The Stress-Dis-ease Connection
The new discipline of Psycho-neuro-immunology has provided compelling evidence, with information coming from many diverse fields, that there exists a close relationship between the brain and the immune system. A person’s emotional makeup and response to continued stress may be the cause of many diseases such as rheumatic disorders, inflammatory bowel disorders, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and many others. Extensive research has shown that for example stress, isolation and repressed emotions and loneliness is associated with diminished immune activity (Maté p6-8).
It seems that the way we have been conditioned to live our lives may significantly contribute to illness. Those who experience a high level of stress since childhood become addicted to stress and feel something is wrong or missing in the absence of stress.
It is unfortunately true that for the time we live in today, the higher our economic development, the more distanced we become from emotional realities as we constantly pursue material wealth. In this process we become unaware of what is happening in our bodies and are therefore not able to self-protect and self-preserve. We find ourselves trapped in our demanding lifestyles and detached emotional patterns.
Our emotions which are connected to our most human needs can not act as a guideline to act in our best interest.
As Selye pointed out, stress is not just simply nervous tension or a subjective feeling. Stress is a set of physiological events in the body involving the brain, hormones, the immune system, the heart and many other organs. We may actually experience stress without being aware of it. What defines stress for each person, is a matter of personal history.
Research has identified three factors that universally lead to stress: Uncertainty, lack of information and lack of control. These factors are all experienced emotionally and in turn the coping strategies we develop over time. These coping strategies may however serve to maintain the problems . Therefor we often find that ‘the solution becomes the problem’.
Self-regulation / emotional competence is required to deal appropriately with emotions and the accompanying stress. This capacity unfortunately often lack in our society where the ‘absence of emotions are considered ‘cool’, where children often hear ‘don’t be so emotional’ don’t be so sensitive’, don’t be a cry baby’.
However, as research has indicated, emotional competence is what we need, almost like a compass, to be aware of and deal with the stresses of everyday life and to protect us from hidden stresses that pose a risk to our health.
Developing emotional competence often requires life-style changes in order to meet our crucial needs as human beings.
It is our best preventative medicine.
Through the process of Schema Therapy, combined with latest insights and knowledge gained from quantum physics, as applied to neuro-psychology, epi-genetics, neuro-immunology and several other fields , unhealthy beliefs and behaviour patterns resulting in high levels of stress and ill health , are addressed and reviewed to develop a more healthy and rewarding long term lifestyle.