We are no longer teenagers – in body if not spirit. Although this study was done on teens it applies to us SeenAgers because we were once teenagers who suppressed our emotions.
The coping skills teenagers develop by the time they are adolescents have the potential to impact their health later in life. It’s not that health will be impacted in the short term but over decades could make a difference.
“That may be how small changes in metabolic or inflammatory outcomes may become associated with poorer health or a greater chance of developing a chronic disease later in life.”*.
The study** of 261 adolescents between 13 and 16 years old, explored whether the strategies adolescents used to deal with chronic stress caused by families affected various metabolic and immune processes in the body which included:
- Cognitive reappraisal — trying to think of the stressor in a more positive way and
- Suppression — inhibiting the expression of emotions in reaction to a stressor,
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.
Reappraising a situation during times of stress could be beneficial no matter our age.For a mild stressor, this can be as simple as reframing a bad situation by thinking about it as a challenge or an opportunity for growth:
SeenAge reframe: Being a Seenager is indeed a challenge and our expanding waist lines an opportunity for growth?