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What we can learn from Fred Phelps: how hatred affects the body

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Hatred is an emotion that everyone has felt at one time or another, and when it occurs occasionally, is considered a normal part of living. However, the effects of feeling hatred over the long term affects your body physiologically.

Hatred actually changes brain chemistry; research has shown that the emotion of hatred stimulates the premotor cortex of the brain, which is responsible for the planning and execution of motion. The theory is that this prepares the individual feeling hatred to act aggressively, either in an attack or defense.

This activation of the premotor cortex also triggers responses in the autonomic nervous system, creating "fight or flight" conditions of increased cortisol and adrenalin in the body. Both of these hormones exhaust the adrenals and contribute to weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, chronic illness, and depression.

Additionally, hatred inspires the mind to try to predict what the actions of the person being hated may do, in order to protect the individual doing the hating. This can result in paranoia and other forms of mental illness.

It's important to note that all these physiological reactions affect only the hater, and not the hated. The object of hate is unaffected, while the hater is grinding down their immune system, endocrine system, and their mental health with the all the additional stress load that hatred engenders.

So is it worth it to compromise your own health with this emotion? The answer is pretty clear. Before you let someone live rent-free in your head and heart, remember - only you will be paying the price.

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