Guest writer, In5D.com
Our mind, body and emotions are intimately connected via a complex, miraculous network of nerves and cells that make up our endocrine, immune and nervous systems. Every thought we think, every emotion we feel, every interaction we are involved in has an impact on our overall health. Let’s take a closer look at 9 of the most common health conditions that have a distinct emotional component. As with all illness, no two people will have exactly the same profile, but this list might get you pointed in the right direction.
Both the traditional and alternative medicine acknowledge the link between excessive stress and disease. But simply blaming health problems on “stress” is not specific enough. In my own experience, I’ve come to realize that our perception of what is stressful is actually the most important factor in whether or not a given circumstance contributes to ill health.
Please note the I have used the word “contributes,” not “causes.” All disease has emotional, psychological, spiritual, nutritional and physical dimensions, each of which plays a distinct role in the dance of health. I will focus on the close link between health and emotions, moods and attitudes, a crucial connection that can literally set the stage for health or illness. However, my purpose is not to over-simplify the causes of disease, or the pathways to healing. We need to consider all of the above dimensions as we tap into our potential for being the creators of our own health.
1. Arthritis and Joint Pain: Release Your Resentments
Arthritis is often associated with holding onto resentments and hostility, especially in connection with authority. One of my teachers, Dr. Sharon Forrest, noted that in her practice, individuals with a lot of hostility for people or situations around them often had a worse course of rheumatoid arthritis than those who didn’t. They tended to criticize themselves and others a lot.
Since we all experience anger and hostility from time to time, we needn’t fear these emotions – it’s not the emotions themselves, but an inability to directly express and resolve the anger and resentment that can bring on the illness. It’s as if the unexpressed emotional energy becomes “stuck” in the joints.
Illness can be a mirror that forces us to question: “Do I need to hold on to old resentments? Would I be happy and healthy, or would I rather be upset? The choice is mine!”
2. Back Pain: It’s About Support
Backs are symbolic of our support in life. And each part of the back represents a slightly different issue.
Top upper back pain is related to a feeling of carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders. This is also related to neck and shoulder issues.
Upper back pain is related to perceived lack of emotional support, feeling unloved or holding back love. It may also be related to unresolved and unprocessed grief, such as after a loss of a loved one.
Middle back problems are related to guilt and feeling stuck in all that “stuff” that we left in our past.
Lower back pain is related to financial stress, any form of fear about money and fears related to financial support. It is often also related to hip problems and stuck, or unexpressed, creative energy.
3. Cancer: The Emotional Connection
As long ago as the 1800s, the medical literature noted associations between breast cancer and loneliness, sorrow and even rage, anger and resentment. Several studies have noted that women with breast cancer frequently have a tendency toward self sacrifice, inhibited sexuality, an inability to see themselves as supported by others, an inability to release anger or hostility behind a facade of pleasantness, or an unresolved hostile conflict with their mothers. Given our culture’s tendency to suppress, ignore or denigrate women and their anger, it is easy to see why so many women have breast problems.
Multiple studies on the emotional and psychological characteristics of those with breast and many other types of cancer have revealed the following patterns:
- perceived inescapable stress and hopelessness
- chronic state of unresolved loss, grief and despair.
Cancer is associated with deep hurt, long-standing resentment and a deep secret, guilt or grief eating away at the self. Cancer can also be associated with resentment eating away at the body from inside of us.
Cancer is perhaps the most dreaded diagnosis of our age. We should absolutely not discount its impact or complexity, nor the need to seek qualified medical intervention. I do, however, urge you or anyone in your life who has been diagnosed with cancer to be very mindful of its emotional connection. As with most disorders, it is not the emotion itself that causes the problem – it is the inability to express the emotion and then release it that is potentially harmful to our immune system. If the underlying emotional issues are not dealt with, the physical condition may come back, even if initially cured.
4. Eating Disorders: Learning to be Safe
The following emotional and psychological patterns are often associated with eating disorders ranging from anorexia to bulimia:
- desire to maintain control;
- desire not to grow up to sexual maturity, possibly due to childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse;
- fear of sexual relationships;
- over-involved mother or father, “enmeshed” family while growing up.
The media gives all of us some pretty unhealthy messages about eating, weight and self-control. But when these messages become deeply internalized, causing us to hate our bodies, we block the full nourishment that is available to us in life. Constant attention to food, body size and weight consumes much of the creative energy that could be better utilized to live joyous and meaningful lives.
5. Fatigue, Low Energy: Stuck in a Rut?
Chronic fatigue and low energy are often associated with a sense of being over extended or “stuck in a rut” in your life. Feelings of stagnation, not knowing where to go next, helplessness, and even depression are also very common. Fatigue and low energy are associated with resistance, boredom and lack of love for what one does.
Another type of chronic fatigue results from trying to control every activity and event in your life or in the lives of others. Do you find yourself “micro-managing” your life? When you delegate responsibility to others, do you find yourself constantly looking over their shoulders to make certain they are doing the work exactly as you would do it yourself? This constant monitoring of every detail of your environment is exhausting, because we will never run out of things to control – there is always more imperfection in life. Until we are willing to heal the underlying emotional issues and give up some control, the fatigue is likely to continue and intensify.
6. Headaches: Making Life Difficult
Headaches are a very complex subject. Here, I will discuss two of the most common types: tension and migraine.
Tension headaches are caused by chronic tensing of the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders. This tension often results from the perception that someone or something in our life is a “pain in the neck.”
Migraine headaches, in contrast, are associated with a sense of being driven by the desire to be perfect and to achieve in the outer world, being an overachiever who wasn’t satisfied with anything less than straight A’s. They are also linked with an inability to express anger. The emotional pattern behind migraines is a dislike of being driven and resistance to the flow of life.
7. Heart Disease: Letting Go of Hostility and Heartaches
Almost any unreleased emotion can be at the heart of coronary disease. Hostility is a prime candidate, especially feeling that others are unreliable, undeserving, immoral and possibly threatening.
It is also possible to develop heart disease from an entrenched belief that life has to be hard and painful. Some of us have witnessed heart attacks in response to extreme grief. And anytime we “harden our hearts” to ourselves or to another, we cut off our heart’s energy center, albeit momentarily. However, if suppressing our feelings becomes a lifelong pattern, we suffocate our heart and stifle the life force energy flowing through it.
8. Infertility: Ambivalence Can Play a Role
Several therapists and healers have noted that they have worked with dozens of women who have been able to heal their relationship with fertility by releasing their ambivalence to bringing a baby into the world, as well by healing their own childhoods and any adverse messages they received about parenting.
The following scenarios are sometimes associated with infertility:
- Conflicts over birthing, children or the restrictions that children may impose once they arrive.
- Ambivalence toward pregnancy and children. Feeling that having children can ruin your life;
- Excessive focus on the goal of having a child. Conceiving a child is a receptive act that requires surrender to the process.
- Unresolved issues around sexual abuse and conscious or subconscious fear related to that. For example, fear of abusing a child or fear that a child could be abused.
- Unresolved issues bleeding out from a past life.
- Multi-generational programming and beliefs.
9. PMS: Getting in Touch with the Cycle of Life
Our female brains and thinking styles are cyclic, following a rhythm that matches the cycles of our uterus, ovaries and hormones. Knowing about and tuning into these lunar, biological and psychological cycles is very health-enhancing. But ignoring it, neglecting our needs for reflection and “down time,” and pretending that we are not a part of nature can can actually result in premenstrual syndrome, or PMS.
PMS occurs when a woman is out of touch with the monthly cycle of outgoing energy balanced by the need for inward reflection. From the onset of menstruation through ovulation, women are naturally more outwardly focused. Thus, work in the world, caring for others, and being able to focus on tasks outside of oneself flow naturally at this time. But from ovulation until the onset of menses, the natural tendency is to become more inward and reflective with more energy focused within ourselves and our deepest needs. One of my teachers advised to learn how to schedule myself so that I always have at least an hour or two to myself each day for inner reflection during the time of the cycle that is full of information and inner guidance.
If you suffer from PMS, ask yourself the following questions: “What comes up for me premenstrually? Who am I angry with? Why? What would I most like to do with my life? Who or what is preventing me from doing this?”
About the author: Inga Nielsen, MPH, assists people in connecting with their higher selves, spirit guides and high beings, through accessing the Akashic Records. Inga was trained in a variety of healing techniques, including hypnotherapy, inner child work, meridian therapy, breathwork, yogic practices and energy clearing. Inga is a Reiki master and a professional intuitive. She is here to assist people in raising their vibration and living from their soul, as facilitators of their own ascension. You can find out more about Inga on her website, www.healing-radiance.com, or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/inga.healing.radiance/.