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Emotional Connection

Inspire Health Event Calendar February 10, 2012

Learn the Language of Your Emotions Emotions are often misunderstood in our society and, in many cases, are either repressed or acted out in an unhealthy or uncontrolled way. Learning the language of emotions and how to utilize this incredible, often untapped, and misunderstood resource is a vital and significant part of each individual’s journey toward wholeness and vibrant health.

Emotions manifest in our bodies as physical sensations. For example, anxiety about an upcoming event can manifest as a nervous stomach. Rather than habitually avoiding, denying or viewing our emotions as an inconvenience, we can begin to develop an awareness of the felt sense of these emotions in our bodies and learn to respond in a wise way.

Observe the Physical Sensations of Emotions

Once we become practiced at observing the physical sensations of our emotions and have found the appropriate words to convey our experience to ourselves and others, we no longer fear these emotions. We can then allow them to ‘wash through’ us without repression or strong reaction. We begin to experience more ease, joy and freedom in our lives as we are cultivating a deeper, and sometimes more honest, relationship with ourselves. Our relationships with others then become more authentic.

There are many ways to learn how to access and appreciate our feelings. It is strength to feel, share, and express our feelings.

At InspireHealth, we provide many opportunities to explore the realm of emotions.

Humans are by nature, social beings. It is our emotional connection with others, our sense of community and shared humanity that defines and sustains us. By connecting with others, we heal ourselves.

Emotional Connection Aids Healing

Research from the field of psychoneuroimmunology attests to the important role that emotional connection plays in the healing process. Landmark studies have shown that the simple act of meeting with others once a week to share emotionally and provide mutual support not only improves well-being, but can significantly improve the chances of recovery from life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. 

For example, cancer researcher Dr. Frank Fawzy found that patients with malignant melanoma who were randomly assigned to participate in a weekly support group for a six-week-period after diagnosis were much more likely to be alive five years later than those who were not1.

The simple act of sharing emotionally with others over a period of six weeks had a very significant impact on the chances of survival five years later.

Express Feelings

Similarly, Dr. David Spiegel found that women with metastatic breast cancer who attended a weekly support group lived, on average, twice as long as those who did not2.  As Dr. Spiegel wrote, “Patients were encouraged to express their feelings about the illness and its effect on their lives. Social isolation was countered by developing strong relations among members. Members encouraged one another to be more assertive with doctors.”

A Large Network of Support Helps

More recent research by Karen Weihs has demonstrated that for women diagnosed with breast cancer, a large network of supportive friends and relatives is associated with a 60% reduction in recurrence and death over seven years compared to women who are socially isolated3.

Emotional connection with oneself and with one’s family, friends and loved ones plays a vitally important role in the healing/recovery process. Spend time with those whom you love and tell them how important they are in your life. Friendship and love are as important as any therapy, medication or vitamin.

Foundations of Healing

Fawzy F.I. et al Malignant melanoma: effects of an early structured psychiatric intervention, coping and affective state on recurrence and survival 6 years later. Arch Gen Psych 1993;50, 681-9.

2 Spiegel D, Bloom JR, Kraemer HC, Gotthiel E. Effect of psychosocial treatment  on survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. Lancet 1989;2(8668):888-91.

3 Weihs K. George Washington University Medical Center. Presentation to the American Psychosomatic Society. March 2001.