Holding back emotions may reduce lifespan

Dec. 27, 2012 at 2:06 PM

JENA, Germany, Dec. 27 (UPI) -- German researchers say exercising self-restraint and holding back negative emotions -- what Britons call keeping a "stiff upper lip" -- may reduce lifespan.

Researchers Marcus Mund and Kristin Mitte at the University of Jena in Germany said the findings might explain why the generally more emotional Italians and Spanish live almost two years longer than the cool English who "keep calm and carry on," MedicalDaily.com reported.

After analyzing more than 6,000 patients, Mund and Mitte found people who internalized their anxiety suffered from an elevated pulse, suggesting those exhibiting self-restraint and holding back negative emotions -- who they call repressors -- could have serious repercussions for physical and mental well-being.

Over time, an elevated pulse can result in high blood pressure and increase the risk of developing a wide range of conditions including heart disease, cancer and kidney damage.

However, while repressors were at risk for developing certain illnesses, they had faster rates of recovery because they were more disciplined and motivated to adapt their lifestyles.

The findings were published in the journal Health Psychologies.

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