by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
We live in a world where many healthcare practitioners and patients believe the majority of our health issues can be solved with a medication, a surgery, or a procedure. At Women to Women, we noticed a long time ago that our emotions play a large role in feeling better physically. And in some cases, without addressing these emotions, modern medicine can only get us so far. Every day I talk to women about the connections between their emotions and their physical wellness. Some women are surprised to hear about these connections, while others are highly aware of them but don’t know what to do. I have one patient who notices changes in her vision when she is under stress, another who has trouble with digestion, others who get migraines, joint pain, or heart palpitations. I’ve also seen many women who’ve been unknowingly holding on to emotional experiences from the past, experiences that are influencing their health significantly today.
In the 1990’s a study came out about the connections between our childhood experiences and our health as adults. The researchers of this study, known as the ACE (adverse childhood event) study, found that adults who’d had difficult childhoods were much more likely to suffer from disease. With over 17,000 patients enrolled, those who had experienced one of the eight forms of personal abuse or dysfunctional family behavior before the age of 18 were between 4 and 50 times more likely to suffer from health issues like heart disease, fractures, diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, and more.
This groundbreaking study confirmed the connections we’d been seeing all along, but sadly the conventional medical world has paid little attention to it and rarely provides the opportunity to explore root causes to illness. This is disappointing to me because I’ve seen so many women find links between their physical issues and their emotions and stress. And many of those women have made positive changes to heal themselves when these connections become clearer. Emotions and stress certainly aren’t the only pieces to good health, but they play a much larger role in healing than many of us think.
We always encourage women to search for root causes to their health issues — even though it takes more work to do this. And it often means taking a good look at their stress and emotions. These articles are about reaching inside and examining your feelings and the roots of your stress. They will encourage you to explore where these feelings and stressors come from, how they inform your life, and whether or not it’s time to change them. They will also offer you help to heal some of these emotions and diffuse your stress. You’ll know when it’s time for a change. And we can help you on your way!
Our most popular resources on emotions, health, and stress:
Stress and your health
The many forms of stress our bodies encounter on a daily basis can influence several aspects of our health. This article looks at where stress begins, what the science behind stress is, and how we can help ourselves to lessen its burden.
Revealing your hidden stressors — the Women to Women Stress Audit
There’s a truism that you can’t solve a problem until you recognize the problem exists. Many women don’t realize the extent of the day-to-day stress in their lives, so they don’t realize how much it harms their health. We created our Stress Audit to help women ask themselves, where does my stress come from? — a first step on the road to better health through stress reduction.
How emotional experience determines your health
An important article about how our feelings can influence our physical wellbeing. Take a look at the research proving that our emotions can be just as powerful as our genes, immune system, and lifestyle.