Health

Psychosomatic Illnesses: How Mind & Emotions Impact Body

Updated on 5 May 2020 • 4 minute read
92 Views

Your mind, emotions, and body are instruments and the way you align and attune them determines how well you play in life.

– Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga teacher & author

Is it possible that your mental state is making you sick? 

Can emotional and psychological factors create actual physical effects, health problems, and even physical illness? 

That’s what the study of psychosomatic medicine / psychosomatic diseases is all about – observing how physical symptoms arise as an influence and result of emotional and mental factors rather than physical causes such as infection, organ dysfunction, or injury. 

The idea that mental health influences physical disease isn’t new. 

The modern health care system is finally starting to adopt this model of healing in order to help individuals increase their quality of life. 

(source: www.merriam-webster.com)

Many physical conditions have psychological origins… 

Stress is known to cause psychosomatic illnesses…

Specific personality traits and specific conflicts can create particular psychosomatic illnesses, but it is generally believed that the form a disorder takes is due to individual vulnerabilities and emotional combinations.

The conventional theory of medicine says that your health is a matter of your genetics, exposure to infection and lifestyle. 

But with rare exceptions, your emotional experience is a greater factor than any of those.                    

– Dr. John Demartini, Researcher, Author of Prophecy II: How to Decode Your Body’s Messages

It’s probably not news to you that your negative emotions and repressions have a hand in creating your mental and physical conditions. 

Ancient Eastern traditions have long known this to be true, and now, fortunately, the conventional medicine cohort is beginning to catch up too! 

Our emotions and subsequent repressions are a reaction to what we perceive as “stressors.” 

This creates a vicious cycle where stress creates stressful emotions, which creates more stress. 

When we don’t deal with the reaction, and instead suppress it, this creates a chronic, low-grade “irritant” across the mind-body spectrum until it ultimately manifests as physical dis-ease.

 

The Majority of Physical Disorders Are Stress-Related:

The mind and the body are like parallel universes. 

Anything that happens in the mental universe must leave tracks in the physical one.

– Deepak Chopra, author & physician

According to a 2012 study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, out of 123,192 physician office visits, 60-80% were stress-related.  

What’s more, only 3% of those visits included stress management counseling by primary care physicians. 

In fact, stress management was the least common type of counseling, compared with counseling about nutrition (16.8%), physical activity (12.3%), weight loss (6.3%), and quitting smoking (3.7%). (1)

 

This study is a perfect illustration of how as a collective, the majority of us are under-equipped to deal with our stresses and emotions. 

This leaves us at high risk for developing all sorts of psychosomatic symptoms and medical conditions that can most certainly be avoided or attenuated. 

 

The Role of Mental Health In Impacting Physical Health: 

There is no question that the mind-body connection is real, even if we can’t quantify it. 

Hope is one of the greatest weapons we have to fight disease.

– David Agus

Mental health is a crisis in today’s fast-paced and overstimulated world. 

Did you know that approximately 40 million U.S. adults experience an anxiety disorder? 

Anxiety along with major depression is one of the most prevalent mental illnesses today. 

And the most alarming thing is that many don’t seek medical advice or help so go undiagnosed. 

 

Mental disorders greatly impact a person’s ability to thrive in everyday life.

They’re also linked to other conditions such as chronic pain, high blood pressure, chest pain, and back pain. 

This is because conditions such as anxiety affect the nervous system and therefore impact many different parts of the body. 

This is sometimes referred to as “somatization.” 

 

Mental disorders also affect the immune system, which can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions and even autoimmune conditions. 

In fact, the field of psychoneuroimmunology studies the interactions between psychological and emotional factors and the nervous system and immune system. 

This is where tools such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), meditation, and mindfulness can be useful in reducing symptoms and restoring quality of life. 

Seeking emotional support from trusted sources and connecting with loved ones in heartfelt ways can also help. 

 

What Are Your Stuck Emotions? 

Old painful memories, trauma, and repressed emotional states like grief, pain, sadness, resentment, and anger create real effects in our body. 

Emotional responses leave imprints. 

If we don’t deal with emotional stress, and instead we allow them to fester energetically, over time they begin to fester physiologically too. 

 

Here’s a study that actually linked the effects of suppressed anger to the manifestation of cancer: 

“Extremely low anger scores have been noted in numerous studies of patients with cancer. 

Such low scores suggest suppression, repression, or restraint of anger. 

There is evidence to show that suppressed anger can be a precursor to the development of cancer, and also a factor in its progression after diagnosis.” (2)

Highly regarded health and wellness experts would also agree: 

“In many chronic illnesses, you will see there are connections between your emotional well-being and your physical well-being. 

There’s a relationship in most chronic illnesses, whether it’s RA (rheumatoid arthritis), multiple sclerosis, or chronic coronary artery disease, or degenerative disorders. 

What we’re discovering these days is that diseases like RA and many others, especially inflammatory illnesses, are somehow connected to inflammatory emotions. 

Repression, rage, or anger or some past trauma.” (3)

– Deepak Chopra

“Your thoughts and emotions, many of which are driven by subconscious beliefs and long-forgotten experiences, are a powerful force that can aid or degenerate your health…

All of these emotions, which we consider to be part of our conscious reality, are derived or produced by stress chemicals.

Now, if your emotions allow you to “see” your conscious mind, where do you look to observe your subconscious mind? 

-Dr. Dispenza says your body is your subconscious mind.

So your subconscious is actually nowhere near as hidden as you might think… 

Your subconscious is speaking to you loud and clear all the time. 

To “hear” what it’s saying, all you have to do is notice what’s going on in your body.”  (4) 

– Dr. Joseph Mercola

“Unresolved emotional issues initiate systemic inflammation. 

Inflammation is a contributing factor in a host of diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.” 

– Dr. John Demartini

 

 

 

 

References:

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11037954

(2) http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/1392494

(3) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vE-rRREXdOI

(4) http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/03/14/trapped-emotional-energy.aspx

 

as seen on
Deepen Your Practice

Useful insights to bring the essence of yoga into everyday moments.