May 13

A Connection for Life : Body and Psyche (Psychosomatic Illness)

All of us have heard of it – the ‘mysterious’ effects of the psyche on the human body. Indeed, latest studies show that we can imagine our constitution like the fuel pump in a car: its performance defines whether our ‘vehicle’ can drive with full force, if it starts to stutter – or in extreme cases even ceases its service. Whether our soul suffers or groans will always affect its ‘life partner’: our body.

Heart and circulatory diseases, such of the digestive system, problems with spine and joints, but also fluctuations in hormone levels or neurotransmitter imbalances: psychological burden is often a contributing cause. Also, mental states seem to influence the incidence of atopic dermatitis, diabetes and sexual problems as well as on the progression of cancer, as recent metastudies illustrate.

But let’s look the other way now and ask ourselves: what can we do to make it easier for our body? Most of all, it is important to cut down on all forms of stress (even if purely psychological), addictions and bad eating habits, all of which are often associated with depression as well. Meditation and Yoga are great to improve physical and mental balance. counseling and psychotherapy can help to get rid of the ‘millstones of the soul’ – often surprisingly quick – and thus relieve our bodies from the creeping loss of vitality and energy.

(This short article is part of a weekly series dealing with psychological expat problems and general mental health issues and was published in various newspapers and magazines in Thailand, 2010)

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