The Emotion of Health

One of the things that surprises me in life is how much hurt and suffering we unleash on ourselves. It sounds crazy, and it really is, but there are lots of us who are suckers for punishment. We choose to be miserable, choose to be unhappy and do nothing about it. There has been a lot of talk and research over the past couple of decades about exactly how we get sick or where diseases come from. There are some really obvious answers to that question like the child with developmental disabilities whose mother smoked crack while pregnant or the viruses and bacteria we can see under a microscope slide as causes of illnesses. We know a lot about what goes on in our bodies when we get sick or have a disease, but the actual cause is something that has been under more study of late.

The question that has been raised over and over is: can something like anger, hatred, stress, depression, fear or sadness cause these illnesses and diseases? Lots of people have come to the conclusion that they can. There’s also really good evidence that much of the reason we’re sick or overweight has to do with the foods we eat, but that’s a discussion for another time. Today I want to focus on the possibility that what you’re feeling is causing the illnesses and diseases you face. Like the mom who gets cancer after her son dies because she struggles so with her grief, or the executive who develops ulcers because he’s so stressed about his job. In these cases it’s an illness or disease indicating that something is wrong: and it’s not necessarily a biological thing, it’s an emotional thing.

When we choose to bottle up all the negativity and stress within us we’re like a well shaken can of soda: when opened immediately after shaking it explodes everywhere (and sometimes before opening if the pressure is too much). Why we don’t think that the pressure inside our minds and bodies has an equal impact on us, I don’t know. But how many times have you been really angry about something and going over and over it only to realize that the more you think about it the worse you feel physically or emotionally, maybe even sick to your stomach over the situation?

The fact is emotion isn’t just a bunch of words or an intangible feeling: it’s something that has very physical implications. Unfortunately if we really let the negative emotions take hold in our life we can become so wrapped up in them that we start to ignore the physical indications that the negative thoughts are hurting us and just try to keep going. Sooner or later it will catch up with us, whether with premature death or other long-term consequences. Choose today to not let negative emotions rule your life anymore, release them, forgive yourself for holding onto them and move on.

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain

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