Negative emotions can and do have an effect on our physiology. The Chinese have known for centuries that anger can affect the liver, grief can affect the lungs, the kidneys can be affected by fear and so on. Now mainstream medical science has confirming data – at least when it comes to emotions like jealousy, fear and anger. Having jealous or insecure thoughts has weird effects on the brain – in particular, the amygdala – the part of the brain that is involved in our perception of fear, anger and disgust. The amygdala releases the hormones adrenaline and noradrenaline as part of your stress response. The stress response is useful and necessary when it is short-lived but chronic stress and the long-term release of these hormones affects the immune system and the cardiovascular system in deleterious ways.
Having chronic or obsessive thoughts of your partner being unfaithful or with another lover, or competition (real or imagined) with another in the workplace, for example, activates the amygdala and the release of stress hormones that can raise blood pressure – and blood pressure spikes when under stress have been linked to some forms of dementia. A study out of Kyoto University in Japan, of 800 women over 38 years-of-age who felt most stressed or anxious, were at increased risk of Alzheimer’s and long-term distress. The bottom line is that if you are feeling “out or your mind” with jealousy or insecurity, the result, on a physical level, may just be literally “losing your mind”. Could it be that a high self-esteem and self-concept can protect us in some way from these mind-related diseases? Food for thought.
Until next time,