Emotional content causes real physical symptoms in the body

Consider the emotions that you come to recognise within yourself daily, weekly, and monthly; anxiety, fear, anger, rage, sadness, depression, frustration, guilt, and many others. As humans, these are normal but it is when they become long-term and problematic that we need to find out how and importantly why they are affecting us physically. Or more truthfully, psycho-physiologically. What this means is that the symptoms and pain you are experiencing are very real but they are coming from your suppressed and repressed, unhelpful emotional content, as opposed to anything structural.


There are a few select hypnotherapists who have done intensive training and gained knowledge as mind-body therapists. They have gained a strong understanding that, if we do not find an outlet to express these negative emotions, they can become stuck or trapped in our minds and bodies and manifest into what feels like very real painful physical symptoms.

These can present themselves as back pain neck pain knee pain, fibromyalgia migraines irritable bladder tinnitus, chest pain tendonitis irritable bowel syndrome (in fact, a variety of aches and pains) as well as debilitating conditions such as chronic fatigue, psoriasis, asthma, etc. In fact, once you rule out cancer, a tumour, an autoimmune disease, or a fracture, etc there is a strong chance that your symptoms are all emotionally induced.

Why do these emotions manifest?

There are three main reasons why these emotions manifest. The first is adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) - if we grow up feeling unsafe or unhappy for a long period of time, our nervous system becomes very dysregulated. In other words, our body remains hypervigilant waiting for the next metaphorical lion to leap out at us from the jungle.

When our nervous system gets activated, it is important that we learn to feel safe enough to calm ourselves down. Typically, it is our environment or the people that we associate with that tends to set off our nervous system. This high-alert feeling is controlled by the part of our brain called our amygdala. If we do not feel safe enough of the time as a child then this part of our brain does not fully develop and as we grow into adulthood we can literally become stuck in this high-alert state, unable to self-regulate easily. You may be able to feel it in your body as tension or stiffness, this then affects the rest of your muscles, nerves, fibres, and internal organs.

As you grow up into adulthood, you may find that your body goes into a high alert state more easily, particularly when you experience high emotions, feel out of control of a situation and do not feel safe. Take for example at the moment - the nation is gripped with concerns of inflation, energy prices, etc.

This fear, which can start as a fearful thought such, "How am I going to pay all my bills?" develops into a feeling because the mind and body are connected. You will find that if these fearful thoughts go on long enough, they will manifest into physical symptoms displaying themselves as back pain, IBS or a migraine headache indeed a variety of psycho-physiological symptoms.

Emotions such as fear and rage are often triggered by our memory of past experiences. Perhaps with the example above in mind, we grew up in an environment where there was little money for example and now subconsciously we are being re-triggered. 

CBT hypno-psychotherapists in particular understand that it is the way that you think about something that can affect your feelings and behaviour, so learning how to control your fearful thoughts or any other types of emotional thoughts can help. For example, by not jumping to conclusions about things will turn out without any evidence, etc. Another great way to self-regulate is to have an outlet for offloading your feelings. Being taught journaling techniques for example can be so helpful.

It is said that it is not what happens to us but how we handle it that makes all the difference. People who develop mind-body symptoms typically have what we call a 'Type A personality'. These people may be perfectionists who strive hard, they may be people-pleasers worrying about what others think of them and also people who like to follow rules and regulations strictly. So, when someone does something or something happens that feels unfair for example, you can be triggered by rage or anger. Again, if we do not find an outlet via asserting ourselves through communication or another release, the emotional anger and rage will sit within us until it eventually finds a way out possibly as back pain, neck pain fibromyalgia or a whole host of aches and pains.

Chronic fatigue is often triggered by a feeling of overwhelm or depression when everything seems too much to handle, it is as if our brain shuts down to protect us and tries to keep us feeling safe by being too tired to focus on what is really bothering us in our lives.

If you are struggling with your emotions that are manifesting as physical symptoms, find a hypnotherapist like myself that specialises in mind-body disorders and neuroplastic pain or TMS (tension myoneural syndrome). By working on and resolving what is going on in your life, your symptoms will ease greatly and most likely subside altogether and, as 95% of our thoughts and feelings are subconscious, hypnotherapy is a great place to start.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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South Woodford, London, E18 1BD
Written by Louise Levy, Snr Clinical & Cognitive Hypnotherapist, Clinical Supervisor
South Woodford, London, E18 1BD

Louise Levy is a senior(Acc) Clinical Hypnotherapist and Cognitive Behavioural Hypno-Psychotherapist, Mind - Body Therapist Master of NLP, CBT Life Coach who uses an integrative approach to bring about effective, rapid change.
Louise treats adults, couples adolescents and children age 6+.

www.louiselevy.co.uk appointment face to face and Zoom

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