Mind and Medicine

March 10, 2009

Negative emotions such as anger, stress, depression and anxiety destroy us. They destroy us mentally. They destroy us socially. They destroy us physically.

When someone is alone, or stressed, or gets angry easily and routinely, it destroys his heart. Stress is put upon his cardiovascular system and he begins to suffer. Any conditions he may have such as heart disease or diabetes worsen at a quicker rate.

There is a link between emotion and immunity. Negative emotions suppress immunity. It was previously thought that there was no biological connection between the mind and our immune system. Both worked separately. If someone got infected, it was merely the work of antibodies and other immunoactive bodies to repel the pathogenic intruder. But it has recently been established through experiments and trials that how we feel and what our mental state is, has an impact on the efficiency of our immune system.

People who have had heart attacks are prone to having another heart attack sooner or later. Studies have shown that those patients who lived alone, or were easily hijacked by anger, or had some traumatic experience in life which left them upset and down (such as the death of a loved one), were a lot more likely to have another heart attack in the next two years than were those patients who weren’t in a negative state.

Thus when we have established that our emotions play a part in regulating our physical health, it’s important to know how to keep a healthy mind in the face of continuous stress.

Consider for example a man who works hard at a stressful job 9-5. This man is more prone to suffer damage to his internal system. He therefore should take breaks to RELAX. Relaxing is like a detox. Doesn’t Islam already promote this form of detoxification 5 times a day including during working hours? To take time out from the world and relax? How amazing.

“In the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” (Quran)

And so it’s important to learn how to deal with negative emotions when they strike. Anger is one of the most lethal. Many have suffered heart attacks when they’re angry or moments just after. The Prophet s.a.w. said

Abu Hurayrah relates that a man said to the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Counsel me.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Do not get angry.” The man repeated his request many times, but the Prophet (peace be upon him) kept saying: “Do not get angry.” (Bukhari)

So let’s try and smile and let not our emotions hijack us.

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