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Emotions Can Change Your DNA
Cheer up and think positive thoughts: We all give words of advice like these at some time to a friend, relative or colleague who is ill, worried or otherwise out of sorts. Can’t hurt. Right?
Actually, scientific evidence in the last half century clearly shows that your emotions – the good ones and the bad – affect you in multiple ways: health, schoolwork, job performance, relationships and much more. Whether you feel them naturally or intentionally – today I will think only good thoughts – your emotions are kind of like the old adage, “you are what you eat.”
Throughout much of human history, academic scrutiny of emotions was largely the province of philosophers. Historical records abound from the ancient Chinese, Greeks and other cultures with philosophical discussions about human emotions. The nature and meaning of emotions was prominent in the minds and writings of Confucius, Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, St. Thomas Aquinas and Machiavelli among others.
It was not until the 19th century … that substantial written empirical analyses of emotions began to emerge, when noteworthy figures such as Darwin and Freud took more scientific approaches.
After being within the domain of philosophers for thousands of years, emotions are now closely scrutinized in 21stcentury research laboratories, where scientists can actually observe their effects on human DNA.