Just as it is important to attain—and maintain—physical health, we also need to work on our mental health. After all, each is related to the other. When one is out of balance, the other is affected. Just think about what happens when you are not well—it affects your emotions and thought processes, right? Well the same thing happens when you are under stress—emotionally or mentally. Your physical health suffers. It’s a vicious cycle.

In a recent study presented at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, researchers found that women who dwelled on stressful thoughts had increased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP, a marker of inflammation) in the blood when compared to women who focused on neutral thoughts.

“More and more, chronic inflammation is being associated with various disorders and conditions,” stated Peggy Zoccola, PhD, lead researcher. “The immune system plays an important role in various cardiovascular disorders such as heart disease, as well as cancer, dementia, and autoimmune diseases.”

Have you ever replayed a bad situation in your head, over and over, until you ended up a worried mess? Or do you ever have trouble shaking a negative interaction between you and someone else? You’re certainly not alone, but hopefully this research will inspire you to “let it go” more often. Your health depends on it.