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Negative Emotions Slow Down Physical Healing

I've devoted a lot of space on my Web site to studies that prove, without a doubt, the undeniable connection between emotional and physical health. For example, how a positive mental attitude can play a vital role in maintaining a healthy heart and delaying the aging process naturally.

A new study shows physical proof how one of those aspects -- a strong and happy marriage -- can be a boon to your health. According to the study, physical wounds take much longer to heal in marriages marred by hostility and conflict than those in which couples build a more pleasurable home life.

Scientists used a suction device to create minor blisters on the skin of 42 couples in separate sessions, two months apart. After creating those small wounds, researchers monitored conversations between couples, the first about a neutral issue and the latter regarding an contentious issue requiring a resolution.

Then, scientists checked how the wounds healed several times over a number of weeks. Not surprisingly, discussing conflicts slowed down wound healing. In fact, hostile couples took 40 percent longer to heal (two days longer), and they produced less of the proteins needed for healing. Researchers pointed out how devastating these conflicts can be to your health, particularly before a surgery that taxes your body's ability to heal.

Folks, stress is a key factor in any illness and it plays a major role in the health of nearly every patient I see. To completely eliminate stress from your life is virtually impossible. Yet, if you don't learn how to deal with stress in a healthy way, a recent study shows how your brain may actually "rewire itself," altering its connections in such a way so it affects the way the brain functions.

So what can you do about it? The key is not to eliminate the stress itself but rather adjust your body's ability to tolerate it. I've found energy psychology tools, like the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), can be very useful to battle the dual effects of stress and depression.

And, there's no questioning the power of prayer either. So many studies have documented it and the science that proves its healing power is very solid. So solid, I believe it's criminally negligent for physicians not to recommend it.

USA Today March 7, 2005

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