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Mind – Body Health Connection

How we feel physically can be a big indicator of how we are doing mentally and emotionally.  When we feel physically unwell – headache, stomachache, backache, chest pain, etc. – it may mean we are experiencing psychosomatic illness where physical pain is caused by mental or emotional issues.

Chronic physical illness may be rooted in deep emotional pain and in order to feel better it is important to address the underlying cause.  Our bodies are fine-tuned machines, so physical symptoms such as high blood pressure and irritable bowel syndrome may be our bodies way of signaling us to slow down or learn to deal with stress in a healthier way.

So if you haven’t been feeling well, consider taking a look at what is going on with your mental and emotional health.  In this article by Tiny Buddha, here are a few suggestions for improving your physical, mental, emotional health:

  1. Self care – how are you eating, sleeping, addressing stress in your life?
  2. Take a look at your habits & make one small step toward change – what is one small thing you can do to improve your health today?
  3. Find balance – it is important to nurture the many different parts of our self – mental, physical, emotional, social, environmental, personal, professional, educational, spiritual.  Do something regularly to foster good health in all areas of your life.
  4. Meditate & live mindfully – Slow down.  Take a deep breath.  Remind yourself to live in the present moment of life vs ruminating (processing things over & over & over again in your head) about the past (which has already happened & cannot change) or the future (which hasn’t happened & cannot control).
  5. Journaling – Write it out.  Get your thoughts & feelings down on paper.  It will help you to get things out and become more aware of things as you process them.

Here are physical signs your emotional health may need attention:

1. Tight, tired, and painful shoulders.  When I meet people with this problem, they often have a similar story. They believe that they need to be, and do, everything for everyone. They are literally “carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders.”

2. A stiff neck.  People with stiff necks have trouble turning their head to one side. They’re often dealing with someone close to them making a choice that they don’t agree with. This decision has hurt them and they are finding it hard to “turn the other cheek.”

3. Back pain.  While disc ruptures are not uncommon, most people present with muscle spasms. Again, there is often a deep-rooted emotion playing out behind the scenes. In this scenario, it often pertains to money and finances. Their finances are restricting them from doing the things they want to do (as is their back spasm!)

If you are not sure if you are experiencing psychosomatic illness, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to gather more information:

  • Does your life feel stressful at the moment, and what is causing you to feel this way?
  • What is one thing you can let go of, even just for now?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed, and what do you keep saying yes to that you could begin saying no to?
  • Are you taking on the emotional loads of others in your life? So often we want to help or fix those close to us, but it’s important to remember that they are on their own journey.
  • Are there any stories from your past that you are holding on to that need releasing?
  • Are “you” last on your list of priorities? If so, how can you make a little more time for yourself