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Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci. 2014 Jun 3. pii: nsu083. [Epub ahead of print]

Regulating emotion to improve physical health through the amygdala.

Author information

  • 1State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, and School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, ChinaState Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, and School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China.
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, and School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, ChinaState Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning & IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, Center for Collaboration and Innovation in Brain and Learning Sciences, and School of Psychology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China liujia@bnu.edu.cn.

Abstract

The opinion of mind-body interaction has been increasingly acknowledged in recent years, as exemplified by accumulating evidence indicating that physical health (body) is associated with emotion and emotion regulation (mind). Yet, the neural basis linking emotion regulation with physical health remains largely uninvestigated. Here we used magnetic resonance imaging to investigate the neural basis of this pathway in a large population of healthy young adults. With a systematic study revealing the association of self-reported physical health and emotion traits of personality and general affective experiences, we further demonstrated that, for better physical health, individuals needed to regulate their emotion more effectively. Importantly, individuals who had larger gray matter (GM) volume in the amygdala reported not only a higher ability of emotion regulation but also better physical health. Further, GM volume in the amygdala mediated the correlation between emotion regulation ability and physical health. Our findings suggest that the amygdala plays a critical role in the neural circuit through which emotion regulation may influence physical health. Therefore, our study takes the first step toward exploring the neuroanatomical basis for body-mind interaction and may inform interventions aimed at promoting physical health by augmenting skills of emotion regulation.

© The Author (2014). Published by Oxford University Press. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.

KEYWORDS:

emotion regulation ability; individual difference; physical health; the amygdala; voxel-based morphometry

PMID:
24894766
[PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
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