How do psychosocial aspects influence your health?

Transcript of the Feature ‘Health Matters’ nr. 43 on Radio X from 06 October 2014

I’m Tom Meyers and welcome to another episode of Health Matters. In Health Matters I share with you my personal experience as an osteopath and stress coach, bring you scientific insights and pass on practical tips how to manage stress and improve your health and well-being.

In last weeks episode, I took musculoskeletal pain as an example to illustrate how not only bio-mechanical factors contribute or upset your health balance but also psychosocial factors. New studies are actually demonstrating that these psychosocial factors or in other words stress-related factors contribute far more significantly towards dis-ease and pain by intensifying the biological aspects.

And so science continues to sway from its dualistic perspective where body and mind are distinct to a more holistic approach to health and wellbeing… what most complimentary and Eastern therapy approaches are based on, have known all along.

But how does it work. How do these psychosocial aspects influence our health?

From my personal point of view and research the easiest way to explain this, is by looking at the stress response which is a survival and defence mechanism for your body. Your body, not your mind… why this is so!?Lets reason this out, well… when there is no body there is no place for the mind. It’s that simple your body is therefore more important to be saved… without it you, your soul can’t live…. To illustrate this body over mind mechanism further imagine you’re walking across the street and a car is coming at you at high speed what do you do? Think first then jump or reflexively jump first and then think. Yes, I hope the latter too…

That survival mechanism or the stress response we inherited from our prehistoric ancestors and still functions much the same as it did then, but our world has changed a bit and with it the way and how much we are stimulated. Its like being a commodore computer with the latest Apple software…

So imagine that for the psychosocial factors like, increased workload, deadlines, information overload, reorganisations, annual reviews,… your body reacts in a similar way then when a sabre tiger is running after you. Your heart rate, blood pressure, levels of adrenaline and cortisol  increases and your muscles tense up while on the other hand your immune and digestive system, libido, serotonins and dopamine levels drop. Yes, you go into a fight, flight, freeze mode while your relaxation, recuperation and regeneration mode is being inhibited.

When, hour after hour, day after day the body keeps being stimulated  psychosocially or bio-mechanically without any form of a break, time to unwind and reset well I don’t think it should come as a surprise to you that you get muscle problems or other symptoms like digestive problems, heart palpitations, sleep disturbances, headaches, mood swings, depression etc.

When you are experiencing some of these symptoms my advise is get professional help.

That’s all for this episode of Health Matters have a great day and I’ll catch up with you again next week here on Radio X or why not subscribe to the Health Matters podcast or Facebook page so you don’t miss any future feature or bonus episodes and articles. You can find the appropriate links on my website www.tommeyers.be

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