Impact on Health

Impact on Health

Emotions that are freely experienced and expressed without judgment or attachment tend to flow fluidly. On the other hand, emotions that are repressed or expressed in unhealthy ways tend to create obstructions in the body, sapping energy and hope.

Therefore, it’s important for people to recognize and identify emotions, and to be aware of their impact—not only on their thoughts, but also on their bodies and behavior. As emotional awareness increases, people find it easier to choose a response.

What happens to the human immune system when people have conditioned negative attitudes?

Chronic stress from negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness upsets endocrine balance and depletes the brain chemicals required for feelings of happiness. New scientific understandings have identified the pathways through which human emotions, such as hope and fear, impact the body’s immune systems and overall vitality, and vice versa (Pert, 1999).

Are people better off when they have positive psychological states?

At the University of Louisville, Kentucky 1,277 adults over age 55 were interviewed. Positive states like gratitude or joy appeared to increase vitality and protect against negative health symptoms. This study found trends that suggested having positive self-esteem helped temper the negative effects of unhappy emotions on a person’s health (Murrell, 2003).

What happens when people learn to forgive?

The attitude of forgiveness can be learned and can lead people to experience better mental, emotional and physical health. In the Stanford Forgiveness Project, 260 adults were trained in forgiveness in a 6-week course (Conference on Forgiveness, 2003).

  • 70% reported a decrease in their feelings of hurt
  • 13% experienced reduced anger
  • 27% experienced fewer physical complaints (for example, pain, gastrointestinal upset, dizziness, etc.)

Is there any relationship between hopelessness and mortality?

In a large Finnish study, people who were hopeless were twice as likely to die sooner (Stamatakis, 2004).

When people are situations which provoke negative emotions, what happens when they hold someone’s hand?

The HealthEmotions Research Institute at the University of Wisconsin is conducting a study on the effect of holding a significant other’s hand when exposed to stimuli that provoke negative emotions. Preliminary results show profound differences in certain biological measures when hand-holding occurred. The more cohesion the couple reported in their relationship, the greater the magnitude of change in biological responsiveness. This study affirms the age-old wisdom that being in the presence of a significant other often helps in coping with adverse events (Davidson, ongoing research).

See bibliography for references