Excerpts from When the Body Says No

  • “Several decades ago, David Kissen, a British chest surgeon, reported that patients with lung cancer were frequently characterized by a tendency to “bottle up” emotions.1 In a number of studies, Kissen supported his clinical impressions that people with lung cancer “have poor and restricted outlets for the expression of emotion, as compared with non-malignancy lung patients and normal controls.”2 The risk of lung cancer, Kissen found, was five times higher in men who lacked the ability to express emotion effectively.”
  • “Kissen’s insights were confirmed in spectacular fashion by a prospective study German, Dutch and Serbian researchers conducted over a ten-year period in Cvrenka, in the former Yugoslavia.”
  • “Nearly 10 per cent of the town’s inhabitants were selected, about one thousand men and four hundred women. Each was interviewed in 1965–66, with a 109-item questionnaire that delineated such risk factors as adverse life events, a sense of long-lasting hopelessness and a hyper-rational, non-emotional coping style. Physical parameters like cholesterol levels, weight, blood pressure and smoking history were also recorded. People with already diagnosed disease were excluded from the research project. By 1976, ten years later, over six hundred of the study participants had died of cancer, heart disease, stroke or other causes. The single greatest risk factor for death—and especially for cancer death—was what the researchers called rationality and anti-emotionality, or R/A. The eleven questions identifying R/A measured a single trait: the repression of anger. 
  • “Indeed cancer incidence was some 40 times higher in those who answered positively to 10 or 11 of the questions for R/A than in the remaining subjects, who answered positively to about 3 questions on average.”

Maté M.D., Gabor. When the Body Says No (pp. 85-86). Turner Publishing Company. Kindle Edition.


  • Additional research presented in “When the Body Says No” suggests that excessive hotheadedness is also detrimental to health. Ideally, from the standpoint of this research, one should try to find a balance between allowing themself to feel their emotions, without becoming excessively overwhelmed by them / attached to them. 
  • If you’d like me to send you some strategies that I’ve found to be effective for releasing anger / developing a healthier relationship with it, please let me know by emailing me at contact@sundaynewsletter.com


Quote of the Week

I’d like to remind my patients that the opposite of depression, is expression. What comes out of you, doesn’t make you sick. What stays in there, does. 


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