Arguing With Your Spouse Harms Your Heart Health

One day short of a year ago, I posted a fascinating study about the direct connection between emotions and physical health. Fascinating in that, physical healing was governed by the amount of hostility married couples showed toward each other, as well as the lack of it. Not surprisingly, martial discord can trigger all sorts of heart-damaging problems, according to a new study of 150 couples in their 60s.

Researchers asked couples to discuss a sore subject that would trigger a fight for six minutes while being filmed. After tapes of those conversations and comments were reviewed and evaluated, patients were given CT scans to determine how coronary artery calcification affected their health, if it all.

Hurtful emotions certainly damaged the health of many patients in the study but for different reasons. Domineering behaviors showed by both genders were indeed harmful to men, elevating their risk of clogged arteries by 150 percent. Married women who dished out hostile comments had double the number of cardiovascular blockages, and even more when their spouses responded in kind, elevating their heart attack risks.

On the flip side, men whose bodies showed the least amount of atherosclerosis were those in relationships in which both spouses could discuss a problem without being controlling, according to the lead researcher. Makes sense, considering happier people are generally healthier.

The trick about stress: You can't avoid it but you can and should learn how to deal with it better. One natural and effective way to get a better handle on your feelings is to learn an energy psychology tool like the Emotional Freedom Technique, a form of psychological acupuncture used daily in my practice.

USA Today March 6, 2006

MSNBC March 3, 2006

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