Prevention of Psychosomatic Disorders

 

Prevention of Psychosomatic Disorders

 

The term psychosomatic is composed by the words psyche (soul) and soma (body) and is used to describe physical diseases which are believed to have a mental component, such as stress, anger, grief. When healthcare professionals refer to a psychosomatic disorder they imply that mental factors play a significant role in the development, progression and treatment of the disease. Furthermore, biological factors cannot partly or totally account for the symptoms. Some of the most common examples are IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), hypertension, asthma, arthritis and thyroid disorders. From a psychological point of view, it is believed that there are some personality types relevant to these disorders, which are characterized by difficulty in expressing feelings, known as alexithymia.

The best way forward in eliminating psychosomatic disorders is prevention. Below are some steps one could take to improve their wellbeing and avoid disease.


• Keep a work-life balance. This will also assist in management of stress levels, since long working hours are generally related to increased stress and irritability. On the other hand, having more free time could result in performing activities that you enjoy or spend time with friends and family.


• Try to focus on the positive side. It is widely accepted that it is not the actual situation but the way we perceive it that affects our thoughts and behaviour. Being optimistic could reinforce a healthier life based on lower stress and anger levels, which are consequences of negative thoughts.


• Eat regular, small and healthy meals. Starving could cause irritability, weakness and feelings of distress. Contrary to that, obesity or compulsive overeating could lead to guilt, remorse and negative self-perception. Further to that specific substances in the foods we eat (e.g. sugar) could affect our body in a variety of ways.


• Exercise more. This could apply to any form of exercise. A minimum of 30’ exercise per day has been found to reduce the chances of getting a chronic disease, like cancer. When someone is moving the trigger in neurotransmitters, like serotonin and endorphins, could result in better mood and reduced stress.


• Sleep well. This is a vital function as it allows the body to rest and get ready for the next day. Getting little or disrupted sleep could be a cause of irritability, anxiety and distress.

 

Christie Miliordou
Certified Health and Wellness Coach

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