This may not be totally new information, but is it something we keep in mind at all times? Probably not. In the moments of anger, sadness, grief, jealousy, etc., are we remembering the detrimental impact that such heavy feelings have on our physiology? We are more likely to be swept up in the emotion, mind fully engaged and oblivious to everything but the circumstances that overwhelmed us.
That’s not to say that these feelings are unnatural or unhelpful; they obviously have their place in life, or we wouldn’t have the capability to feel them in the first place. These feelings are teachers, but there is a tendency to let them become part of a habit. Ego loves to latch onto heavy feelings and feed them with stories until they become a form of distorted thinking. Distorted thinking can quickly become a mindset, and as thoughts lead to feelings (and vice versa), this is an experiential loop that it pays to be fully aware of.
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel hurt now and then. Never was this clearer than in the realm of relationships with others, where emotions run high and are intrinsically linked to the equally high expectations we hold.
Feelings of bitterness and resentment toward others can literally overwhelm the mind, replaying dark thoughts on a loop and triggering sickening feelings in the solar plexus.
If we don’t catch ourselves drowning in this emotional cycle and make a concerted effort to pull ourselves out of it, we can find that this negative, depressive state becomes a fixture; a point of focus that draws in our attention with a frequency that can’t help but impact the whole being.
Sickness has to start somewhere
There are different forms of sickness, of course. If you catch malaria from a jungle mosquito, you know that’s probably got less to do with resentment you hold on to and more to do with your environment. If you develop a chronic condition such as cancer though, there could be many reasons for it.
It is very unlikely that you would develop cancer overnight; it’s something that has to have time to grow in the body, and as it is as biological as we are, it needs food to grow. That food could come from many sources. It could be environmental toxins, it could be electromagnetic frequencies (think wifi overload), it could be chemical additives in your diet, and of course it can be a flood of negative feelings sending messages to your cells.
DNA is language, and your thoughts are speaking to your DNA
These days there is a lot of scientific evidence to support the fact that thoughts have a physical effect; this is just simple physics! DNA is language, and it responds to your thoughts. You can literally recreate your physical state with your intention, and if your intention is revenge, hate or any other strong negative emotion, that’s an energetic poison you are radiating – not only outward, but inward too.
When we carry around the idea that other people are able to impact us positively and negatively, we are giving away our power. The reality is that we choose our responses. You react, or you respond. Your outlook and mindset will dictate how positively or negatively you respond to the words and behaviour of another person.
Your anger is hurting you
Think about it: if your bus driver bites your head off when you’re already flustered and in a rush on a rainy, bleak Monday morning, it’s so easy to feel offended and sit resentfully thinking about how unreasonable that person is. Is that hurting the bus driver? Not really. It’s hurting you.
Perhaps that bus driver just lost a loved one. It’s rare that we are open to all possibilities, tending instead to assume and take things at face value. A more useful reaction would be to let somebody else’s negative projections wash over you and go about your day. Easier said than done when it’s a little closer to home, I know.
Bitterness abounds when a person has to deal with rejection from someone they love, for example. It takes supreme strength to overcome the negative, depressive feelings this can bring. Righteous anger has its place in personal growth and awakening, and it can be positively motivating - but discernment is always required. However, if you knew that wallowing in this grief excessively was mutating and changing the cells of your body, paving the way for serious sickness and the potential for perpetual worry and grief, would you think twice?
There is an answer… it’s called forgiveness
Forgiveness doesn’t have to happen overnight, but it is a process worth dedicating yourself to. What’s more, it doesn’t only refer to external circumstances and people; self-forgiveness is sometimes even harder, but it leads to self-love and acceptance.
The negative feelings we harbour about ourselves have often been ingrained and reinforced since the earliest years of our lives. Practicing forgiveness is a discipline, under these circumstances, and requires a lot of deep digging.
The act of forgiveness is to release the feelings of resentment and anger toward yourself or others and to replace those feelings with acceptance of what is. What has gone before cannot be changed, but how you view it can be. Cultivating acceptance is the key to feeling compassion; we all make mistakes, and we cannot always please everyone or get everything right, even in our own lives. To punish others and ourselves for ‘getting it wrong’ is unhelpful at best, and arguing with reality is futile.
Stress hormones contribute to disease
The chief of surgery at the Cancer Treatment Centres in America believes that harbouring negative feelings cultivates a state of deep-rooted anxiety. Anxiety is a major contributor to the release of stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and these hormones can interfere with the creation of the cells which keep cancer cells within the body in balance. It’s a simple equation, and a familiar one: stress can lead to cancer. If you are full of resentment, you are full of stress.
On a physiological level, when you revisit trauma memories, you re-experience the feelings and you notice the same physical symptoms; a tight chest or muscles, increased heart rate etc. These are good indicators that your body is responding to your thoughts. There have been a lot of studies on the effects of forgiveness, and some of the benefits included:
Happiness and satisfaction with life
More calmness and better sleep
Less tendency towards distress and sadness
Heightened immune response (including to HIV and cancer cells)
Better blood pressure and cardiovascular function
Although it is not always easy, deciding on letting bygones be bygones with regards to your own mistakes as well as your relationships is one of the major keys to happiness in life. Happier people are generally healthier people, but there is an important element in how you treat your physical self day to day.
Health is maintained through many avenues, from diet to environment to toxicity management and stress management. Ayahuasca is known for helping you to transform thoughts and feelings, as are DMT and other plant medicines. This enables a healthier perspective and helps you to choose responses and actions more wisely in the future. Cultivating a healthy emotional state may take time and effort, but it really can be done… and nobody says you have to go it alone. Check our events pages for retreats and ceremonies near you.