This is an interesting question. It is a well-known fact that consistent stress can and will make you sick. Everything from weight gain to heart attacks can be blamed on long-term, consistent stress. However, can other emotions also make you sick? A study by Dr. Gabor Mate shows that bottling up emotions can and do make you ill later in life. As children we learn what acceptable emotional behavior is, and what is not. Once learned we tend to continue with our emotional life in the same way as adults. This is when we can become ill. http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/how-your-emotions-could-be-making-you-sick?akid=13953.302291.wv-Yl7&rd=1&src=newsletter1050268&t=8
Stress releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. If the emotions, anger or fear are not dealt with, the body retains these hormones and they in turn can stop digestion and suppress our immune systems, leaving us susceptible to illness.
Dr. Mate talks about how our society’s mores against “taking time off” and “self-care” can add to the problems. We also are pushed to be successful and to remain successful through hard and unrelenting work. Isn’t it true that one of the first questions you are asked upon meeting someone is “What do you do?” If your answer doesn’t make you sound successful that person may no longer be interested in learning anything more about you.
As someone who has learned to suppress both anger and fear, I agree with Dr. Mate and his conclusions. There is more to life than pushing ourselves, and there should be nothing wrong with a little self-care. A calm and relaxing bubble bath sounds really good right about now. How about you?