When the Heart Doesn't Cry, the Body Cries Instead
There is a connection between disease and emotions. Emotions don’t come out of nowhere, but rather are related to our way of interpreting what happens to us, and these reactions can lead to physiological symptoms. In the same way that physical illnesses affect our state of mind and cause fear or worry, many psychological problems are reflected in our body.
When the relationship between mind and body is out of harmony due to unpleasant emotions, negative feelings, low self-esteem and stressful situations, psychosomatic illnesses arise. Psychosomatic illnesses are physical pains that appear and develop in relation to psychological factors. When we talk about psychosomatic symptoms we are referring to physical pains for which there is no medical diagnosis.
“All our emotions are written in the body”
Projecting emotions into the body
There are different ways in which bodily problems or disorders related to psychological issues can manifest.
- Digestive problems: irritable bowel syndrome or irritable colon is linked to rage, anger and aggression.
- Heart and cardiovascular system: are related to euphoria, hysteria, excitement, hypersensitivity and nervousness.
- Respiratory system: during depression, surprises can make a person hold their breath, causing emotions and states of anguish to suffocate us.
- Glands: are affected by emotional imbalances like anxiety, doubt, skepticism and jealousy.
- Genitourinary problems: are linked to fear, lack of self-esteem, shyness and hopelessness.
- Dermatological or skin problems: are related to communication difficulties where someone wants to impose their view, as well as excess authority and dominating others.
“The question is not what illness someone has but rather who the person that has the illness is”
Our body shouts when our emotions are silenced
The physical manifestation of the same ailment or illness will develop differently depending on the state of mind we face it from. In the case of diseases like cancer or fibromyalgia, it has been shown that learning to manage the emotions and find emotional balance helps with recovery.
An important concept related to the inability to express our emotions is alexithymia. It describes a set of symptoms observed in people with psychosomatic illnesses and manifests as difficulty with identifying and describing emotions, as well as an impoverished inner fantasy life.
The different causes of alexithymia include hereditary, genetic and neuronal characteristics, brain lesions and traumas. People with alexithymia are often described by others, including their loved ones, as cold and distant. They lack empathic abilities and have great difficulty understanding or responding effectively to the feelings of other people.
It has been suggested that people with alexithymia repress their emotions. This repression serves to keep painful or unpleasant experiences out of the conscious mind. Individuals use this as a defense strategy and therefore have less access to emotional memories, especially those of negative or unpleasant experiences.
Many people respond to threatening or serious illnesses by blocking their emotions, which is reflected in difficulties with recognizing or regulating their own emotions, with the aim of protecting themselves from suffering. But far from protecting us, this approach to emotions has serious clinical and social consequences. What the tongue silences, the body shouts.
We cause the majority of illnesses ourselves through unreleased emotions.