As we age, it is more likely that we will eventually experience emotional upsets, loss and change. Many of us go from busy, full time workers or full time parents to partial workers, empty nesters and grandparents, to full time retirees, with or without a life partner, adequate financial resources, secure housing, or a network of close family and friends. We may move from a familiar neighborhood to a different retirement community. Friends, neighbors, close relatives and even our beloved house pets may become ill and pass away. Depending upon whether we have developed the positive mental attitudes, uplifting and life affirming spiritual connections, healthy lifestyle, social contacts, and continued passion for living – which researchers describe as the formula for healthy aging – we are more likely to suffer more from illness, disability and emotional instability as we age.
Complications of Emotional Upsets and Stress
Stress Accelerates Cellular Aging
Research is beginning to substantiate the devastating effects of long term stress on health and aging. Telomeres, the DNA-protein structures that cap the ends of chromosomes and promote genetic stability, appear to play important roles in cellular aging and disease. Elisa Epel and colleagues examined the effects of psychological stress on telomere maintenance in 58 healthy premenopausal women. Results, appearing in the December 1, 2004 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, indicate that the psychologically stressed women had shorter telomeres and less telomerase, a telomere producing enzyme which affects immune function cells in the blood.
Stressful Jobs Affect Health of the Elderly.
In workers over age 60, problems on the job raise blood pressure in although these older workers often claim to be less upset and less sad than younger employees when work problems hit. They seem to “feel” less emotion, but their bodies reveal greater stress factors. Older workers may be more vulnerable to heart and cardiovascular problems if they remain in high-pressure jobs or situations.
Emotional Stress May Precipitate Heart Problems
Emotional stress can precipitate severe left ventricular heart valve dysfunction in patients who do not apparently have coronary disease. This reversible condition, called myocardial stunning, cardiac stunning or myocardial stress, is brought on by severe emotional stress. Research corroborates the phenomenon that severe emotional stress and heartbreak, such as the break up, loss, or death of a a loved one, can release an onslaught of stress hormones that cause the heart muscle to contract and spasm, possibly leading to severe complications and even loss of life.
Emotions Affect Blood Cells
Photos of frozen water crystals imbued with different emotions appeared in the book, The Hidden Messages in Water by Japanese researcher Masaru Emoto. Inspired by these photos, Rebecca Marina attempted to replicate the experiment by having her own blood samples photographed on slides while she caused herself to feel specific emotions.
She focused first on sadness. In this photograph, her blood cells seemed to actually take on the formation of teardrops and were seen moving rapidly (rather than slowly and sluggishly as we might expect) with a lot of white blood cells predominant, more so than in a normal blood sample.
When she felt fear, the blood cells moved around rapidly and frantically with an increased number of white blood cells and then stopped moving rather abruptly, as if exhausted.
Feelings of love produced slower, more placid movement and some sparkly substance in the fluid. Interestingly, when she felt love, the blood cells on the “sadness” slide that had remained on the screen began to change. In other words, even when her blood was no longer inside her body, her feelings of love actually affected the movement, shape and quality of her blood cells on the slide.
But the most astounding effect was when she focused on Divine Mother or spiritual love and peace. The fluid part of the blood became clear, the movement of the cells was placid, and the cells were just gliding along. The white blood cells that showed had a white glowing center and a pulsation in that center almost like a heartbeat! And some of the cells actually took on a heart shape. (EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique Research)