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Bottling up your emotions can affect your immunity: Study

Teenagers who tend to suppress their emotions or stress can significantly impact their health which can affect their immunity levels later, according to a new study.

The study, by the University of Pennsylvania in the US, explored whether the strategies adolescents used to deal with chronic stress caused by families including cognitive reappraisal — trying to think of the stressor in a more positive way — and suppression, or inhibiting the expression of emotions in reaction to a stressor, affected various metabolic and immune processes in the body.

They found that teenagers who suppressed emotions tended to have more inflammation when their immune cells were exposed to a bacterial stimulus in the lab, even in the presence of anti-inflammatory signals.

Conversely, those who used cognitive reappraisal had better metabolic measures, like blood pressure and waist-to-hip ratio.