If we can make ourselves, we can make ourselves well.
To activate our self-induced wellness potential it helps to understand about the nature psychosomatic illnesses.
Psychosomatic means an emotionally induced illness, which may lead directly to physical diseases, by lowering our resistance, our immunity.
We understand that a physical illness can be aggravated by stress and vice versa. This is a mind and body interaction.
When we ease the mind we ease the body, when the body relaxes so does the mind.
The first attempts by modern medicine to reunite the mind and body in the laboratory occurred in the 1950s.
This attempt was In response to what a few scientists thought was a misunderstanding that the mind could manifest somatic (cell-based, biological) symptoms during psychological distress, the study of "psychosomatic medicine" was born (Alexander, 1950; Engel, 1977; Salk, 1962; Selye, 1976; Solomon & Moos, 1964; Wolf & Goddell, 1968).
Understanding how our emotions directly impact our physiology changes the way we view our health. Our body is aggravated by a mental factor such as internal emotional conflict as well as externalised stress.
An emotionally induced illness is no longer termed imaginary.
If we ignore our needs and suppress our emotions our subconscious mind will alert us to the fact that something is wrong, which may result in a physical manifestation of emotional strain.
Managing stress helps us to be less pessimistic, and nihilistic.
Focusing on wellness, even in times of extreme stress, can be a challenge that is worthy of support.
We can be supported and self-supportive.
Emotions roam alone, and the physical effect needs de-activating.
Managing stress allows us to move towards achieving a life-sustaining hormonal response.
What we think we feel, this provides us with a level of control over our health. When we change the way we communicate with ourselves, we change our whole physiology.
When we become stressed anxious or depressed we reduce the benefits of any treatment plan we may be undertaking. We emotionally get in the way of our own recovery by the continuous release of cortisol. Although cortisol is good in small doses, excessive release due to long-term stress damages our nerves.
We can help or harm ourselves by the way that we think.
Threats don't have to be external and real to have an impact on our mind and body. We can generate an internal environment of fear by the way we think and feel about our life and our perception of the environment.
Our mood and our perceptions affect the whole of our body and its systems.
We need to continuously work at being emotionally balanced, physically active, and well-nourished. Neglect in any of these areas moves us away from optimal health.
We need a level of stress to enable us to function at an optimal level. All emotions are valid, as they have their function and purpose. It is the accumulation of unproductive stress that we need to be aware of and subsequently manage.
Stress is not always intended as a negative, it is designed as a protective force.
We have an inbuilt protective mechanism which is designed to automatically power us up to protect ourselves and others from danger; commonly know as the fight or flight response. However, this response finds it difficult to differentiate between a perceived threat and one that is real.
Stress provides us with a level of motivation to achieve our goals while trying to keep us safe. We would expect stress to be present when there is real danger like crossing a busy road, and it is helpful to be aware that pressure is present when we are making positive change. Positive change is still moving into the unknown, so a level of conflicting emotions are present.
The fight or flight mode remains activated when we;
- are constantly thinking and feeling that we are under pressure.
- feel we have no control over the outcomes in our lives.
Adrenaline is released when we feel emotionally threatened which increases our heart rate and elevates blood pressure. Resulting in in overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones, that increases our risk to a range of health problems, including;
- Memory impairment
- Difficulty concentrating
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Weight problems
The above list is by no means exhaustive. Google common signs of stress for further listings.
When we know what makes us sick we can aim to counteract stress
- Gain the support required in a combined way
- Use the body to ease the mind
- Use the mind to ease the body
- Be professionally supported, and self-supportive
- Spend time with people that care for your wellbeing
- Care for others when you can do so, your family, friends, community
- View wellness as an art form
- Take regular walks
- Be part of your wellness and healing program
- Believe in your chosen mode of recovery
- Learn more about 'The Placebo Effect'
- never reject yourself, or your belief in the ability to heal
- Be aware of how you feel
- Take the action required to combine your self-care
- Release negative emotions in a creative constructive ways
- Build self-efficacy
We will look at self-efficacy later in the course
Self-efficacy is more than self-belief, and self-esteem, it is the innate ability to thrive irrespective of circumstances.