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Bottling Up Your Emotions Can Raise Cancer Risk By 70 Percent

Update Date: Sep 10, 2013 10:39 AM EDT
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Keeping a lid on your emotions can actually knock years off your life, a study at Harvard School shows.

The latest research shows that those who bottle up their feelings are at least a third more likely to die younger than people who regularly express what they are thinking.

A study conducted by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and University of Rochester shows that risk of premature death from all causes increased by about 35 percent among those who choose not to say what they feel.

They also discovered that the specific causes of death increased the risks by 47 percent for heart disease and 70 percent for cancer.

Researchers studied total of 796 men and women, with an average age of 44. They had signed up to a health survey in 1996. Survey questions were designed to assess how much the participants suppressed their emotions.

The survey was repeated 12 years later, during which time 111 subjects had died mostly from cancer or heart diseases.

However it is not clear exactly how suppressed emotions cause premature death. One possibility is that people turn to cigarettes, alcohol or junk food to help them cope with their hidden feelings.

Another theory might be that the stress keeping the lid on negative thoughts disrupts the hormone balance in the body, raising the risk of diseases linked with cellular damage such as cancer and heart complaints.

The researchers stressed on the fact that the number of deaths in the study was small and that further investigations are needed.

‘These findings reveal significant associations between higher levels of emotional suppression and mortality,’ they reported.

The findings of the study were published online in the Journal of Psychosomatic Research.

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