An article on Futurity.org entitled “Going Easy on Yourself May Improve Health” showed that being tough on yourself can have ramifications in the production of inflammation in your body-mind — the #1 killer of mankind. Here’s an excerpt:
“Then, the participants took one stress test a day for two days and their levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), an inflammatory agent linked to stress, were recorded before and after each test. After the first stress test, participants with higher self-compassion had significantly lower levels of IL-6.
“On the second day, Rohleder and his team found something unexpected. Those with low self-compassion had higher base levels of IL-6 before the test, suggesting that they may have been carrying the stress they experienced the day before.
“ ‘The high responses of IL-6 on the first day and the higher baseline levels on the second day suggest that people with low self-compassion are especially vulnerable to the adverse effects of this kind of stress,” Rohleder says.”
Interleukin 6, according to Wikipedia, is related to the following diseases:
Role in disease
IL-6 stimulates the inflammatory and auto-immune processes in many diseases such as diabetes, atherosclerosis, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple myeloma, prostate cancer,Behçet’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Advanced/metastatic cancer patients have higher levels of IL-6 in their blood.
IL-6 is also implicated in depression:
The epigenetic (factors that alter gene expression) effects IL-6 have also been implicated in the pathology of depression. The effects of IL-6 on depression are mediated through the repression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) expression in the brain; <snip>
Downregulation of BDNF, therefore, may cause decreased connectivity in the brain. Depression is marked by altered connectivity, in particular between the anterior cingulate cortex and several other limbic areas, such as the hippocampus. The anterior cingulate cortex is responsible for detecting incongruences between expectation and perceived experience. Altered connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex in depression, therefore, may cause altered emotions following certain experiences, leading to depressive reactions. This altered connectivity is mediated by IL-6 and its effect on epigenetic regulation of BDNF.
So, to keep your brain working effectively and to have a happy life, reduce your IL-6 by taking it easy on yourself! We need to have the attitude of little Jessica here.