Just as the food and drink that we consume should be healthy and free of toxins, the state of our emotions is equally important. Negative emotions that we hold onto and allow to penetrate deeply within us can make us bitter, resentful, and even sick! Extreme suppression of anger was the most commonly identified characteristic of 160 breast cancer patients in a study conducted by King's College Hospital in London. Another study at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Rochester found a 70% increase in cancer deaths for those who scored above the 75% level for suppressing emotions. Suppressed emotions can include anger, hate, resentment, and grief. It is amazing to me how many times I have given a homeopathic remedy to someone and following the remedy there is a release of toxic emotions. Pent up anger or unprocessed grief is let go. People feel the need to get something off their chest that may have been eating away at them for years but were unable to do so. They may find the courage or the irresistible urge to take matters into their own hands and say something as hard as it may be. Finally, they feel that they can get on with life and put these things behind them. A good thing they did, or as we saw above, serious illnesses can take place.
As important as letting go of toxic emotions is inculcating healthy ones. Out of all of the positive emotions that have been studied, gratitude ranks among the top of the list. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said, “If one of you looks at someone who was favored over him in wealth and appearance, then let him look towards one lower than him.” This is a preventative medicine for letting ingratitude and its side effects take hold in one's heart. Often we may look at someone with a nice car or a luxurious home and wish that we had the same. Left unchecked, this would grow within us. We may become envious. We may forget all of the blessings we currently enjoy and take for granted. We may complain of our apparent misery. A short reflection on the lives of those less fortunate than us and those “deprived” feelings within us can just fade away.