The power of emotions to create physical symptoms


"Unresolved emotional issues have the power to significantly alter the physiology of the body, to the point that physical pain and fatigue are created."

It can be a revelation when people first hear the notion that emotions have the power to create physical symptoms.

It was for me!

Like most people, I was brought up believing that something physical causes something physical - eg, 'the reason my back is sore is because I lifted a heavy weight' or 'the reason my guts are sore is because of the food I am eating'...

However, after 30 years of deep exploration into the topic of emotions, and the connection between stress, negative emotions and symptoms, there is not a shred of doubt in my mind that unresolved emotional issues have the power to significantly alter the physiology of the body, to the point that physical pain and fatigue are created.

Emotional Digestion

Let's take the digestive tract as an example:

Yes, the food we are eating has a physical effect in our body, and can exacerbate digestive symptoms, but it's often not the real root cause of our digestive problems.


Because every cell, tissue and organ in the body has a dual function:

  1. A biological, physiological function - to process things chemically
  2. An emotional function - to process our life!

So the digestive tract does not only have to digest food - it has to digest our whole emotional life.

This is why we say things like 'I couldn't stomach that'. 'I was worried sick' or 'I found that hard to swallow'.

If we are unable to 'digest' our emotions, they literally get stuck somewhere along the digestive tract, causing inflammation and stress, and eventually turning 'dis-ease' into 'disease'.

This is often the real root cause of conditions like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), Crohns disease, Celiac disease, food intolerances and more.

Deeper Causes and Meaning to Back Pain

Here's another example: back problems.

Yes, we may strain our back lifting a heavy object, but it's still often not the real root reason it gave way. Our back may already have been weakened through emotional issues which have affected certain tissues (muscles, fascia, ligaments etc).

Whilst the biological function of the spine is to support our body, the emotional theme is emotional support. If we feel a lack of emotional support in our life, this will play out biologically / physiologically in the body, often in the spine.

So for example, in my 20's I strained by back cleaning my apartment windows: as I twisted my torso to reach the outside of the window of my first floor London flat, I felt a distinct strain in my lower back. It was the first time I had ever hurt my back. For 3 months I did nothing about it, until one day I realized that not being able to put my socks on was clearly not OK. I made my way to an osteopath who helped realign my spinal vertebrae and I felt better in a day.

However, over the next 20 years I regularly re-strained the same area in my lower back. Again and again I would find myself crumpled up on the floor in agony, my back in spasms, unable to move. Again and again I would have to visit the osteopath to get help. On occasion it was so bad I was given morphine to dull the pain. My back was just never fully healing...

...until 25 years later, after having done a considerable amount of introspection and learning about the power of stress, trauma and emotions to create physical symptoms, I finally had a light bulb moment and saw the root cause: the reason I kept 'putting my back out' was because I had never felt supported emotionally in my life. My back was giving way because it felt weak and unsupported, or more to the point I felt weak and unsupported emotionally.

As soon as the dots were connected, and I did some healing work around this issue, my back healed completely! It stopped 'going out' every few weeks. Eureka! This stuff works.

So it's important, actually essential, to understand that there are deeper and more meaningful causes at play in physical symptoms, something which most people are consistently missing: the root emotional stressors.

"To think that what happens to us emotionally is not affecting our physical body is erroneous"

We are not separate parts

The body-mind is a complete entity: physical body (flesh and bones, internal organs...), mind (thoughts, beliefs, memories, patterns, habits, behaviours, consciousness...), emotions(feelings) and spirit (higher self, true self...).

Everything that happens on one level affects all other levels simultaneously, and there is no side-stepping this. To think that what happens to us emotionally is not affecting our physical body is erroneous, and indicative of a 'body-head' split, the result of 'living in our head' (and not being aware of what goes on below the neck) - a very common phenomenon in our busy, busy, technologically-driven world!

"Emotions buried alive never die".

A word on emotions

And here's another truth bomb: you cannot think your emotions away

Most people are aware they have feelings and emotions, and in general tend to prefer the 'good-feeling' feelings and want to avoid the not-so-good ones. This is understandable.

But not feeling negative emotions is not as simple as ignoring them, because 'emotions buried alive never die'. Following the laws of physics, once emotional energy is generated inside the body, it cannot be destroyed and will not simply disappear because 'we want it to' or imagine it will.

We cannot 'think' our emotions away. Why? Because emotions are irrational and thoughts are rational. They are two completely different processes which need different approaches for resolution.

Most people have not been taught how to self-process negative emotional energy from their body-mind. Paradoxically, they have taught themselves and become experts in how to bury, ignore, hide and literally 'swallow' their feelings. This habit always starts in childhood, the time when we learn our habits, and then becomes unconscious, so that by the time we are adults we have no idea of our unhealthy emotional habits... until they start to play out as unhappiness, symptoms or life problems.

Of all the clients I have seen over the past 12 years with physical illness or injuries, there is not one of them who has not had unresolved emotional issues at the core of their physical symptoms. Not one!

What does this mean?

It means that learning how to manage your emotional life is essential for good health, illness prevention, health maintenance and authentic happiness.

If you do not know how to self-process and manage your emotions, it will be difficult to be fully be happy, or even healthy.

"You can learn how to make friends with your feelings".

The solution?

Learn how to manage your emotional life. Learn how to manage emotions like anger, frustration, sadness, grief, loneliness, boredom, fear, disappointment, hurt, upset, shame, guilt and more. Learn how to not be affected by what's going on internally (thoughts) and externally (events and people). Become the master of your emotional life.

Believe it or not, it doesn't have to be that hard, or even scary, to do this. You just need the right guidance and strategies. You can learn how to make friends with your feelings and symptoms. You can learn not to be afraid of feeling your feelings. It's all possible with the right tools.

If you're serious about your health, remember to remember that emotions create physiological change inside your body: good-feeling emotions enhance your health, not-so-good feelings can harm it. Be emotionally savvy and take care of your emotional wellbeing!


The Emotional Alchemy Academy

PS - remember to check out the free online trainings run by the Emotional Alchemy Academy

Emotional Digestion

Watch a video below on emotional digestion!

In this episode I share how and why our digestive system is designed to do far more than only digest food! It also has to digest our emotions!

(This video is excerpted from the 'Emotional Health Transformation' online training.

Watch on Youtube

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