A Brief Guide to Psychosomatics:
How the Mind Can Destroy Your Body
(Or Heal It)
By Amber Wilson
The human mind is complex and extremely powerful. It can destroy your body or elevate it to a wellness. Anger, anguish, stress, happiness, and many different types of mental states always have a huge impact on how the body functions. But the question is; what is the connection with your health?
Well, Personality issues such as behavioral, social and psychological attributes start from the mind. For instance, habits are propagated by the mind. It tells you that you must smoke and usually, if you give in to the demands of the mind, the repercussions thereof could be negative or positive. It is to say, without exercising caution or control over the human mind, its influence can be a cause for the substantial degeneration of physical health. But it doesn’t mean everything will always be on the downside.
There are millions of people who have been healed, thanks to the immense power of the mind. If you’ve always believed that what you think is what you become, then it is imperative to note that power of the mind is beyond measure albeit manageable. Meditation illustrates how this works. Usually, when you sit alone somewhere and let your mind ascend into a state of thoughtless awareness, many things are bound to happen. Technically, with the mind heavily involved during meditation, it is an indispensable way of healing the human body.
Understanding Psychosomatics and Related Illnesses
Scientifically, psychosomatic is a combination of the psyche, which is the mind and soma, which is the body. The connection here is that a state of mind at a given point in time can have either undesirable or desirable impact on one’s physical health. As a result, people who let anxiety or stress affect their physical well-being tend to suffer from psychosomatic disorders.
- If you’ve suffered a fracture on both legs and your mind keeps you imagining about worse scenarios such as the possibility of living the rest of your life in a wheelchair, it means psyche has a huge toll on chances of recovery. It becomes a cause of depression, anxiety, and stress.
- The converse is also true, in which case, mental illnesses can affect the body negatively. People who are mentally unstable and do not have access to treatment plans such as psychotherapy may degenerate into a state of carelessness. Some even go as far as harming themselves or even subject their bodies to a hunger strike.
Patient.info looks at broader aspects of psychosomatics.The website defines it as a correlation between mental factors and physical well-being. And while it is not easy to prove how for instance, mental state (anxiety/stress) spur illness such as stomach ulcers, it is a lot easier to establish a link with the following:
- Chest pains
- Increased respiratory rate
- Mouth dryness
You may also want to ask; how does anxiety bring about the aforementioned physical responses or uneasiness? Well, the human body transmits impulses through the nervous system and when one is suffering from psyche related issues, the brain releases a fright and flight response hormone (adrenaline) which in turn causes excessive sweating, dry mouth, and acid reflux and sometimes, chest pains.
Mayo Clinic defines Psychosomatics is a study of psychiatric illnesses and medical conditions. It divides the latter into subsets like: Depression, Anxiety, Gastrointestinal disorders, Disorders relating to functional movement and Chronic dizziness.
In worse cases, people suffering from anxiety or depression may feel unwanted and a result, harbor suicidal thoughts. It is a huge psychological problem. An Abstract from study published on psychoneuen-journal online investigates Psychosomatics by placing emphasis on body impulses through the central nervous system and the roles the human brain play.
Using Knowledge of Psychosomatics for Wellness
Now, having understood how the mind can have a direct influence on one’s physical health and vice versa, many would ask; what then works as the best medical remedy?
Well, cultivating a positive mindset (psyche) will undoubtedly have a direct and a huge impact on a quest for recovery albeit, not an end in itself. You also need to take care of yourself.
Healthcare professionals may want to find out about the following before rolling out an effective treatment plan:
- Stress levels, how it is affecting your well-being and a proper solution
- Is anxiety the psyche factor contributing to poor physical health?
- Depression and a treatment plan.
Treatment plans thus vary. Involvement of psychological or medical counselors, as well as administration of comprehensive Medicare, would go along in not just easing the symptoms but also help a patient cultivate and regain positive mindset during sickness.
Exercise for both mental and physical health is also another way of having control over the mind for well-being.
There is a physical aspect to every mental illness and there also a mental flipside to physical being. However, getting out of potentially risky situations depends on how well one understands these correlations. And with the help of a professional (psychotherapist, psychologist or psychiatrist) who understands human psychometrics, things will move from worse to better.
Amber Wilson is an educator and an experienced technical writer currently employed as a content strategist at a range of educational websites. She is also helping ESL students with their college homework
as a volunteer.