News Flash: How You Feel Affects Health

It’s Quite Logical If You Think About It, So Please Do

Happy-DepP 200There are plenty of scientists talking about the findings that show your thoughts and perceptions about life are related to your health.  And I’ve even seen studies that show that an argument before surgery can even slow down healing.

When you experience feelings like forgiveness, compassion, appreciation, you feel happy or at peace and so does your body. That is much different than what it feels like when you’re telling yourself you will never forgive someone as you think about what they have done. You feel things tighten and close in and it gets worse the angrier you get about it.

Think about what happens when you argue or feel like you can’t forgive someone. All of the systems of your body shift into aman-wn-DP-250 mode of protection.  We operate on the same systems that our ancestors did when they faced life or death situations every day.  Their brain was always on stand-by, ready to shut down every cell that wasn’t vital to survival.

Your emotions, whether from an actual situation or just a conversation you’re having in your head with yourself, cause the same fight or flight reactions.  Your body goes on alert and your health suffers.

There is no end to the studies I can and will share on this subject because it is near and dear to my heart. But here are a few that seem to confirm that feelings matter.

“Gratitude is a positive mood. It’s about other people,” said study lead author Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology and neuroscience in Baylor’s College of Arts and Sciences. “Previous research that we and others have done finds that people are motivated to help people that help them — and to help others as well. We’re social creatures, and so focusing on others in a positive way is good for our health.”

And the following is from an article on Psychology Today’s website.

The author, Douglas LaBier Ph.D, writes:

Here are some other new findings that add to this picture. All have implications for our emotional attitudes, our mental perspectives our physical health and our behavior through life.


And later in the article he writes of the findings about those with cynical attitudes.  He shows these studies:

It’s been known from previous research that cynical attitudes are associated with other health problems, such as a higher rate of coronary heart disease (link is external), cardiovascular  (link is external)problems and cancer-related death. But this was the first study to look at the relationship between cynicism and dementia. Tolppanen noted  (link is external)that “We have seen some studies that show people who are more open and optimistic have a lower risk for dementia so we thought this was a good question to ask. These results add to the evidence that people’s view on life and personality may have an impact on their health.”

And here he talks about the health risks associated with arguing

The study, published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (link is external), found that constant conflict with anyone in the subjects’ social circle was associated with a 2-3 times the risk of death from all causes, compared with those who said frequent conflict in their social circles was scarce.

Researchers studied nearly 10,000 men and women between 36 and 52 years who were a part of the Danish Longitudinal Study on Work, Unemployment and Health. Participants were questioned on their social relationships in everyday life, including sources of conflict and how often these situations arose. Using data from the Danish Cause of Death Registry, the researchers tracked the health of the participants between 2000 and 2011.

Article author, Douglas LaBier Ph.D says that this is his takeway:

I think studies like the above — which are steadily accumulating —  illustrate the significant, system-wide impact our emotional attitudes and perspectives about life have upon our entire being. That includes attitudes and perspectives that we consciously create and shape; or that take root from our unexamined, unresolved life conflicts….


Source of quote from Jo-Ann Tsang, Ph.D about gratitude: Baylor University Article

Source of quotes from Douglas LaBier Ph.D: Psychology Today’s website


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