A person's legs floating in water.

While we discuss the Mind-Gut connection on a regular basis, one aspect that is rarely addressed to it’s fullest extent is the mind-EMOTION connection to illness and pain. Numerous studies have been done on this topic and while it isn’t necessarily the main cause of illness, pain and disease, the findings are substantial. 

We live in a world of physical/acute causation. Even in a holistic sense, we easily tie most ailments and issues to chronic inflammation and the gut. There is however another perspective to consider when it comes to those who suffer with autoimmune conditions, physical ailments and chronic pain: Emotions. 

In the book The Divided Mind, Sarno covers in lengthy detail why psychosomatic illness should be taken into account in most medical conditions. He states that the evidence for psychosomatic illness is so great that it is simply irresponsible for any practitioner to disregard it when treating a patient. 

Psychosomatic illness refers to the concept that the subconscious mind protects itself from intense trauma. We know this to be true in multiple instances such as abuse. Some individuals will block out traumatic memories or situations and this is the subconscious mind’s way of protecting the conscious mind from what it believes to be too extreme for it to handle.

Sarno goes on to connect many chronic pain issues to repressed emotional expression and often childhood experiences and home dynamics. He believes that the emotional “body” plays just as much of a role in our ailments as our psychological health. The conscious mind vs. the unconscious mind. This is virtually “2 minds.” One triggers emotional responses while the other is basically the storage. So “Mind 1” looks to protect its emotionally reactive “Mind 2” from traumatic memories or emotions associated with them such as repressed rage and fear. Where this all connects to the physical body is that when the unconscious mind perceives a dangerous emotion, it is thought to deflect from the emotion by focusing the “pain” or “anger” elsewhere in the body such as joint pain, chronic autoimmune flareups, migraines, back problems and even mental health conditions etc. 

While we understand the serious and very real effect that diet, lifestyle and stress have on our physical health, there is real merit in the effects of the unconscious emotional body. Holistic health is absolutely a combination of Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual and by learning how to navigate all areas within ourselves, we can seek to achieve a new level of healing. A new level of living. 

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