Has there ever been a time when you’ve felt listless and mired in sadness? Have you ever felt the pain of being rejected? Is it something that you suffer from when love goes sour?
It’s hard to decide whether being sad really makes you stronger, or if it progressively weakens you little by little.
What is certain is that it can alter the levels of stress in your brain, and this can lead to suffering from various disorders.
Today we want to explain what the physical effects of sadness are.
Physical effects from the brain to the body
When you feel down, the circuits in your brain for physical and emotional pain overlap.
This doesn’t just happen in the areas of your brain that are related to the purely affective component of pain, but also in areas related to your somatic perception.
But why does this happen? It triggers a negative impact on your body, especially on your immune system that can potentially increase your risk of disease, particularly the inflammatory type.
It affects your perception of temperature
Another one of the physical effects of sadness is that it can increase your sensitivity to cold, even while people around you feel warm.
In studies, when a sense of rejection or isolation is invoked, participants estimate the temperature of the room is lower and choose to eat and drink warm products.
This relationship goes beyond the simple feeling. Your body temperature is actually lowered while you’re experiencing sadness.
It affects your appetite
Sadness can also affect your appetite, increasing your risk of weight gain and affecting your blood pressure. The direct result is the appearance of high blood pressure and cardiac problems in the long term.
In addition, it decreases your ability to detect sweet flavors. This is because the number of receptors for sweetness on your tongue is reduced.
For this reason, it’s not uncommon for food to have no taste while you’re going through a time of sadness.
It increases stress
Sadness also affects the hormone known as cortisol. This is important for controlling blood sugar and blood pressure levels, as well as the quality of your sleep.
All of this means that sadness is the most harmful state for your psychological health. It has been linked to:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Liver disease
Depression, in turn, can influence the onset of cancer.
Both stress and depression can bring on disease and even worse.
When you’re extremely sad or stressed, you’ll notice how nothing seems to function properly. Your defenses are down and your risk of falling ill increases considerably.
What’s the solution? It isn’t stress that’s causing problems with your immune system, but rather the perception that you can’t do anything to stop it.
Your brain needs more energy
It might seem unusual to think that your brain is more active when you’re sad. But this happens because, during times of sadness, your brain is working much harder: more than 70 different regions are activated.
How is this possible? It’s easy to understand. When you’re sad you are remembering, thinking, suffering, and looking for reasons, solutions, and alternatives.
There are people who, when faced with these situations, just sleep.
Even then the hippocampus, the front of the brain, and the temporal lobes are active. Remember that your brain uses 20% of all your energy, but during sad times it is working much harder.
This causes an elevated need for glucose to feed your brain. In turn it makes you crave sweets even more.
When you’re sad, your serotonin decreases and that can affect you for the medium and long term. It can even cause:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Violent outbreaks
This neurotransmitter is associated with personal motivation, but you have to be strong and face those moments of introspection in order to find the resources to keep moving forward.
It’s very likely that during this time you’ll visit your doctor because you don’t feel well.
Medical test results will show you that your health is perfect. And it’s true: you’re fine physically, but emotionally—no.
You need to cry
Crying might make you feel better. When you feel sad, your brain builds up too much stress and anxiety, and you need to release that somehow.
Crying is the perfect way to relax and free yourself from everything you feel. After doing so, you’ll begin to secrete endorphins that will make you feel more relaxed.
That’s why it’s important that when you feel the desire to cry, you don’t resist. Let it out and see how much better you feel.
Some people choose other activities that also generate endorphins, such as sex or exercise. These two options also work and they’re not bad for you.
Yes, it’s necessary to cry from time to time.
The physical effects of sadness on your health can be extremely negative. You won’t always feel good, but you can find alternatives to ease those tensions.