A few days leading up to me falling to the floor, I was starting to feel some anxiety rising up in me. I was in a situation where family dynamics were coming into play and my childhood issues were coming to the surface. As I said, I was moving boxes. And while I was moving those boxes, I was angry. In fact, I was yelling out loud in the family basement all by myself. About things that I had never expressed out loud before. I wasn't finished by the time my parents arrived home, but I went silent and kept it to myself. That's right, I closed the lid on it. And guess where I put it?
According to Dr. John E. Sarno, author of Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection, when our brains sense the rising of emotions from the subconscious mind (the ones that have been hiding out on us), a psychological phenomena occurs that creates pain in the body to distract us from having to deal with these feelings. As Dr. Sarno explains in his above mentioned book:
Many of them are either unpleasant, painful, or embarrassing, in some way unacceptable to us and/or society, and so we repress them. The kinds of feelings referred to are anxiety, anger, and low self-esteem (feelings of inferiority). They are repressed because the mind doesn't want us to experience them, nor does it want them to be seen by the outside world.So our brain thinks it's doing us a favor. However, as Dr. Sarno points out, given the conscious choice, most of would decide to deal with the bad feelings and skip the literal pain in the ass!
So now that we know that pain in the body is a message (that we have some feelings to reconcile with) we can certainly short-circuit the pain by going straight past the brain and ask ourselves what it is that's bothering us.
In my case, my time in the basement triggered my little girl feelings that had gone unacknowledged for a long time. In other words, these feelings were being stored in my unconscious (or subconscious) just waiting to be heard by me - the adult Lisa. Little Lisa was upset that her parents were often too busy and weren't always there to help, that she had to be responsible for her little sister, and that her little sister didn't need to do anything. To a child, these are big frustrations. But when you're a child, you may not be able to articulate this, and you want to please your parents and be the good kid. So, feelings get buried, only to resurface years later at unexpected times (this is why many try to avoid family holidays, as these old feelings get triggered and bring about emotional tension that has been living under the surface for a long time). Awkward!
So the article led me to the book, which led me to revisiting those subconscious feelings. Once I realized the pain was only the messenger, it subsided. And I was able to give those emotions the attention they needed, so that I could let them go. Finally, I am free (of that one).
I will literally be in the basement a lot this summer, which means more time delving into my subconscious, and I love the irony of that! I will embrace the lessons and the healing that will come out of this and view it as a blessing in disguise. #ThinkPositive
Please note: The book has so much more insight to offer beyond my brief example. I highly recommend it to all who have acute or chronic pain in the body that does not stem from a structural cause (he also refers to stomach ulcers, colitis, tension/migraine headaches, tendonitis, chronic fatigue, etc.). It has proven to shift many out of their pain (without drugs, surgery, or exercise) never to return again.
What has your experience been in relation to the mind/body connection? Do you believe in it, or not? Tell me your thoughts below in the comment section.
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