional peptides. 

blood flow

Repressing your emotions can shut down blood flow to the frontal lobes, where most of the emotional peptides are found. This lack of blood flow to the frontal lobes, as well as other parts of the body, can affect mental clarity, judgement, and ability to handle future stress. 

A Vicious Cycle 

When emotions are felt and not expressed, they can block the flow of chemical information through the cellular receptors. When these information systems break down, traumatic molecules of emotion cannot be released or processed. This blocks the free flow of hormones, neurotransmitters, and other information-carrying chemicals found in the immune and endocrine systems. 

Rooting Out Old Emotions 

Based on this research, the only bad emotion is the one not expressed. Does that mean we should scream and yell while throwing pots and pans? While that might help, it will not completely solve our problem. 

That’s because anger is rarely a core emotion—it typically is a reaction to a deeper underlying issue. This is why Ayurveda prescribes a process of critical self-analysis to root out the underlying issue. 

Cuddle the Pain Away! 

One way to start unraveling these stored emotions is with touch! In one study, a group of monkeys were raised without the natural nursing, cuddling, and touch of their mothers. Not surprisingly, they all showed signs of trauma and low mood. 

When researchers brought in what they called a “monkey hug therapist,” the monkeys seemed to brighten. This therapist constantly held and cuddled with the baby monkeys that were showing signs of stress.2, 3 

Lemurs hugging

SimilarlyDr. Pert has discovered the value of touch therapies to gain access to these emotional issues. Dr. Pert found that the entry points for repairing these emotionally-damaged receptors are found in the skin, spine, and organs. This is why hugs, cuddling, and massage are so therapeutic. The spine is accessed most directly through massage, chiropractic, or craniosacral therapies. 

Throughout Dr. Pert’s research, she makes constant reference to “touch therapies” as a critical piece of the emotional repair puzzle. She also discusses meditation, breathing, diet, yoga, exercise, and many other modalities. 

Ayurvedic Touch Therapy 


Perhaps the most popular and effective touch therapy in Ayurveda is a daily self-massage called abhyanga. This can be a quick oil massage in the shower, or a more elaborate and classical daily Ayurvedic massage.  

Remember, Ayurveda exists to help balance the body, increase mental clarity, and free oneself from old, repressed, and harmful emotions. It is the key to unlocking both perfect health and spiritual well-being. 

We recommend "Oxytocin, the More You Give, the More You Get":

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Dr. John


  1. Pert, C. Molecules of Emotion. 1997 Simon and Schuster

4 thoughts on “Are Your Emotions Making You Sick?”

  1. It is really interesting to know that your emotions can make you sick. Staying emotionally healthy really is so important to your own overall health. Luckily, there are so many resources out there to provide you with the help that you need. Make sure to find a resource that works best for you.

  2. Physical contact on the time of Covid-19 is limited or unavailable for a lot of people in the time of Covid-19.

  3. A beautifully powerful explanation of just how intensely our buried emotions if not expressed go deep into the cellular level throughout our bodies and my goodness to think how it alters and limits blood flow to important and essential parts of our brain thus limiting our daily potential for expressing all who we are. An amazingly great read. Well done.

    Dr. Rosemary Crandell


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