Does Stress Really Cause Disease?

Originally Published September 26, 2011

It is wonderful to see the acknowledgement of the mind-body connection in average folks as well as doctors and many other health practitioners.  This is truly one of the missing links we have been searching for for so long in our understanding of illness.  This simple understanding has unlocked the cause and solution for many, many people in their health predicaments.  The first thing we should ask when face with anything from a headache to cancer is, “what is the cause?”  The cause could be primarily physical and lifestyle-based, or it could be almost completely mental- and emotional-health related.  By understanding stress, we can really get to the bottom of things.

I really want to emphasize that stress is not as simple as it sounds.  When we say stress can cause disease, we aren’t talking about suffering through bad traffic, having a lot to do, being late to the hair salon, or having a tiff with a co-worker.  Although these small things can add up and drain our energy, they are unlikely to amount to something like cancer.  These things are important, but more important are bigger psychological, mental, and emotional issues that do not get the focus they need.

What we must become more aware of is deep-seated or long-standing negative emotions that build up over years and years.  The energies of such things as long-standing anger or  resentment become extremely burdensome and powerfully affect our health.  Other powerful ones can include:


–Holding onto negativity in general

–Not forgiving others, especially in the long-term and over large issues

–Deep-seated fears

–Being in a long-term relationship that is stressful or is a source of negative emotions on a regular basis

–Severe trauma from the past

–Harsh self-criticism or overly high standards for oneself

–Many more

It’s interesting that the issues that have been going on the longest tend to be the ones we most often overlook, simply because we are so used to certain background feelings, habitual thoughts, and more, that we no longer realize they are there.

In Dr. Gabor Mate’s brilliant book, When the Body Says No, he remarks that he always asks his patients if anything stressful in their lives has been going on that could be contributing to their ailment.  Some people say yes and realize what the problem is.  Many others say no.  Through further questioning, the patient almost always mentions something in passing which would be considered by any average person to be traumatic or seriously stressful.  The patient doesn’t see it that way because even terrible and difficult things can so easily become normal to us when we have dealt with them all our lives or for many years.  Examples can be an abusive or simply tyrannical family member, un-supportive friends and relatives, long-standing or constant self-criticism, anger at someone over hurtful actions, and much more.

These emotions, no matter how used to them we are, create powerful forces energetically throughout the body.  You don’t have to think of an issue regularly for it to be still in your body and affecting your health.

Even a few minutes of intense anger sends dirty red energy throughout the body, actually “burning” it to a degree.  This is far worse for our health than consuming a few unhealthy foods, yet it’s given very little attention.  Adding this up over the course of years without counterbalancing it or healing it has consequences.

A quick and easy example of how negative emotions turn from feelings into health problems is blood pressure.  When a person is angry, over the long-term, the mein meng chakra gets very congested and over-activated.  This chakra controls blood pressure.  It is commonly understood that intense emotion raises our blood pressure.  Another example is high cholesterol.  While diet may play a role, when a person has a congested front and/or back solar plexus chakra (this happens due to present and past or unexpressed negative emotions), the dirty energy makes its way to the liver, which is close by.  One of the functions of the liver is to produce cholesterol.  This congestion will affect the liver’s activities and disrupt them, often times raising cholesterol.

Other powerful stressors are the ones of simply living in modern, industrialized society.  In this world, we live with commonplace stresses we barely stop to consider, yet their impact is enormous.  These include:

–We have to have, and keep, a job

–We must earn money for food (unless we grow it ourselves), and this comes from working many hours–away from our families

–We must beat competition for this jobs and promotions and be the best in order to earn them

–We must spend large sums of money on the right education, and get into the right institution

–We must spend huge sums on dwellings, usually at the mercy of loans from the banker

–Survival depends on personal success as well as the overal function of the economic system we live in.

–Survival (food, shelter, clothing, and entertainment) is simply not guaranteed and can even be threatened by forces outside our control

In ancient and indigenous cultures, survival was not something anyone was concerned with.  People were taken care of from cradle to grave.  Food and living structures were “free,” to use today’s terminology.  People weren’t required to spend thousands of dollars on a degree and then compete in the job marketplace to earn a paycheck to purchase necessities.  No one had to worry about their earning potential or getting laid off or the price of gas.

This is really not a natural way to live, and is a man-made construction full of hoops through which we must jump.  We simply must offset these constant stresses as well as the larger issues and habits affecting us if we are to stay healthy and prevent future health conditions.

The solutions to this are twofold:

1.  Examine past and present traumas, anger, resentment, depression, hopelessness, disconnectedness, and anything else negative and persistent.  Identify them and address them.

2.  To offset daily stresses, go out of your way to make up for it by taking care of yourself.  Recognize that you deserve more than a yearly doctor’s visit and perhaps a vacation.  You have to receive at least as much as you give to survive and thrive.

First, make sure your daily life includes healthy habits such as meditation, exercise, and healthy eating.  These will work absolute wonders when practiced regularly.

On top of this, get additional healing you may not even think you even need such as a chiropractic adjustment, rolfing, or massage.  Get an aromatherapy consultation, an Ayurvedic consultation, counseling, hypnotherapy, colon hydrotherapy, and, of course, energy healing.  All these things release stress and tension (read: dirty/negative energy) and allow healthy, positive energy to flow into your system.  You could think of it as pampering, but it’s really more necessary than that.

If you have a health problem, chances are high that it is at least partly due to mental/emotional factors.  In fact, in Dr. Mate’s book, his research indicates that all ailments have to have at least some mental/emotional component, or they will not manifest.  For instance, people who smoke and have the lungs of smokers still don’t all get lung cancer.  There is an associated “personality profile” Dr. Mate has isolated that almost all of those with lung cancer have.  So no matter what your health problem, look at your mental/emotional health and stress levels.  You can heal yourself, re-gain your energy, and prevent even the most common health conditions by addressing all forms of stress.

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