Psychosomatic Illness



It has been proven for a long time now that physical illness and mental distress are inter related. The word psychosomatic means exactly that: psycho, originally from the Greek word psyche for the mind and soma, from the Greek word for the body.


Someone facing an impending stressful situation eg an interview, exam or driving test may experience physical symptoms such as:


  • butterflies in the stomach
  • palpitations
  • sweaty palms
  • rash
  • tickly cough
  • dryness in the mouth


However once the distress decreases the symptoms usually also decrease.


When we are worried or upset about something but we are burying our heads in the sand to avoid it the worry can manifest itself in our bodies instead. Here are some ways our bodies can hold our worries and stress:


  • asthma
  • eczema
  • headaches
  • digestive problems
  • insomnia


If we spend time thinking about what is troubling us and then talk about it and/or find help or a solution then we may well find that in time the symptoms will subside.


An example of this could be that we are avoiding talking with our partner about something which has upset us. We may wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to get back to sleep. We are experiencing an underlying stress which will continue until we can find a good time to talk the matter through. This will clear the air between us which will be a relief and then our normal healthy pattern of sleep should return.


Our bodies are wonderful ecosystems that communicate with us constantly if we listen to them.


Learning to be more mindful of our bodies and how we are feeling will help our physical and mental health.


Our bodies tell us what we need to know – both about our somas and our psyches.


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