Physiology

Strong emotions have significant impact on our health. Negative emotions and toxic relationships are strongly correlated with chronic diseases. The ones who learned to manage their emotional lives calmly and mindfully are on the path of living more healthy lives.

By properly managing our emotional lives, we can not only cure decease, but prevent it from occurring at the first place.

We all know know how important strong immune system for our well-being. It defends us against viruses, bacteria and cancer. There is been shown a strong link between the central nervous and immune systems as well as correlation between stress and its harmful impact on our immune resistance.

Toxic Emotions

No doubts, emotions impact out bodies physically. A lot of surgeons report that if the person scheduled for surgery, comes to the procedure panicked and scared that day, they bleed much more than people who came in calm. Anxiety and panic increases the blood pressure, causing serious complications during the surgery. People who experience chronic anxiety, long periods of sadness and pessimism, hostilities, suspiciousness – are in the risk of doubling such disease as: asthma, arthritis, headaches, heart disease. Smoking and eating fast food equally decrease your chances of living a long healthy life. Therefore being a pessimist is no better that being a smoker.

Anxiety

One of the most harmful emotions for your body. The right amount of anxiety can help us to prepare for upcoming danger, however when if becomes chronic, it ramps up the stress levels causing medical problems. Anxiety weaken the immune system, making you more susceptible to catching such viruses as flu or herpes. Studies has shown that people who rated their stress levels moderate or high, were 47% more likely to get sick – direct evidence that stress and anxiety weakens the immune system. In additions to lowered immune response, anxiety harms the cardiovascular system, making people more susceptible to heart disease.

Depression

As mentioned before, depression harms your body. In a study of 100 patients who had their bone marrow transplanted, 12 of the 13 who were depressed died within the first year of the surgery. 34 of the remaining 87 were still alive two years later. Also, in patients with kidney failure, those who were diagnosed with serious depression were most likely to die within two years. Therefore depression impede medical recovery and dramatically increases the risk of death. Depression predicts how long we live.

It’s clear that anger, anxiety, chronic stress and depression shorten our lives. Optimism on another hand, can not only speed up the recovery from a major surgery, but also reverse certain medical conditions. 122 men who had their first heart attack, were evaluated on wether they were more of an optimists or pessimists. After 8 years, 21 men out of 25 most pessimistic ones had died vs 6 out of 25 most optimistic. One way to explain such positive impact of optimism on our bodies is that pessimism essentially leads to depression, which lowers the immune system, greatly reducing our chances to fight disease.

Value of Relationships

Social isolation – a sense that you have no one to share your private feelings with or have a close connection – double the chances of sickness and death. Just let it sink in, feeling lonely, lost and isolated kills you at the same speed as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and lack of exercise. In fact, smoking has less negative impact than social isolation. In the study of a 100 bone marrow transplant patients, the ones that felt they had support from their friends and family, had 54% more chance of surviving than people who were left alone. Another study, that was done on 752 middle-age Swedish men, who were born in 1933 went through a free medical exam, then retested seven years later. 41 of them had died. The others who reported highly stressful lives and lack of emotional support had 3 times greater chances of mortality in the following years. Men who reported having meaningful connections in their lives – wife, close friends – showed no correlation between high stress and death rate. By simply having someone to talk to, to ask for help or advice, protected them from life’s trauma and deadly effect of stress.

Stressful life events are associated with high mortality in middle aged men. Men with adequate emotional support seem to be protected.

Rosengren, A (1993, October 30)

By learning basic emotional intelligence skills and how to manage upsetting feelings – anger, anxiety, depression, pessimism, social isolation and loneliness – we get the power to prevent disease. If you are facing a medical condition and battling disease, it is crucial to keep the positive attitude and have emotional support from close friends and family, as in some cases it predicts you live or die.

References:

Rosengren, A., Orth-Gomér, K., Wedel, H., & Wilhelmsen, L. (1993, October 30). Stressful life events, social support, and mortality in men born in 1933. Retrieved December 25, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8251807