Here are some more compelling reasons to express your emotions naturally, physically, and constructively. A recent study has concluded that not dealing with your emotions increases the likelihood by one third that you will die younger than if you regularly express what you are feeling.
In a study conducted at Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester, researchers gave 729 men and women (average age 44) a health questionnaire in 1996 to determine how much they suppressed their emotions.
Twelve years later, the remaining subjects were given another questionnaire. (In the interim 111 had died, 37 by cardiovascular disease, 34 by cancer.) Researchers compared those that scored highest for emotional suppression with those that scored lowest and found a 1.35 times greater likelihood for all causes of mortality in participants who suppressed their emotions.
Even more startling was that hazard ratio for suppressing emotions and having cancer was 1.70 (that means you increase the risks of cancer by 70%) and for cardiovascular disease mortality 1.47, or 47%.
The researchers hypothesized that suppressed emotions might cause premature death because those people turned to cigarettes, alcohol, and junk food to cope or perhaps suppressing emotions change the hormone balance in the body.
Regardless of why, this startling research makes a compelling cause for learning to express your emotions constructively if you want to live longer.
And this of course, leads back to Attitude Reconstruction, which is based on the premise that all of our destructive habits and bad attitudes stem back to unexpressed sadness, anger, and fear and if we deal with our emotion in a healthy way, we create more joy, love, and peace.
If we realize that emotions are just pure sensations in the body (emotion = E + motion), then we give ourselves permission to express those emotions physically and constructively. With just a bit of crying (sadness), stomping, yelling, pushing or pounding (anger), or shivering all up the spine and out the arms and legs (fear) the emotion will move out of our bodies, and we’ll be washed clean. It doesn’t take long, and it works miracles.
The most important thing to remember while emoting physically is to keep our thoughts and words constructive. Find a safe place and while emoting just make sounds or if you say or think anything, just name what you are feeling, such as “I just feel sad. It’s okay to cry.” or “OOOWWW I feel sooo angry.” While expressing the natural energy, own the emotions, don’t indulge your old thinking, such as “he’s a jerk” “I’m a loser” or “I’ll never be able to handle everything I have to do” and it will pass.
Crying, pounding, and shivering can be done while on the job or almost anywhere. We just need to excuse ourselves and go to the bathroom, or outside, or to our car and just naturally express what we are feeling in our bodies.
Though it might seem weird, once you try it, you’ll agree that honoring our emotions should become part of our daily hygiene. It’s the perfect way to let go of what’s getting us down, so we can enjoy our work, our family, friends, and world. When we know we’re not at our best, just a few minutes of emoting will get us back on the express train to joy, love, and peace – and I would contend, a longer, happier, healthier life.