8

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How big of a role do you think emotions play in PHYSICAL health?

Asked on January 11, 2015
Created June 22, 2012 at 10:45 PM

I was watching a show and long story short, this 50 year old man had his 3rd heart attack after he found out his daughter racked up the equivalent of $8000 in debt in a very short period of time and he had to sell some property he worked on for years to pay off her debts. The property was very dear to him and he spent a great deal of time tending to it. Could just be a coincidence but it's very peculiar.

Personal anecdote: After my aunt got divorced, her hair started falling out in clumps.

I'm sure you've all heard stories like this, or maybe you've experienced something like this, of someone's anxiety and negativity in their lives making them physically ill. It seems to me that emotions play a very significant role in the pathology of certain conditions. More than we give them credit for. Certainly a bigger role than just "oh my cortisol levels are a bit high."

It's also a bit of a conundrum since eating healthy means your mood will be better, you'll be able to deal with stress better and the effects of stress/environmental factors would perhaps be lessened but it's impossible to reach a state of health where one is impervious to negative emotions.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Good luck with your cancer, sweetie, we're rooting for you!

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I would think that most married couples live only a few years in the wild! :P

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 23, 2012
at 12:38 PM

Great link. Thanks!

Cdc21bedc8c5ff5c90a9dc0ea117208b

on June 23, 2012
at 04:49 AM

Very good point! I didn't even think of that, oops.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:20 AM

Remember the gut is "the second brain." LOADED with nerve cells. (The enteric nervous system.) It makes *perfect sense* that when you have something psychological going on (depression, anxiety), it can make your insides go wonky. Why do you think they call nerves "butterflies in the stomach?" ;-) And then again, sometimes I think it works the other way around, too -- a poorly functioning digestive system can *make* you depressed, anxious, moody, etc. IBS-related issues seem to be closely linked to stress and anxiety, especially when people have bad flare-ups.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:16 AM

You would EAT UP the book *Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers* by Robert Sapolsky. He talks about the exact thing you're asking here. (And then some!) YESYESYES: "Emotions play a significant role in the pathology of certain conditions. More than we give them credit for."

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 22, 2012
at 11:20 PM

I've heard of that book before. I'll definitely check and see if the library has it.

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6 Answers

Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 23, 2012
at 12:38 PM

Great link. Thanks!

2
03a4ec34751186201a56da298ac843ce

on June 22, 2012
at 10:53 PM

A lot. After I was diagnosed with cancer (and I had a very bad attitude about it) my father came to visit about 2 weeks later. I didn't even recognize him and one of my biggest worries is that my diagnosis will kill him. He is in his 70 s and eats okay and exercises, but always looks good and feels good. I was shocked when I saw him. He looked horrible. He had lost all his energy and vitality.

Flash forward 9 weeks. I had a good PET scan indicating the chemo is working and within a week my father is getting back to normal.

On the scientific side, emotion and mood = chemicals and hormones released into the blood stream. I have read that some people won't eat animals that live and were killed in a stressful way becuase all the adrenaline and other chemicals secreted effects the meat.

26b0f1261d1a0d916825bd0deeb96a21

(5798)

on September 07, 2013
at 01:28 AM

Good luck with your cancer, sweetie, we're rooting for you!

1
2e1e0c0865edb9cfb9f8391f2877a965

on June 23, 2012
at 05:01 AM

The study of psychoneuroimmunology suggest that there is a correlation between emotions and health. That there is even a field of study suggests that it is more than just correlation, but it is not 100% clear. You can read more on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoneuroimmunology

ie

Feeling socially rejected will increase inflammation: http://www.pnas.org/content/107/33/14817

1
Cdc21bedc8c5ff5c90a9dc0ea117208b

on June 22, 2012
at 11:23 PM

Yep, I think they play a big role.

Not sure if this is quite answering the question of health, exactly, but... anecdote: when I am depressed (or anxious), everything hurts, I have stomachaches, headaches, backaches, and I look run-down. I noticed this in other people, too, when they experience negative emotions, they simply don't look as healthy, they look more like they're in pain (presumably because they are in pain).

And I'm sure I've read that stress, anxiety and depression can cause health problems, though I'm not clear on whether or not that is a correlation where someone who is depressed is simply not taking proper care of their self, or if the stress itself causes the problems. Either way I don't imagine it's good for physical well-being.

Cdc21bedc8c5ff5c90a9dc0ea117208b

on June 23, 2012
at 04:49 AM

Very good point! I didn't even think of that, oops.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:20 AM

Remember the gut is "the second brain." LOADED with nerve cells. (The enteric nervous system.) It makes *perfect sense* that when you have something psychological going on (depression, anxiety), it can make your insides go wonky. Why do you think they call nerves "butterflies in the stomach?" ;-) And then again, sometimes I think it works the other way around, too -- a poorly functioning digestive system can *make* you depressed, anxious, moody, etc. IBS-related issues seem to be closely linked to stress and anxiety, especially when people have bad flare-ups.

1
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on June 22, 2012
at 10:54 PM

HUGE. Any long-standing emotional imbalance/stress that raises cortisol & taxes your adrenals is going to have a physical impact.

That's why I combine EFT with nutrition coaching in my pregnancy coaching practice.

Worth reading: The Molecules of Emotion by Candace Pert

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 22, 2012
at 11:20 PM

I've heard of that book before. I'll definitely check and see if the library has it.

0
Bb3d1772b28c02da2426e40dfcb533f5

(5381)

on June 23, 2012
at 12:32 PM

I beleive, though dont quote me, that 90% of people misdiagnosed with cancer die.

Though I am certain that married people live longer than singles according to studies. And people with group support, and philosophical adjustments survive cancer longer on average that those who dont.

Emotions are huge, they are part of our natural health needs.

Nobody is immune to emotions though, tho we can have inner skills and thought systems/worldveiw that can make it easier.

Then again we are also social animals. Human support and community is totally fundamental.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on June 23, 2012
at 04:37 PM

I would think that most married couples live only a few years in the wild! :P

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