Emotional Suppression Can Take Years Off Your Life

01/04/2013

 

Brand X Pictures
Brand X Pictures
Let it all out!

Or so says a new study from the University of Jena in Germany. Expressing your anger rather than suppressing it adds an average of two years to to your life. 

Exhibiting self restraint and holding back emotions, specifically negative ones, is hard on both your physical and emotional health.

Head researchers Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte followed 6,000 individuals and found that those who suppressed their negative emotions had an elevated pulse. Researchers say that overtime that elevated pulse results in higher blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and kidney damage, according to Medical Daily

Repressors 

Published in the journal Health Psychology, those that withheld emotion were called repressors.  

"They avoid risks and always seek a high level of control over themselves and their surroundings," Marcus Mund said, reported on Medical Daily. "For instance, when exposed to a stressful task they exhibit a higher heart rate and pulse ratio than non-repressors and show other objective signs of stress and anxiety."

But repressors also have higher recovery rates from a host of illnesses because they are more disciplined. 

"Because of their need for control, repressors are very disciplined and more motivated to adapt their lifestyles," Mund explained, reported on Medical Daily.

Emotional Constriction

Holding emotions in makes us feel constricted and that need to control can have a long term impact on your health. Individuals that release emotion in a constructive, rational way are able to learn from what hurt them, while others turn inward in a self destructive manner. 

According to health guru Deepak Chopra, if anger is not released it can cause emotional toxicity, hostility, and anxiety. 

As a further complication, if you don’t know how to deal with feelings of anger and fear, you're likely to turn them inward at yourself, believing, “It’s all my fault.” That guilt depletes our physical, emotional and spiritual energy until any initiative or movement feels impossible. We feel exhausted and paralyzed, leading to depression.

So have no fear and let your truth shine for a brighter healthier future.

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Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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