Mental health specialists have said for a longtime that a healthy mind means you have a healthy body. Negative emotions, stress and anxiety (whether it is temporary or long term) can have a harmful effect on your body. This is what the results of a recent American study by Professor Jennifer Graham-Engeland have shown.
Your emotions and your body
Emotions are experiences felt both by your body and by your mind. When an emotion can be felt by your body it is a psycho-physical experience. From this perspective, many mental health specialists have come forward to express the link between emotional experiences and their expressions on your body.
However, it is difficult to identify such a link in a strict medical sense. This concept in now being scientifically studied after being looked down upon for a long time.
An innovative study
How was the study carried out
Professor Graham-Engeland’s study is innovative in many ways. The aim of the study was to show the impact of negative and positive emotions on the workings of immunity responses.
In order to do this a team of researchers collected information about 220 people for two weeks. The collection of results was carried out on two levels:
- An evaluation of feelings and emotions over time;
- Blood samples so as to determine their immunity responses by researching inflammatory markers (cytokine and reactive protein C) When more of these markers are present, the person will be more susceptible to developing a somatic illness.
Researchers discovered that the people with a higher rate of inflammatory markers also displayed negative emotions several times per day. These results were also true if the blood sample is taken a longtime after having felt a negative emotion.
It is a reminder of the effects can impact our body over an extended period of time. There will be more of a negative impact on the body the longer a negative emotion is felt. In cases of depression or chronic anxiety, the harmful effects on the body can be more significant.
Researchers have also showed that feeling a positive emotion before the blood sample was taken reduced the rate of inflammatory markers for men.
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Body and mind dilemma
Professionals convinced there is a link between your body and your mind will be delighted about this new study. In fact research studies like this one are quite rare. Often they are are only descriptive or based on research studies or old tests.
Psychosomaticists like Pierre Marty have always believed that there is a link between our body and mind. Others have also examined the impact of stress on physical and mental health, like Professor Jean-Benjamin Stora.
We can only hope that more research like this project is carried out. Authors of the study hope that their results “will encourage new research projects that will help to understand the link between the cause and the inflammation which could require innovative pyschosocial intervention.”