Suppressed Negative Emotions Ruin your Health - Express Yourself & Feel Better

by Pankaj Kotak, M.Sc., N.D.

You may not know this, but your emotions have a far greater impact on your health than your food or environment. Negative emotions are highly toxic for your health, especially if they are kept suppressed.

Emotions such as anger, rage, fear, guilt, grief, feelings of failure and inadequacy tend to have a negative impact on the immune system. Dr. Andrew Baum, professor of psychology at the University of Texas at Arlington, has done extensive research on the relationship between the mind and the immune system. He has found that people who express feelings of rage and fear suffer much less stress and psychological problems than those who suppress their feelings. High amounts of stress and psychological problems depress the immune system

In 1962, researcher D.M Kissen did a psychological study of industrial workers. He found that those workers who became cancer victims suffered from denial and repression of their emotions. When measured by personality tests used to gauge neuroticism, these people had poor outlets for emotional discharge.

In 1975, researcher Greer studied the psychology of women who develop breast cancer. He found that these women experienced inappropriate handling of anger, mostly by suppression, but also by extreme expression of it.

Leonard Derogatis and Martin Abeloff, At John Hopkins Medical School, studied 35 women with breast cancer and found that those who lived longer were much expressive in their anger, fear, guilt and depression as compared to those women who suppressed their emotions.

Above research clearly shows that when people conceal their real feelings, they develop serious health problems. Repression of feelings causes psychological conditions that can lead to a rapid development of disease.

Nicholas Rogentine found that cancer patients who lived in denial by minimizing the significance of their illness suffered relapse of their cancer. This shows that accepting your current situation and being honest about it helps in improving your psychological, and therefore, physical health.

On the other hand, those who are more expressive tend to be healthier and happier. Emotional honesty not only improves health, but also helps the person in receiving better quality of care from family and healthcare providers.

  1. Baum A., et al. Cambridge Handbook of Psychology, Health and Medicine. 2007.
  2. Kissen DM., et al. Personality in male lung cancer patients. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 1962;6:123-127.
  3. Greer S., et al. Psychological attributes of women who develop breast cancer. A controlled study. Journal of Psychosomatic Research. 1975;19:147-152.
  4. Derogatis LR., et al. Psychological coping mechanisms and length of survival in advanced breast cancer, abstracted. Proc.AACR ASCO. 1978;19:340.
  5. Rogentine NG., et al. Psychological factors in the prognosis of malignant melanoma: A prospective study. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1979;41:647-655.

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