Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Emotional Rescue

Magazine article Vegetarian Times

Emotional Rescue

Article excerpt

Healthy Lifestyles When it comes to risks for heart disease, our emotional intelligence should be right up there with diet and exercise. Some of the latest research has found that avoiding emotional extremes and learning healthy ways to express feelings can make a dramatic difference to cardiac health.

Specifically, recent studies show that learning to cope with two of the most potentially damaging emotions--depression and anger-reduces not only the physical damage stress wreaks on the heart, but can also extend your life span. Furthermore, Ohio State researchers found that depressed men are more likely to suffer fatal heart attacks than are depressed women. The 10-year study, published in last Mays Archives of Internal Medicine, followed 876 women and 279 men who were diagnosed with clinical depression but showed no signs of cardiac problems. During that decade, 16 percent of these women died from heart disease, compared with 46 percent of the men. Researchers speculate that the higher fatality rates for the men may be due to the male tendency to keep feelings bottled up rather than expressing them.

The way people regard their surroundings can also be a significant source of stress, according to another Ohio State study published in the April issue of Life Sciences. In this study, 33 women and 31 men filled out questionnaires gauging how they perceived their relationship with others and how they handled anger. Men, researchers learned, viewed the world with a more hostile and adversarial attitude. "People with this personality trait see the world as almost a dangerous place to live; they're more cynical and they tend to question a great deal," says Catherine Stoney, Ph.D., an Ohio State psychology professor. Such characteristics can have serious consequences. Samples showed that the blood levels of heart-damaging homocysteine of men in the study were 30 percent higher than the women's. …

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