Are you aware that many major illnesses of modern times have psychosomatic origins? Infact, it has been proven medically that an estimated 80% of modern day diseases are psychosomatic in nature, meaning, involving both the mind (psyche), and the body (soma).
In strict medical terms, the meaning of psychosomatic illness is an illness which has psychological origins, and shows up as a seemingly unrelated physical disorder. In other words, the illness is a bodily symptom of a mental, or emotional origin.
And indeed, from the perspective of holistic health we find that our physical body always reflects our emotional, mental, and even spiritual state.
It would not be wrong to say that illnesses usually appear because we haven’t learnt something, or haven’t been paying attention to some emotional issues in our life, which needs resolution. There are many instances of people getting healed of serious physical disorders because they cared enough to look within and face the wrong beliefs, formed by the emotional distress, which caused the stress, which in turn, caused the illness. So in cases of serious illnesses instead of asking, “Why me?”, if we ask the illness, yes, I did say ask the illness, “ What are you trying to tell me, show me, or teach me? What do I need to look into, in my life, that I have ignored?” things will drastically change, as this puts the person in touch with his unconscious mind . As a result new perspectives emerge, beliefs change, and huge transformations happen, mentally as well as physically. (The unconscious mind is the storehouse of all thought patterns, behaviours, memories, and emotions of which the person is usually unaware. And thus, it holds the key to the root causes and associations leading to various problems and illnesses in a person’s life.)
Very often when we are emotionally or mentally stressed and the stress levels become too high for the body to bear, symptoms of illnesses appear. There are a variety of stress agents that can cause stressful reactions in the body.
– Physically it can be overworking, or complete inactivity of any kind, and lack of sleep.
– Mentally it can be overthinking, overanalyzing, or constantly having worrisome thoughts
– Emotionally it can be fear, shame, guilt, anger, frustration, depression, trauma of any kind etc.
– Added to these, there can be unhealthy levels of intake of substances such as caffeine, tobacco, drugs, alcohol, sugar, a fat-rich diet, environmental pollutants and so on.
In a way these stress agents are constantly present in a modern day working individual’s lifestyle, especially the lifestyle of individuals working in big overpopulated cities.
As stress accumulates, our bodies react to the stress through involuntary responses, which are the biological processes in our bodies, not under our conscious control. Examples of involuntary responses are, contraction of the heart, blood flow, digestion, breathing, etc.
So stress and anxiety can take the form of irregular heart palpitations, heart attack, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, or an overactive bladder. Thus we see a close connection between our minds and illnesses of the body.
The involuntary responses are caused by the autonomic nervous system, which plays a role in the hormone secretory activity of the endocrine glands. Hormones are responsible for, metabolism, sex drive, puberty, menopause, emotions such as feeling sad, happy, and angry, and the flight and fight response in the physical body.
Influencing the activities of the autonomic nervous system is the hypothalamus in the brain, which is highly sensitive to emotional pressures, and which controls the basic survival drives such as hunger, thirst, sex and strong emotions such as rage, depression, or immense happiness.
So, any emotional pressure affects the hypothalamus, which in turn affects the autonomic nervous system, which in turn affects the secretion of hormones in our bodies.
Some of the stress-related illnesses include migraines, headaches, high blood pressure, hypertension, frequent colds, constipation, diabetes, heart diseases, cancer, and skin diseases such as psoriasis. Illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and a few others build up over time, as stress builds up over time in the body of an individual. These psychosomatic illnesses can be the result of a combination of various genetic, environmental, hereditary, and social factors. A lot depends on the upbringing of a child. If a child grows up in a stressful environment and learns to hide, or even suppress his feelings from society and family members, he usually develops deep-rooted negative beliefs. The pressure of these beliefs, which now also have the power of emotional charges attached to them, build up over time, and the child carries them into adulthood. He himself is not aware of many of these beliefs.
Overtime, the burden of these beliefs along with the emotions become stressful for the body and can result in illnesses. Please see The Effects of Negative Emotions On Our Health.
Any form of guidance, counselling and psychotherapy, in conjunction with the medicines prescribed by the doctors, can be immensely helpful and cathartic for people with psychosomatic illnesses, especially as it enables them to release, old pent up emotions, old dysfunctional beliefs, and resulting habits. To address these illnesses it is essential to address the underlying deep-rooted beliefs, and emotions buried in the sub-conscious mind. At Breakthrough a mix of a wide range of therapies (please see Services Offered) are used to help uncover the person’s emotional thought processes and dysfunctional beliefs, sometimes which can be generational, leading to an illness. Once these are brought up to the conscious awareness of the person, and are acknowledged and released, the person is in a better state, mentally and emotionally, to accept his situation, and becomes empowered to cope with the condition. Alternatively, there are also high chances of the disorder/illness regressing and the patient experiencing complete relief from the symptoms.
Among your many faces, in the cover of darkness, that you hide, Buried somewhere beneath them is your Light…. Although its been many years now, I haven’t forgotten her shining face, and sparkling eyes as she spoke to a crowd of around a hundred and fifty odd people.
Deafening noise. That’s what I experienced when I first set out to practice silence. There was nowhere I could escape to. The din was in my head. Practicing silence in life, initially, can indeed get maddeningly noisy. It tears apart and rips all that you are not, to shreds; it tosses you around in the darkness, mocks at who you think you are by showing you all the stories you have told yourself, about yourself.
Cutting the Ties that Bind – A Phyllis Krystal Method
This is a group session held at Breakthrough every month, that teaches how to break free from the invisible chains that bind us, block us and keep us from being who we really are.
Dates for the next session to be shortly announced.