Negative emotions found to increase inflammation, study reveals
(NaturalHealth365) We’ve all heard about the link between chronic stress and poor physical health. But, now, research out of Pennsylvania State University in State College has found a direct correlation between negative emotions and increased inflammation in the body.
Simply put, these negative emotions – over time – place a tremendous burden on our immune system and increase the risk of many serious health problems.
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Inflammation is a process within the body that is a natural response to injury, illness or infection. High or chronic levels of inflammation are associated with a higher risk of a range of health conditions including arthritis, fibromyalgia, diabetes and many others.
How (exactly) do negative emotions hurt the body?
The data for this new study was collected using a two-tiered approach.
Subjects completed questionnaires recording their feelings and mood both in the moment and over time. The assessments were conducted over a two week period, allowing the researchers to map the study participants’ emotional profiles.
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During this time, their immune system responses were also assessed. This was accomplished through testing blood samples for common markers of internal inflammation.
The researchers determined that people who experienced negative emotions or bad moods several times throughout the day for extended periods had consistently higher inflammation biomarkers. When their blood was tested right after a negative emotion had been experienced, levels of inflammation were the highest.
Conversely, positive emotions and moods were associated with lowered levels of inflammation, even if these feelings were only experienced for a short period of time. The study results were published in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
Undeniable truth: Managing stress and negative emotions is crucial to health
Chronic stress and negative emotions are already a known health risk. A negative mood and outlook can compromise the immune system, impair cells at the DNA level and exacerbate chronic illness. Stress can also affect memory and increase the risk of health crises such as a heart attack or stroke.
The study results bring new evidence affirming the importance of mood, emotions and outlook to physical health. They also underscore the importance of managing stress levels and finding ways to minimize its effects.
By the way, the study participants were from a wide range of racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds – so the results are representative of a diverse society. That said, the researchers admit further research on negative emotions (and their impact on us) is warranted to learn more.
No doubt, the researchers are hoping that these results inspire medical professionals to encourage their patients to manage their stress and maximize positive emotional states in their daily lives.
Take action today: Manage chronic stress with diet, exercise and self care
What works for improving mood and outlook can vary from one individual to the next. But, of course, regular physical activity and a nutritious diet – rich in organic fruits and vegetables – are cornerstones of physical and emotional health.
Other effective techniques for stress management include deep breathing, yoga, hot baths, getting a massage, meditation and a daily spiritual practice. Owning a pet, spending time in nature and expressing daily gratitude can also greatly improve your outlook on life.
Sources for this article include:
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