Do you know how to listen to your body?

Updated: Jun 1


Is it common for you to end a working day with pain in the upper back and shoulders? And to consider that you have not done anything physically demanding to justify such pain? Often, our body tries to talk to us. Unfortunately, we are poorly trained to listen to it and only hear its calls for help when the pain has shouted too loud to be ignored.


There are countless reports of “pain that doesn't make sense” or without a detectable physical cause. Talking to people in the context of therapy, we will unravel the origin of these physical discomforts: back, shoulder and neck pain, jaw tension, headaches and migraines, accumulated tension in the wrists, arms and legs, intestinal discomfort (and more severe gastric problems), tightness in the throat, and chest "heavy" or "tight" - these being some of the most common examples.


Our body has a direct access to the central nervous system and there is a constant transmission of information with the brain, which is why the body is able to express itself in this way. We can hold our breath to contain feelings of discomfort and heaviness from our daily lives, for example, and this translates into a tightness in the chest that becomes painful. And that's how the body talks and demands attention, trying to release feelings that we want to hide, that we avoid or don't care about.


A psychologist will look and listen to all the parts - verbal and non-verbal - that a patient “verbalizes” in consultation. These ignored feelings look for a way out; they need to be understood and perhaps given a new meaning. Body and mind constitute a functional unit and, however absent the body seems to be, due to an overvaluation and primacy given to the rational and conscious mind, it is imperative to listen to this unit.


If psychological suffering (pain, guilt, resentment, shame, anger) is not released through emotions and thoughts, communicated in words and discharged/released in actions, the path to psychosomatic illness is opened. Anxiety is one of the sufferings that most overtly disturbs normal organic functioning, often having a connection with intestinal disorders.


Affection disconnected from the lived experience diffuses through the psychological apparatus and the body (somatic device), accumulating in the form of tension, in "containment bags" that are either expelled to the outside in emotional and behavioral outbursts, or inward, causing imbalance or even organic disease.


“Pleasure, joy and security or tensions, pain and illnesses are manifestations of the emotional life represented in each person's body”. Thus, we invite you to sharpen your ear and listen openly to your body, without judgment, just trying to understand what it is trying to communicate to you.



Sources:

https://www.ippc.pt/o-corpo-e-a-suas-dores-a-perspetiva-da-psicoterapia-corporal/

https://www.clinico-psicologo.com/servicos/doenca-psicossomatica/

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