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Thursday, April 21, 2011

You've Got Mail ... It's From Your Body

Our bodies offer us information all the time. Like I stubbed my toe (walk more carefully), or I burned my finger (light the candles with a longer match), or I'm out of breath (walk a bit more slowly), or my head hurts (put on those sunglasses), or I've got a toothache (go to the dentist and stop eating so many sweets).

We all know those messages from our body, and tend to pay attention to them, because a direct physical consequence - something that is making us uncomfortable - results if we don't take care of the message.

And yet, our bodies, in their infinite wisdom, send us so many more messages that are potentially far more important, with potentially much further-reaching consequences, that we frequently pay little attention to.

Check out these examples (the words in parentheses are merely possibilities ... under no circumstances am I saying that these are always underlying the symptom):
  • stiff neck (tension, anger, inflexibility)
  • aching lower back (stress, worry, fear)
  • headache (stress, worry, heart pain, fear)
  • burning sensation in the gut (anger, stress)
  • high blood pressure (stress, tension, underlying overwork)
  • constipation (unhealthy life style - on many levels, inflexibility)
  • lack of enthusiasm, lack of physical energy (unhealthy life style - on many levels)
  • insomnia (worry, stress, emotional pain, anger, etc.)
In all of these examples (and many more I have not enumerated), of course we tend to do something about the symptom, such as go to a doctor, or chiropractor, or physiotherapist, etc., but we tend not to do anything about the underlying causes.

We pay no attention to the email we've just received from our body. And the email we receive from our body in this way, is similar to the first letter the bank writes you, when you are late in paying the mortgage. They are encouraging you to look for a solution. But if you pay no attention, more letters will follow, each one with a nastier underlying message, until finally, if you are still not doing anything about it, you lose your house.

Our bodies are wise ... sometimes I think they are so much wiser than we are despite all of the use we give our so-called rational brain (and if you are interested in the brain, look at my article about the other brains we have in our bodies ... scientists have determined this ... fascinating information for us to make good use of ... see Introducing Our Second and Third Brains: We Do Think With Our Heart and Instinct). So the wisdom of our bodies sends us these little messages that we are meant to pay attention to. Our bodies are giving us information in plenty of time, so that we can change something about the way we go about our lives, so that we can change something about the way we deal with our emotions, in order that we can catch the problem long before it becomes dangerous.

But what do we do? We tend to try to fix the outer symptom, without looking at the underlying causes. If there is a crack in a major holding wall in my house, it is possible that the problem is only in the wall. But it is also possible that the problem is structural in a much more important way than the mere observation of the crack might tell us.

And so it is with our bodies. Think of the number of times you have heard of studies that indicate the people who have died of heart problems had problems of love in their lives. Perhaps a difficult situation with the family, with the children, and so on. Or how about the number of times we have all read about the fact that cancer begins with stress. Hello? Stress? Yes ... just look at some of the studies that psycho-neuroimmunology (PNI) has come up with about this subject ... and remember that emotional pain of the type that causes bitterness and resentment also has been shown to bring on cancer.

See these articles about the general topic of letting the past go and dealing with painful emotions:
So back to our bodies:

Can you imagine that heart burn might not only have to do with having eaten something that does not agree with you, but also have to do with anger or emotional pain? And that if you don't decide to look at the underlying causes, and only treat the outer symptoms, it might lead you to a place where more important aspects of your health might be involved?

And heartburn is only one example. I could refer to many others, such as nausea (you might be nauseous because you spend time with a person who continually transgresses your boundaries (check out some previous posts about boundaries), or someone who frequently hurts you emotionally, perhaps by being emotionally unavailable (see Emotional Unavailability: An Introduction). If these situations are not dealt with by you ... perhaps by looking at yourself to figure our why you allow such behavior ... you may need to deal with them in a very physical way some years hence ... so the little email from your body in the guise of nausea is hugely valuable.

Check your mail frequently ... regard it as a gift, as you would regard mail from someone you love very much. Think of it in that way, and start paying attention to the messages.


Also visit my book website: www.gabriellakortsch.com where you may download excerpts or read quotations from any of my books (also in Spanish & German). My latest book Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin is available globally on Amazon in print & Kindle. You can also obtain it (or any of my other books) via Barnes & Noble.

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