Emotions Affect Our Biology

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Welcome to Healthy Relationships, Course 3 of Timeless You. Here, we'll explore the way you interact with friends, loved ones, and your community, and learn how it affects your body, your mind, and how you age.

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It's a fact: Our emotions directly affect our biology—for good and bad.

​Healthy, loving relationships produce chemical reactions in our bodies that make us feel exuberant, safe, and youthful. (Think about how energetic you feel when you are having fun with someone you care about.) However, relationships characterized by turbulence and emotional pain make us feel depleted and can actually accelerate aging.

Many studies have proven the link between heart disease and negative emotions like anger, anxiety, and depression, which stress the body and constrict blood vessels.

Ever heard the saying, "dying of a broken heart"? Medically, this poetic turn of phrase is accurate. A study at Harvard Medical School found the risk of heart attack increases 21 times within the 24 hours of the death of a significant person in one's life. Doctors call it "broken heart syndrome."

Less serious, but also harmful, are grudges and toxic relationships. Grievances, resentments, and regrets can become festering emotional wounds that accelerate aging.

Why are they so destructive?

Beyond physical symptoms like high blood pressure and increased cortisol (which is responsible for a slew of ailments including weight gain, heart disease, and lowered bone density), emotional grievances create a dirty lens through which you view all relationships. When you approach the present through a filter of past grievances, you prolong the power of these negative feelings.

In this course, we'll address toxic relationships and how you can promote healthy relationships in your life. But first, let's talk about the impact healthy relationships have on your body.

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Click the "Next" button to learn about the biological changes prompted by healthy relationships.

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