How does grief affect lung health?
Have you ever heard that grief, especially long term, unresolved (and maybe even unknown) grief can affect your lung and respiratory health? I learned about this ages ago while doing some courses in Chinese medicine - and at times though, I felt that it didn't apply to me - until I realized it did.
Grief can have various effects on both mental and physical health. When it comes to lung health, intense emotions like grief may lead to physical responses such as shallow breathing, breath-holding, dis-eases like asthma and chronic bronchitis or even just a higher susceptibility of getting lung infections.
Moreover, prolonged grief and stress may contribute to the release of stress hormones, which can affect various body systems, including the respiratory system. Chronic stress has been associated with negative health outcomes, so it's important to address and cope with grief in a healthy way.
Have you ever thought you fully grieved something and healed from it to realize months or even years later for it to come up and all those emotions, the pain and sadness, that you thought you had processed begins to hit you like a ton of bricks? Well, I've been there.
I thought I had fully processed all of the things I was grieving since my move to Italy - not being able to talk to my dad for the first time while living overseas, not being near my family and friends and feeling like I didn't exist to them anymore because I never heard from them unless I reached out first, not being able to do one of my biggest passions and more; however, there were things that I didn't know I still needed to grieve because I had just glossed over them when they happened.
With being vulnerable here, 15 years ago I experienced a loss and with all the things that were going on in my life at the time, I did not acknowledge or even grieve it. Fast forward 8 years, shortly after moving to Italy, and I began to have severe issues with asthma and bronchitis to the point I was always on edge, needing a cabinet full of medications, and going to the emergency room too often for my liking. I never put two and two together until recently when two additional losses that I also hadn't grieved were glaring me in the face.
I began to grieve, fully grieve - and I still am. I realized the only way through it was stepping into what I didn't want to feel or even acknowledge. I have seen an improvement already in my breathing, medication use and my overall health.
Fifteen years is a long time to hold onto grief, without recognizing that it is something that wasn't processed, and is affecting my current health. What are YOU holding onto - known or unknown - that you haven't grieved that is affecting your health? There are many ways to support this and the grieving process...and I am here to support you through it in any way that I can.
If you're interested in connecting, feel free to respond to this email or click the button below and let's link up because support is one of the most foundational things we can have when we grieve and even better when another person can empathize with us.
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Yours in wellness,
MSNIH, LDN, CNS, CMT
Knead Total Wellness
Eating for and Living in Total Wellness
Host of Breathe Easy, Breathe Well Virtual Summit