This is the title of a book I read in the 1980’s by John Harrison, a doctor, naturopath, acupuncturist and psychologist. It’s a catchy title and it opened up my mind to the link between emotions and health. Of course many people have written on this topic and it is now much more accepted in mainstream circles that what we think and how we feel will have a direct impact on our health.
John Harrison took this a step further in his groundbreaking book, by telling us that most chronic health problems come from our childhood, where we had an inability to cope with the feelings that accompanied negative experiences, like physical and emotional abuse in one form or another. So as children, we shut off a part of ourselves, compartmentalise sections of our brain and close down our hearts to a certain extent in an effort to not think about the negative memories. Unfortunately this tactic only works for a while. Eventually, these blockages cause us ill health which may present itself as arthritis or stiffness in the joints, a low functioning immune system, autoimmune disorders and thyroid disease and even cancer, depending on the part of the body that may have been affected or the part that has taken the most impact from our shutting down. When we shut down a particular part of our body that area will not be receiving the right amount of energy, circulation and love that it should have and will eventually become blocked. We can sometimes feel this in the energy centres or chakras of our body.
As an example, a young woman who has been sexually abused may end up with cervical cancer, uterine fibroids or endometriosis, conditions that might compromise this person’s ability to have children or to function fully in a sexual relationship. Shame and guilt would possibly take away from the pleasure of being in a female body and in some instances cause a dislike of these parts of the body as they are associated with the past pain and trauma. Less severe trauma might cause painful periods. Constant stress as a child around a parent being alcoholic or just not being able to be emotionally available for the child, may possibly cause a reduction in digestive enzymes and/or an imbalance in the gut microbiome and therefore lead to such problems as allergies, bloating, constipation and even more anxiety or depression in adult life. The gut brain connection has now been fully scientifically researched (see my previous article on “Treating Depression and Anxiety Naturally”). This may not of course always be the case as some people resolve their childhood stress more easily than others. However, in cases of chronic illness, it is good to look at the background of what issues from the past might still be affecting the situation.
Going back to John Harrison’s theory, he proposed that we become sick as we have not dealt with the strong emotions from a negative experience in childhood and that the illness or disease is protecting us from having to face up to and fully feel these emotions. In this way our disease is to some extent keeping us healthy. He also proposed that when the pain of the illness becomes equal to the pain of our negative childhood emotions, then we will be prepared and ready to face the emotions and resolve the trauma by facing up to our fears. This would then enable us to say, forgive the perpetrator of the abuse we received, acknowledging that they also had their own fears and issues to deal with and that they did the best they could at the time (in the case of an emotionally absent parent), or forgiving ourselves where we may have, as a child, thought we had caused or deserved that abuse. Forgiveness does not mean you condone the act, but you can forgive the person and move on. This gives freedom and healing.
Gabor Mate, a Hungarian-born Canadian physician with a background in family practice and a special interest in childhood development and trauma, says that most chronic illnesses have a basis in childhood stress and this impacts on our lifelong physical health. His book, When The Body Says No, contains scientific evidence of how stress physically affects us as children and continues to do so until we can manage to resolve these issues in our life that need healing. Our bodies, according to Mate, will say no for us when we cannot manage to do this. I can personally relate to this when I find myself not being able to say no to a social function I would rather not attend, and end up with a headache which then becomes my excuse not to go! I’m sure a lot of us can relate to this.
Candice Pert in Molecules of Emotion talks about her scientific research into finding the specific emotion that relates to a specific illness. She studied the influenza virus and found that if someone was happy in their life, they were producing a lot of positive hormones (i.e. serotonin, dopamine etc) and these hormones would then sit on certain receptor sites in the body. They were the same receptor sites that the flu virus would attach to but if these receptor sites were already full with happy hormones, there would be no room for the flu virus to take hold.
Ill health is a very complex topic and we all face many challenges today in regard to remaining healthy. We are bombarded with toxins from many sources, an overload of electromagnetic radiation, drugs, vaccines, viruses and pollution. Sometimes it feels like there is no escape.
However, if we can come to terms with our past and are willing to face any pain that we might have blocked off, then a greater path to healing will reveal itself to us. Eating a healthy diet is easier when you love all parts of yourself and therefore don’t sabotage yourself by binging on junk food or punish yourself by overeating or indulge in extreme dieting or smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol to a point that becomes harmful to your health. Loving and accepting ourselves and forgiving others leads us to make better health choices in our lives.
Suzanne Staples ND DBM Naturopath Herbalist Homoeopath Email firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Suzanne Staples