Effects of Emotions
“Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” Jonatan Mårtensson
What ways have you found that work best for you as you manage your thoughts and feelings?
And “don’t sin by letting anger gain control over you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. (Eph. 4:26; NLT)
We’re all pretty familiar with emotions. Most agree that emotions emerge from our thoughts and feelings. As we have discussed many times, we have control over both but most of us don’t even try. We just walk around as victims of whatever thoughts or feelings come into our heads at the moment.
Emotions tend to fall into one of two categories, positive or love-based and negative or fear-based. Love-based emotions include love (obviously), gratitude, appreciation, compassion, forgiveness, et al. Fear-based emotions include fear, anger, frustration, stress, hate, jealousy, and strife.
Experiments by the now well-known Institute of HeartMath in California have shown that the effects of our emotions extend far beyond what most thought in the past. In one such study, human DNA was placed in vials allowing the scientists to measure changes that took place on the DNA. These vials were given to researchers who had been trained to evoke strong emotions at will and on demand.
The scientists conducting the tests found that when the researchers evoked negative emotions, the DNA within the vials shortened and tightened, and conversely when the researchers evoked positive emotions, the DNA elongated and relaxed. In the presence of negative emotions, the DNA further switched off many of the DNA codes.
The short, tight DNA strands mimic and are reminiscent of the “fight or flight” mechanism in the human body. There are several bodily functions that are supposed to happen to keep us healthy but which are suspended during the fight or flight response because all systems are being called on to defend against whatever threat triggered that response in the first place. The immune system is one of the major players in the body that basically shuts down during flight or flight. Basically, our bodies were never designed to operate in fight or flight mode for an extended period of time.
The HeartMath studies show that it is not just life-threatening situations that can trigger fight or flight. Our own emotions can do the very same thing. If we sit around “enjoying” the emotions of anger, jealousy, unforgiveness, fear, etc., we are essentially sitting around with DNA wound as tight as a drum and an immune system that is not functioning as it was designed. Now all those admonitions that we have heard about the need to forgive, to never let the sun go down on our anger, etc. begin to become more than just platitudes designed to make us feel better. They now rather clearly take on the specter of life or death.
Kinda makes you wonder what we’re doing to ourselves when we watch terrifying horror-movies just for fun? What about those “edge of the seat” adventure and suspense movies and TV shows? For that matter, what about the nightly news? This is not to rail against the media or the entertainment industries, but rather just to cause you to reflect on the ramifications of the emotional stress that some of what we call entertainment creates on our own health and well-being. Think about it.
Lord, help us to see that we cannot always understand the deeper implications on our health of some of our activities. Guide us and help us to make the right choices.
Link of the Day
Modulation of DNA Conformation by Heart-focused Intention
Blessings on you as you contemplate the impact of seemingly innocuous activity on your DNA.