Expressing negative emotions could extend lifespan
German researchers just published a study that shows statistically that people who constrain themselves and don't express anger live on average 2 years shorter than individuals who do.
Researchers Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte at the University of Jena in Germany analyzed data from more than 6,000 patients to find that exhibiting self-restraint and holding back negative emotions could have serious repercussions for a person's physical and mental well-being - those who internalized their anxiety suffered from an elevated pulse.
Raised pulse can result in high blood pressure and increase a person's risk of developing a wide range of conditions from heart disease to cancer, kidney damage and more, according to researchers.
The German study, published in the journal Health Psychologies, reveals that a group of so-called "repressors", who are characterized by defensive behavior and their propensity to conceal fear, are particularly at risk.
"They avoid risks and always seek a high level of control over themselves and their surroundings," explained researcher Mund. "For instance, when exposed to a stressful task they exhibit a higher heart rate and pulse ratio than non-repressors and show other objective signs of stress and anxiety."
But on a positive side, the researchers found that "repressors" also have faster rates of recovering from a range of conditions because they are more disciplined and more motivated to adapt their lifestyles.
"Because of their need for control, repressors are very disciplined and more motivated to adapt their lifestyles," Mund explained.