"I write so that my handful of pebbles, cast into still waters, will create a ripple."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When Your Body Says “No:” The Stress/Disease Connection

I came across this amazing link and I want to shout it from the rooftops. 

Vancouver-based Dr. Gabor Mate argues that too many doctors ignore the research. They’ve apparently forgotten the once commonplace assumption that emotions are deeply implicated in human well-being.

Well, HELLO! A couple of friends and I were discussing this very thing (we’re grandmas, but never too old to diss our upbringing!) 

Tina mentioned that her mother was an “I love you, BUT…” type. My friend grew up feeling she’d never quite “made the grade” with her mother. In her words, by adulthood this feeling had oozed out to include everyone in the whole world. She calls herself a Pleaser. Not surprisingly, she’s plagued with health problems. I love her the way she is, but I can see that she says “yes” way too often.

Our other friend, Mary, said her mother is a narcissist who manages to deflect every triumph back to herself. If Mary brought home a good report card, she was told she took after her mama who always got straight A’s. Mary’s fought a weight problem her entire life. Her mother, of course, is a perfect size 6. Her horror is that she will spend her golden years caring for her mother's dramatic, malingering passing. We coined an unflattering nickname for her mother that makes Mary laugh. After all, what are friends for?

My mom is a raver--in the good sense. She raves over us. Her favorite phrases involve, “Isn’t that beautiful!” or “You made this all by yourself?” Three generations of her progeny tease her about her attribution skills as we glow in the light of her appreciation. 

I took the joy of accomplishment for granted until I began noticing that not everyone had it so good. Dr. Mate says her joy helped me develop a sunny disposition that supports a healthy immune system. Were it this simple!

I inherited her attribution skills and for that I’m grateful. But my awful twin makes it easy to interject sarcasm and deflect attention to myself. My attribution skills come at a cost. I’ve had to learn to sit and really listen. To take a backseat. (See, not easy. Count the I’s and me’s in this paragraph and you’ll see.)

So what is this rant really about? To take it back to the top, I’m an expressive who apparently has been tending my immune system my entire life. If I live to be 90, I’ll have to thank my mom, my blog and everyone who has had to listen to me verbalize my feelings.

How about you? Any insights into your emotional/physical connection?
Don’t forget to check out Dr. Mate’s interview.