Your Body Knows Your Trouble
What is it trying to tell you? Gaining the wisdom to know what your body needs is probably the greatest gift you can give yourself.
In his film “Manhattan”, Woody Allen says to Mia Farrow: “I can’t express anger. I grow a tumor instead”.
Some people might say our health is our birthright, but I would urge you to listen to your body rather than ignore signals of ill health. From 25 years of experience with holistic work, I believe it to be essential to learn to understand how our thoughts and emotions affect our health.What is it trying to tell you?
In the Western world, most people believe that the body is a thing – a machine that needs to be fueled with food and water and exercised in the hope that this will stop it from breaking down. If this machine does go wrong, then it can be mechanically repaired via surgery, radiation therapy or drugs, and life will go on as before – or so we think.
Meanwhile, in the East, the understanding is that our body is ENERGY and our body and mind is one unity. The core belief in this approach is that our emotions have energy that doesn’t disappear when held back or repressed as negative feelings. When negative or traumatic emotions begin to dominate, they will show up in a physical manifestation at some point, as we can’t keep suppressing them. This is exactly what Woody Allen refers to in his quote above.
Holistic therapists work on the basis that different body parts express certain feelings – we all have our own body-mind language or body compass. Geoffrey Cowley wrote in Newsweek Magazine: “People may not be surprised that they blush when they are embarrassed, that a frightening thought can set their hearts racing, or a sudden piece of bad news can throw all their systems temporarily out of whack. Yet they find it hard to believe that mental abstractions like loneliness or sadness can also, somehow, have an impact on their bodies.”
If we pay attention to the symptoms and their effects, we might understand the connections in our body compass. As an example, look at your neck and throat: this area symbolises the bridge between your head and heart. You swallow your reality and express your feelings via your throat. A drooping head implies a hopeless, resigned attitude and an inability to face what lies ahead. A stiff or painful neck can suggest that you may only see your own point of view and be unwilling to let go – due to stubbornness or inflexibility – to consider others’ views. Each body part relates to different feelings, and it is an interesting journey of discovery when you start to see the connections.
Our stomach has a very important role in our digestion process and helps keep us alive. Food moves from the mouth, through the oesophagus and to the stomach in order to continue the process of digestion in the small and large intestines. Most of my clients over the years have had health issues related to their digestion – this is more likely for women than men. The intestines correspond to the absorption and elimination of our physical and non-physical reality. Emotionally, it is here we process our “stuff” and where we digest our intake and our responses to what life throws at us. We often use the word “belly” for our intestines, which is slightly less descriptive and suits some people.
“Our belly is our feeling center”, Debbie Shapiro writes in Your Body Speaks Your Mind, where we have gut feelings or can get emotionally “hit in the gut”. One of the main health issues in life is that we do not let our negative feelings go or pass; we hold on to them forever. We believe putting a lid on our emotions is safe and the best solution for our trauma. We do not realise that our feelings get locked in the belly, unable to find expression or release. Do not cling on to what we no longer need, be it guilt, control, the past, distress, grief or sadness. As a therapist, we have tools to teach you and therapies to support you in letting go of unwanted feelings. Holding on prolongs the pain; let the fear of letting go be the past and trust the process towards a healthier life.
The Holistic Life Coach
Holistic & Natural Solutions for Health and Wellbeing