Call me old fashioned but I’ve always felt there was some truth to that Beatles song “All you need is love”. I’m not a fool to think that food and shelter aren’t also necessary, but the fact of the matter is love can have a huge influence on our health.
Research from Finland seems to confirm what the Beatles have long hypothesized: love makes us warm all over and happy emotions actually help reduce stress and increase longevity!
So what do these types of findings prove and how are they helpful?
Well research on behavioural and the physiological responses to certain emotion can help pave a new understanding of serious mood disorders like anxiety and depression which are known triggers for a whole host of physical illnesses.
This research, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is definitely worth noting.
We all know that the environment in which we live can play a serious part in our mental and physical health, but now it’s our emotional response to these external influences that could be making us sick.
According to a Harvard study from 2006, nearly 10 million adult men in the United States were making themselves physically sick with anger. What’s more, this condition has a name: intermittent explosive disorder.
Those with high levels of anger, spend a lot of energy trying to control it and this can weigh heavily on the power of the immune system in fighting off other serious health conditions.
Similar studies have shown people with increased emotional anger are 3 times more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, 6 times more prone to early heart failure, and 3 times more likely to have a stroke.
Mind over matter rings true when it comes to your health!
You know how some people can be described as “cold’? Well that really does ring true. The color map above indicates the influence of various emotions on the sensations in the body and how happiness can create a warming effect in all areas of the body.
Happiness is associated with sensations of elevated activity in the blood and airways of the body – a direct result of positive changes in breathing and heart rate.
A happy attitude can make a world of difference.
A study out of the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Medicine found a direct correlation between post menopausal women with happy attitudes and increased health and longevity.
100,000 women were tracked over an 8 year term and the results were undeniable. Those that dwelled in pessimism or were known as “cynically hostile” suffered poorer health, were 16% more likely to die from any cause and 23% more likely to die from cancer.
Those numbers don’t lie.
The mind body connection has long been debated but more and more scientific research concludes that a person’s health can be dramatically affected by their mental state alone.
Emotions are not just in response to other people in our lives, but are the tools for handling physical and mental threats and opportunities in our everyday environments. The way that we react is up to us and can even mean the difference between long life or premature death.