Healing Beyond the Body: Emotional Layers in Health

Liesel Teversham

Liesel helps HSP introverts to embrace their sensitivity as a superpower, and overcome obstacles so they can thrive. She also works with clients to solve their health issues, and has authored 2 books. More here.

Published on 2024/05/22

“Negative emotions are messengers delivering urgent news
from faraway lands you lost contact to
Don’t shoot the messengers, they are gardeners
bringing tears to water the seeds of a new you”

– Valentina Quarta –

(Sidenote: No emotion is ‘negative’ in my world! These are the poet’s original words.)

Two Problems

We often have 2 problems when we have a dis-ease or health challenge (or other problem):

  • The actual dis-ease / condition / problem and
  • Our reactions to it: How we feel and think about that condition, what we make it mean, our projections into the future, and how we behave as a result

Our Body is a Healing Machine

Our bodies are incredible ‘healing machines’. They know how to repair and renew. I’ve marvelled at the remarkable ability of our body to grow new skin and repair a wound.

I’ve had 2 cancerous moles removed. I watched it heal with great interest. For a while it looks terrible, with gnarly ugly, raised edges to the wound. It looks like it’ll stay that way forever. Then slowly and unbelievably, the edges become softer, the red starts disappearing, the scar fades and becomes a thin, white line. Remarkable.

Another example:

My father in law recently had a massive wound on his calf muscle, where a skin transplant was necessary. Unfortunately, he kept having infections with resistant bacteria (MSRA and pseudomonas) in the tissue; the surgeon was not willing to operate only for the skin grafts to be infected and rejected. So, for months he had a vacuum wound dressing, to give the skin a chance to heal on its own.

I saw a photo the other day of the progress from beginning to end and it absolutely blew my mind. His body closed up the skin from a huge, gaping hole to almost-closed, with no stitches (it could not be stitched because of the size of the wound).

Yes, the body has remarkable capacity to heal. Why would that only be true for the skin? The rest of our body can do that, too.

The extra layers we pack on

Then, we so often add extra emotional layers for the body-mind to deal with… And of course, not on purpose.

It happens because we’re very human, and our brain is designed to keep us safe. It will try to figure things out, and put our attention on it so we can solve the problem. Where there’s pain, we pay attention… which usually creates more pain (another article’s topic) and on and on the cycle goes.

We stress. We worry, we fear, we project how bad it could get in the future. We’re anxious about the condition, we fret, we fuss, we lie awake and don’t get good rest. Our nervous systems are in overdrive.

All of that creates a complex situation. Not only is the body trying to do the healing job that it’s designed to, but now it also has the added emotional stress. That creates an extra burden on the system’s resources.

Sometimes our body can manage that, and we get well. Other times the stress is just too high, and that can start impacting other areas of our body and mind, too.

The best chance for healing

I do believe we give our body-mind the best chance for healing and regeneration when we can let go of as much stress and unhelpful emotion as possible.

Note — I’m not saying emotion is bad or negative!

Of course, our ultimate aim is that the health condition heals, so that’s where we want to see progress. And yet — often it is not possible to even get near the root cause or origin of the disease, if we’re carrying so many layers of emotion about the fact that we have the condition!

Do any of these seem familiar?

  • This disease/condition terrifies me
  • I’m scared I’ll never be the same
  • My freedom or independence has been taken away
  • This condition is consuming me, I can’t think of anything else
  • I’m so tired of dealing with it
  • I feel like ‘I AM ‘ this disease (it’s created a new identity)
  • I want my old life back, I grieve for the old me
  • I am sick with worry
  • I’ll never get over this
  • ‘So and so’ had this and they never recovered
  • My doctor said: (fill in all the horrible things that medical professionals say without considering the impact on their patients)
  • Google says: (fill in all the awful predictions that Google has put into your brain (or Yahoo/Bing, if you got a second opinion there 🙄))
  • I don’t yet know what’s wrong, doctors have no answers, and that makes me even more anxious

Pictures or sensations

Or, maybe you’re more aware of images in your mind of the progression. Amazing how that can happen in the blink of an eye.

Personally, my incredibly imaginative brain has shown me the whole projection in a flash… I feel a niggle in my tummy, and my brain shows me a picture of receiving a terrible diagnosis, and the next scene is on my deathbed or at my grave. All in technicolour. 😁

Or perhaps, you’re more aware of sensations in your body. Like feeling the butterflies of anxiety, nausea due to worry, adrenaline in your arms and legs, tight shoulders, or constant headaches from muscle tension.

Worried about someone else?

Of course, we not only carry concerns about our own health. We also carry the wellbeing of our precious loved ones in our heart, brain and body. If you’re worried about the health of a loved one, you may experience the same thing.

You might have stressful thoughts like :

  • I need to get them to do xyz to heal, they’re not doing enough
  • I’m terrified, I don’t want them to leave me
  • I’m not coping / I won’t cope if they don’t survive

And you might have the same happen with pictures in your brain about their health progression, or sensations in your own body from the stress you’re experiencing.

One thing at a time

Where we start with any problem, is the thoughts, feelings, sensations we have about the actual issue. Often, they’re like ‘gate keepers’ that can prevent us from looking at the real problem. We need a way to soothe and comfort them, so that our brain can think straight. And then we can put our wise thinking caps on, and relax into our intuition.

This is where EFT comes in

I simply love EFT for how effective it is to help us clean out all the worry, fear, anxiety, grief, sadness, disappointment, dread, resentment, other emotions, thoughts and beliefs we have — about ourselves or the condition.

This article is a bit long already so in another article, I’ll share ways to work with this. Alternatively, you can find some of my YouTube videos and tap along if you have a condition that is a big project.

Here are a few options to watch along and use EFT (tapping) with me:

How to Make Progress with Big Problems (youtube.com)

How to Be Gentle with ourselves while working through Big Issues (youtube.com)

How to get relief from stress through silent EFT tapping (youtube.com)

EFT Quick Tapping Tip: Silent Tapping (youtube.com)

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