Mind over Matter: How Emotional Stress Affect Your Body

By Sharon Moore on May 08, 2015

When it comes to mental health issues, physical pain is only the tip of the iceberg. Many people don’t realise that emotional turmoil does have a huge impact on their physical health. For instance, people with depression report experiencing bodily pains and fatigue symptoms.

Understanding the connection between the mind and body can help open the door to mental health patients pursuing alternative treatments to reduce physical pain and improve their quality of life.

The Mind-Body Connection

The mind and body works hand in hand to ensure optimal health. So when one is not properly functioning, the other is affected. For instance, people with low back pain are more likely to experience anxiety issues and other mental health problems than those who do not have issue with physical pain. Meanwhile, people who have chronic stress experience frequent headache, digestive issues, and a lot more physical discomforts. Depressive individuals go through the same thing. Depression is a chronic mental health problem that often takes a huge toll on the body. People who struggle with depression constantly experience fatigue, lack of appetite, sleep problems, and reduced sex drive.

Anxiety, which is very common, often leads to gastrointestinal problems, abdominal pain, and indigestion. But it can result to more serious health issues too, such as heart disease and respiratory disease.

Whilst it is seems difficult to explain the mind-body connection, the chemical imbalances that take place in the brain impact the functioning of the body. Since the brain is no longer signalling the way it did before the mental health issue took place, the body starts to search for the right response based on the mental and emotional elements of the body.

In the same way that emotions affect the body, our physical being also affects our mental health. People who suffer from chronic ailments or injuries often feel upset about their condition, which leads to emotional turmoil. For instance, a great athlete who suffers from severe physical injury is likely to feel anxious, upset, or worse, depressed about their condition, and may have a hard time figuring out how to proceed. Meanwhile, some people with chronic pain end up developing depression. Dealing with pain every single day of your life is never easy. It makes a person helpless, restless and hopeless. Cancer patients and those who have serious health problems feel the same.

Chronic pain interrupts sleep, work and all other areas of life. It takes away your enthusiasm to pursue physical activities, even the simplest tasks. Chronic pain makes a person feels worthless, as it prevents them from doing their regular routine. At the same time, people with long-term illness may develop a severe sense of hopelessness. They may think that sooner or later, their loved ones will get tired taking care of them, and leave them.

Treating the Mind and Body

Understanding the mind-body connection is very important to achieve healing and speed up recovery. Isolating symptoms (thinking that pain has nothing to do with your mental health, or your mental health issue does not affect your physical being) leaves you with an incomplete picture of your condition. Taking into consideration your mental and physical being is the best route to figure out the best approach to treating an illness. There are many different natural therapies that are centred on promoting not just the mental, but also the physical wellness of patients. 

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