Any serious scientist will be familiar with the assertion that stress causes immune-compromise. A recent study by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health has finally put this long-held knowledge into perspective, deciphering that those who bottle up their feelings have a cardiovascular disease risk of 140 per cent and a risk of cancer of 170 per cent when compared to individuals who share how they feel. Overall, the risk of premature death for those who keep their negative feelings to themselves is around 135 per cent that of individuals unafraid to speak their minds. When framed in this way, the dangers of suppressing emotions are hard to ignore, but how exactly does bottling up your emotions lead to real and tangible damage to the body? The article below will explore the molecular and physiological mechanisms behind this startling array of statistics, and provide some helpful tips to managing your rage, and keeping your body healthy!
When the body is coping with a stress response, such as un-vented anger or pent-up rage, a hormone known as Cortisol is released. Cortisol is a hormone of critical importance to humans, but it also has some unwanted effects in individuals experiencing high levels of stress. Cortisol is a steroid hormone, specifically a glucocorticoid, meaning that it is capable of suppressing the immune system’s response to damage or invading pathogens. This unfortunate effect means that individuals who have a higher than normal stress level, and thus a raised Cortisol level, will have under-effective immune systems, not only opening the floodgates to any nasty bugs that may wish to make your body their home, but also preventing a complete response from being carried out towards invaders from within – cancer cells. Every day, the immune system destroys a cell that would otherwise have become cancerous, so it’s easy to see how quickly things can go wrong when this response is working below optimum levels.All is not lost, though. Studies have shown that releasing anger actually increases blood flow to those parts of the brain responsible for pleasure and reward, thus making taking out your frustration a ‘feel good’ experience. However, there are those of us for whom releasing anger at every turn can very quickly end both friendships and careers.
Perhaps a change in outlook is the answer? Conditioning your brain to be more optimistic about everyday situations and into overlooking the minor foibles of others can quite literally be a lifesaver. The statistics speak for themselves, and lend credence to the thought that optimistic people really do live longer than their pessimistic, stressed out counterparts.
Speaking of which, we are about to launch www.tantrumworld.com – a whole new approach to releasing your anger whilst becoming healthier. So, why not try to LET RIP whilst GETTING FIT?