We have an interconnected mind/ body mechanism within our emotional nervous, immune, hormonal super system. We call this the psychoneuroimmunology system. Emotions are our safe guard from external threats. Emotions assure the satisfaction of our appetites and our needs, and they work together with all of our systems to help maintain and repair our internal state. Emotions are necessary for survival. Early in the process of our evolution we have developed primitive responses of attraction and repulsion. These two responses were essential to our need to reproduce. Emotions evolved as a part of our system of survival. All of our body systems are connected together, in order to maintain homeostasis and defence in regards to our emotional reactions.
Emotions induce changes in immune activity, body state, mood, and behaviour. Emotion I is to do with biological changes that prepare us for either fight or flight responses. Anger for example, is not a negative emotion but it is a survival emotion for when an essential need has either been threatened or frustrated. When this emotion is manifested then there will be a behavioural display, and this is classified as emotion II. Once the fight or flight response has been triggered there is also the need for a huge expenditure of energy as well as the risk of injury or death. So emotion II, behavioural displays, serve an intermediary function which, because of the display of emotion often settles the conflict without anybody having to get hurt. This emotional display provides a resolution because the convincing display creates a shut down to the conflict, avoiding harm.
In order to be able to do this appropriately, you need to be able to distinguish between what is a threat and what is a non threat. In order to be able to determine that you have to be able to differentiate what is self and what is non-self. Because if you do not know where it is that your own boundaries begin and end you will have absolutely no idea if something that is potentially threatening is intruding on you or not. You have to be able to accurately appraise what is self and what is non-self, what is familiar or what is foreign, what is benign or not harmful, compared to what is potentially harmful.
The emotion of anger represents the recognition of what is foreign and potentially harmful as well as your response to it. Your immune system works the exact same way, the first essential task is to distinguish self from non-self and begins with recognition. Recognition is a sensory function performed by your sensory organs. If our immune system does not recognize what is harmful to us, we would be exposed to danger. Our immune system also has a memory, it needs to be able to remember what in the external world is not harmful and nourishing, compared to what is okay or neutral to our system, and what is potentially toxic. This is a matter of learning.
The point is, that there is a shared function between immunity and emotion, and when this psychological capacity is disabled, then it extends to our physiology as well. Repressed anger therefore, leads to disordered immunity, the inability to process and express feelings effectively and is the result of the tendency to serve others needs without considering your own. These are coping styles that represent a blurring of boundaries and a confusion of self and non-self on a psychological level.
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