Have you ever wondered if your painful silences mask any physical disorder? When you have had a hard time, or have had a dislike, have you developed a cold or have you relapsed from your weakest point? In these cases, your emotions may be taking its toll.
But do we know how to detect these intimate cries and their relationship with our emotions? Or, on the contrary, do we not think and run forward, denying pain, and making suffering appear?
- Related article: ” Emotional psychology: main theories of emotion“
The relationship between the physical and the psychological
Think for a moment about the following example:
Alex was a boy who liked to fish and often went out with his best friend to the nearest river they had. One day, back home, Alex stuck a thorn in his foot. From that moment Alex walked trying not to plant his foot on the ground, since the spine caused him immense and continued pain so that he could not walk well … So the days went by and, while his friends were having fun the best in the park going up and down the slide, Alex was sorry for not being able to do it as they had done before. But Alex was afraid to take out his spine because of the pain it was going to suppose. His friends, seeing Alex’s suffering, plotted to catch him between his feet and arms, and despite the attempts against Alex, they finally managed to remove the spine from his foot. At that moment there was a silence and great relief ensued over Alex. (J. Barrios).
This is a clear example of how many times, trying to avoid pain, we incur constant suffering that prevents us from living happily. It is almost always preferable to face the pain, however intense and heartbreaking it may be, to remove the thorn that drives us into suffering in our existence.
Remember that almost always (in at least 90% of cases, as Stephen Covey would tell us) we are responsible for the suffering we allow in our lives. The result after my years of experience as a coach psychologist has led me to several conclusions about this.
Physical problems after emotional problems
Our nature is wise and declares to us what our heart does not confess , or for not knowing how to express or for not wanting to face the circumstance. This is how we somatize and often end up getting sick. In that sense, the flow of words, as Daniel Goleman would say in his book Emotional Intelligence, will relieve the sorry heart.
Our internal dialogue is defined by the flow of thought of our conscious. Thought generates an emotion, so before the emotion there has been a thought, often derived from patterns of thoughts automated by learning and lived experiences.
Emotions and the tonsil connect our thinking to our body, so any thought generates a type of emotion and, consequently, a behavior and the functioning of our organs: parts of the body contract, stomach acid secretion is increased , heart rate, breathing, we produce spasms in the intestine, we sweat, we blush, we cry, …
If the thoughts and emotions are continuously “negative” (they become maladaptive if they persist in time) our organs, our muscles, our viscera will work in a forced way , adapting to a situation of permanent stress that ends up making them sick.
For example, if I think they control me or I feel persecuted and I feel fear, my heart speeds up, I breathe faster (hyperventile), my hands sweat, my mouth dries, I feel a stomachache, or my muscles contract of the body. If, on the contrary, I think that life is going well for me in general, that it smiles at me, my muscles relax, I feel well-being, my tension decreases, my body becomes oxygenated and my breathing deepens.
In order to improve our physical and mental health our goal should be to determine the relationship between the symptom that our body manifests and our hidden emotion and give it expression . Let us think that once we identify our problem, 50% of it can already be solved. When we identify it, we are in a position to control it.
In short, it is the language of the symptom and, favoring the environment offered by Business Psychoconsulting, with cognitive behavioral therapy as well as the strategic brief, we help you identify and express it. When we don’t do it, we incur the risk of getting sick. So be careful with the repressed feelings of those who feel we have not received permission to express! We will somatize to release the emotion.
What is done in therapy?
From the cognitive-behavioral current we try to describe the symptoms we suffer; for example, palpitations, lump in the throat, shortness of breath, dizziness, stomach pain, sleep problems, knee pain … especially symptoms that affect us or somehow incapacitate us in our daily lives. We could make a list with the patient in order of intensity, and previously identify the thought that has taken place immediately before the symptom.
In that sense it is advisable to keep a record of each of the symptoms , from the moment they have arisen, and to be able to arrive at the positive reformulation of the same thought. It should be noted that the same thought can cause different symptoms with different intensities depending on the person. To assess the intensity of the symptoms, we will use the Beck test and we will develop a personalized scale of symptoms, in order of intensity, which will be quantified during the sessions.
In many cases they will be thoughts that give rise to fear, anxiety, fear of fear, and it will be there when, in addition to working with cognitive-behavioral techniques, we will work with those of strategic brief therapy, strategies that will have to do with “adding firewood to the fire” ( G. Nardone).
Commenting by the way, we also know from the bibliography of Dethlefsen and Dahlke (2003), in his book The disease as a path , as well as by the work of Adriana Schnake, that the parts of our body that get sick, do so many times because they do not We accept some of its characteristics, and they have a symbolism and a correlation with the organs of the body. Healing will take place when both parties are reconciled, and our mind accepts the characteristics of the diseased organ. Despite this, to the general meaning of each symptom, we must combine several rules for its interpretation.
Observed body symptoms
Through cognitive-behavioral therapy, consideration of the moment in which the symptom occurs is very important. Because the emotional memory is short term, an exhaustive record of both the symptom and the thought is recommended at the same time they occur:
- Date? time?
- What thoughts did he have at that time?
- What have I felt?
- With what intensity?… (For example from 1 to 10)
- Reformulation of Thought
- New assessment of the emotion felt.
On the other hand, all the symptoms force us to change our behavior , which also gives us information, especially when they incapacitate us in our daily lives. For example, continuous headaches will prevent me from developing my job correctly, or my energy will decrease if I don’t eat well, or I don’t sleep well … At this we can also ask ourselves: What is preventing this symptom? What is this symptom forcing me to?
This is how we, mental health professionals, make it easier for the client / patient to be aware of what is limiting and impeding their growth and offer coping techniques for the solution of conflict and suffering. In short, the goal will be to learn to be happy .