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IMMUNITY - Tip #4 - Emotions

Updated: Apr 14, 2020

A few years ago, my friend died unexpectedly. She was 31 with a small son and had her whole life ahead of her. The day after the funeral we all came down with gastro. I can remember my sister said it was from the grief, I disagreed and thought we’d caught a bug.

Hippocrates believed that a balance of passions was fundamental to good physical health. Emotions such as grief, anger and anxiety were considered to be the leading cause of disease and death.

Have you ever heard of someone that has died of a broken heart? Or developed a cancer after the breakdown of a marriage?

In the early 17th century Rene Descartes saw the body as a machine and that each piece could be studied individually. Sir Isaac Newton supported this theory and our modern allopathic medicine has been based on this separation of the mind, body, soul and spirit.

Think about a major stressful event in your life – how was your health immediately after? Did you relate being unwell with the overwhelming emotions? Or was it coincidence?

Science is now showing that there are physical pathways between each of the systems and that stress hormones effect the immune system. We are not machines with separate parts. In one study, anger related to hostile marriages was shown to reduce the effectiveness of the immune system. In another, rugby players showed that aggression, anxiety and anger all reduce the number of immune cells.

As science is progressively showing that our mind, body, soul and spirit are indeed connected, there is also rapidly emerging science around solutions for stress and therefore techniques to improve our immunity.

By using simple breathing techniques accompanied by positive emotion, our heart and brain move into a rhythm that facilitates our body to function at its optimum level. When our body and brain work better together, we feel better and we perform better. By practicing heart-brain coherence every day, your body gets used to being in this state and your natural resilience increases. Regulating our emotions using HeartMath® techniques dramatically increases the function of the immune system.

One experiment found that 5 mins after participants were taught a HeartMath® technique an antibody (SigA) produced by the immune system increased on average by 41%. After 1 hour, SigA decreased to normal levels, however they slowly increased over the following 6 hours. The same participants were encouraged to feel anger for 5 minutes. Interestingly, their SigA increased by 18%, but 1 hour later their levels had dropped to less than 50% of their normal and 6 hours later, their levels remained lower than normal.

My sister and I were both right. The gastro that we experienced after our friend’s death was a bodily reaction to the grief and also showed the reduced capacity of our immune system.

Heart-focused, sincere positive feelings boost the immune system, while negative emotions suppress the immune system for up to 6 hours. As a HeartMath® Health Practitioner, I can help you explore your own heart brain communication, to increase your immunity and decrease your stress levels.

Be Master of Your Own Body.


1. Rein, Glen & Atkinson, M. & McCraty, Rollin. (1995). The physiological and psychological effects of compassion and anger. Journal of Advancement in Medicine. 8. 87-105.

2. Brod, S., Rattazzi, L., Piras, G., & D'Acquisto, F. (2014). 'As above, so below' examining the interplay between emotion and the immune system. Immunology, 143(3), 311–318.

3. Kiecolt-Glaser, J. K., Gouin, J. P., & Hantsoo, L. (2010). Close relationships, inflammation, and health. Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews, 35(1), 33–38.

4. Pesce M, Speranza L, Franceschelli S, Ialenti V, Iezzi I, Patruno A, Rizzuto A, Robazza C, De Lutiis MA, Felaco M, Grilli A. (2013). Positive correlation between serum interleukin-1β and state anger in rugby athletes. Aggress Behav. 39(2):141-8.

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