The Close Links between Physical Health and Mental Health

The vast majority of mental health difficulties are routed in early life trauma.  As such, if left untreated, the impact of trauma on the body can often be devastating. The human psyche and body is fantastic at adapting to circumstances and just ‘carrying on’ especially where they have no choice such as continuing to live in traumatic circumstances (family is the best example). However, the trauma and impact of it is always stored and as such it is held in the body until the body can cope no more. There is a disproportionately high incidence of illnesses such as Fibromyalgia, EDS, Lupus, Chronic pain, MS, thyroid problems, Psoriasis, Arthritis and trauma.

I’ll explain it as such… if the environment isn’t safe or experienced as safe (as determined by the individual) then nervous system is on high alert to keep the person safe and try to prevent danger from happening. When the nervous system is on high alert – which is the fight, flight, freeze response – chemicals are released to ensure survival. But these chemicals which are crucial for survival from an evolutionary perspective become harmful to the body if they stay there for a long time. If the body is in a heightened level of stress for a long period of time these chemicals continue to circulate in the body and will become a toxin which places the body under further tension. Over time this causes damage to the body. This is particularly profound in childhood when the brain is still forming.


Steps for healing:

  • See a relational psychotherapist who works with trauma and attachment issues
  • Self-compassion narrative (challenge that critical internal negative self talk – this routes from childhood, a child never deserves this so why do this to yourself?)
  • If in conflict or imagined conflict instead of fleeing or confronting instead stay still.
  • Develop curiosity to your difficulties: get a notebook write down your thoughts, feelings, observations, where does this feel familiar in historical situation? What are the links?
  • Read: The Body Keeps The Score, healing the fragmented selves of trauma survivors (Janina Fisher), the work of Gabor Mate + lots more
  • Stay with the new awareness that curiosity brings. Without awareness you cannot bring about any change
  • Do some self-education around self-soothing and regulation: lots of resources on my page!
  • Embrace mindfulness – which is just being present, ground yourself to the here and now. A simple but effective exercise is through your senses: label 5 things you can see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you can hear, 2 things you can smell and 1 thing you can taste.