Feeling Down Can Bring Your Body Down: The Surprising Link Between Mind and Mortality

It’s common knowledge that experiencing sadness, nervousness, depression, or anxiety can derail your mood temporarily. But did you know that these emotions could also be contributing to serious long-term health issues, including heart disease? According to a meta-analysis carried out by British researchers, even low-level psychological distress can increase your risk of heart disease and other health complications. Before you brush off your symptoms as “no big deal,” it’s important to know how to manage your psychological well-being and possibly improve your physical health in the process.

The Study

British researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 10 large prospective cohort studies focused on the Health Survey for England. Over 68,000 participants aged 35 and older were monitored between 1994 and 2004, during which time they were free of cancer and cardiovascular disease. The study’s goal was to determine if there were any links between subclinical symptoms of anxiety and depression and various health outcomes.

Some of the findings include:
– Substantially symptomatic patients had a 29% increased risk of cardiovascular disease death.
– Cancer death wasn’t associated with low levels of psychological distress in the same way as cardiovascular disease death.
– Death from external causes was also linked to psychological distress across a range of scores.
– Subclinically symptomatic patients had a 29% increased risk of death from external causes.

After adjusting for factors such as age, sex, current occupational social class, body mass index, systolic blood pressure, physical activity, smoking, alcohol consumption, and diabetes, the researchers found an association between psychological distress and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and external causes.

The Big Issue

Now that we know that even low levels of psychological distress can contribute to an increased risk of health problems and death, it’s important to determine what can be done to manage these symptoms. Just as we prioritize our physical health, it’s essential to prioritize our mental well-being.

Prescription antidepressants can be effective for some people, but they also come with dangerous side effects, including an increased risk of heart disease. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another option that can help patients change how they think about situations and react to stress. However, this British study shows that even pre-clinical episodes of anxiety and depression (those which don’t lead people to seek therapy) can also contribute to mortality risk.

Some Solutions

If you are experiencing low-level anxiety or depression and feel that it’s “no big deal,” it might be time to reconsider and take some action. Seeking a therapist for CBT sessions is one option, and there are also alternative approaches, such as the Sedona Method, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing).

EFT is an excellent tool for immediate symptomatic relief, as it’s something you can do on your own whenever you need it. For long-term success, EMDR therapy helps “clear” past perceptions, while the Sedona Method helps you “let go” of limiting thoughts and behaviors. Both require a trained therapist for administration, and information on these methods can be found through a simple online search.


The key takeaway from this meta-analysis is that our daily psychological state should not be ignored or brushed aside. If you’re suffering from depression and anxiety or even have low-level symptoms of these issues, it’s crucial to acknowledge them and take steps to remedy the situation. By doing so, you could potentially reduce your risk of psychological distress-induced health problems such as heart disease and possibly even cancer. Remember, your mental well-being is just as important as your physical health, so seek help or embrace self-directed healing methods to improve both aspects of your life.