A healthy and happy life means a life free from diseases and filled with mental peace and satisfaction. Yet there are diseases for which we may not be in control while various other diseases may be the manifestation of certain problems happening elsewhere away from the affected area.
A number of physical ailments whose root causes are not actually known to us may be triggered off by mental processes like stress and anxiety. Such diseases are known as psychosomatic disorders which apparently don’t seem to have any physiological basis that has prompted the disease to occur.
Psychosomatic disorders are rooted in the mental processes that get triggered through a person’s cognitive style as well as the coping styles used to handle daily stress and tensions. Sometimes most of us may fall short of effective means to handle stress and anxieties which eventually take form through psychosomatic disorders.
Psychosomatic disorders may essentially affect people who may harbor negative attitude, suffer from chronic stress or may be the victim of a stressful traumatic event. Therefore psychosomatic disorders can’t be cured or combated effectively unless the underlying psychological causes are identified. Once the psychological problem is detected psychotherapy and stress management can be effectively applied to fight psychosomatic disorders.
Common psychosomatic diseases
Often we may suffer from skin diseases or irritable bowel syndromes which may not have a proper physiological reason. Psychosomatic disorders may happen due to mental processes but these in most cases are not unreal and should be given proper treatment.
Headaches, pain disorders, sexual dysfunctions, hypertension, hypochondriasis are some examples of psychosomatic disorders which actually don’t happen due to an initial physiological problem but get triggered due to stress induced immunity suppression.
The body and mind work in total union and one affects the other significantly to the extent of causing serious illnesses. While several physiological diseases like terminal illnesses and chronic ailments may affect mind by making the person feel depressed and withdrawn similarly mental processes and stress can also affect the body in a vital way resulting in ailments and diseases.
During an emotionally depressive phase we may sometimes go through various physical discomforts and sicknesses as well. Chronic ailments like digestive problems, nausea, headaches and various cramps are the usual manifestations of psychosomatic disorders. Ulcers, high blood pressure and various skin problems like eczema may also be diagnosed as psychosomatic disorders.
Hypochondriasis is a direct manifestation of a mental process in which an individual assumes that he might be suffering from a disease which actually isn’t there. A simple infection may be regarded as a hazardous ailment and the individual remains in constant stress and fear.
We may not even realize how stress is affecting our lives until it’s too late. If we contemplate on the various physical ailments we might be suffering from we may find that most of such occurrences are usually of psychosomatic nature. Therefore an understanding of how stress affects our body leading to various ailments and possible stress management techniques can make us well-equipped to fight against psychosomatic disorders.
How stress and mental processes cause psychosomatic disorders
Stress is an undeniable part of our existence which is required in moderate amounts to keep us motivated, alert and in performing condition. However though most of us may be going through similar stressors all of us may not be equipped in the same ways to handle stressful situations.
All of us have various expectations and goals in life which may be realistic or unrealistic. Conflict occurs when we have unrealistic aspirations and are unable to see our inability to fulfill those. Therefore frustration occurs giving way to stress. Having aspirations is positive but to get stressed and feel defeated is something that unconsciously affects us physically.
Apart from such stressors there are also the daily hassles, work pressure, pressure to maintain balance between home and work all of which lead to chronic stress. Chronic stress creates negative impact on the immune system. Human beings are equipped with normal stress responses which consist of making the body get ready by making all physiological resources like energy, immunity and brain alertness available to fight a real challenging situation.
A real challenging situation is that in which the body has been injured or is being attacked by an infection. Therefore the body gets prepared to fight a disease or heal after an injury. But if the body is under constant stress the regular usage of physiological resources can lead to exhaustion of such resources thereby impairing immunity power and eventually giving in to various unexpected diseases.
Stress management to prevent psychosomatic disorders
Before going into stress management we must understand that stress in itself is not a negative entity; it’s the way we respond or react to stress that determines the degree and type of results and manifestations we may face. Every individual has a unique mental makeup which is different from others and therefore the way we react to different situations and the resulting stressors may also vary significantly.
One person may give in to chronic ailments and another may face a sudden heart attack while even another person may not be affected at all with any vital ailment. Thus we need to understand how actually stress affects us and what we can do to minimize the negative effects of stress.
When we are find two people going through more or less the same kind of stressors but behaving differently physiologically it means that the person who isn’t affected with physical ailments has a better immunity power and can combat stress effectively to live a healthy life. Stress management is about teaching the techniques by which we can minimize the negative effects of stress thereby ensuring ourselves a healthy happy life.
Stress is an inseparable part of our life and hence we must build a lifestyle that takes care of the effects of our chronic stress by building our immune power physically as well as mentally. Stress management builds a sense of fortification within us by strengthening our physical systems and also helping us to develop coping styles to handle our emotions more effectively.
Having proper nutrition and healthy diet, taking enough rest and sleep, doing regular exercise and meditation, taking out time to pamper the self through body massage and also maintaining proper social life can help dilute the negative effects of stress to a great extent.
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