When the mind functions in an “unhealthy” manner, the body follows suit. If we allow ourselves to become spiritually or emotionally weak and are overwhelmed by our situation, we may become prone to physical illness and lose the ability to quickly regain our health. The most representative of the so-called psychosomatic ailments, and the most widely understood to be caused by emotional stress, is the gastric ulcer.
When empty, the stomach is normally about the size of a clenched fist. After a meal, however, it can expand to a capacity of about two litres. When so expanded, the walls of the stomach measure only one millimetre thick. Food entering the stomach is greeted by digestive juices capable of reducing even the toughest piece of meat into a soft mass in about three hours. After the food has been softened in this way, it passes into the intestines. The stomach’s digestive fluids could easily dissolve the flesh of the stomach wall, were it not coated with a protective mucous membrane.
Emotional distress, however, impedes the body’s production of mucous. If this membrane becomes too thin, the stomach’s digestive fluids may begin to eat through the wall of the stomach in places. The resulting irritation or hole in the lining of the stomach is called an ulcer. People who are tense or naturally nervous may easily develop stomach ulcers when emotionally troubled. Even someone who normally is not nervous may develop an ulcer if that person experiences a period of intense distress or emotional trauma. These days, gastric ulcers are on the increase even among children of elementary or junior high school age.
Many experts believe that a child who is raised in a troubled environment, where parents constantly fight or expose the child to physical or verbal abuse, is subject to serious deficiencies in the body’s production of key growth hormones. This may result in slower-than-average development or a complete stunting of child’s growth. it is also thought that maladies like chronic allergies are also largely affected by one’s emotional condition. Such illnesses as chronic hives, asthma, rashes, high blood pressure, ulcers and even diabetes are said to have their roots in the emotions. Which ailment is more likely to manifest much depends on one’s disposition or personality – on whether one is tense and aggressive, passive, inhibited, restless, depressive, etc.
If we allow ourselves to become spiritually or emotionally weak and are overwhelmed by our situation, we may become prone to physical illness and lose the ability to quickly regain our health. Doctors report that patients who were thought to be incurable sometimes experience seemingly miraculous recoveries once they are able to summon the hope and the will to live. On the other hand, when a patient loses hope, his or her condition often rapidly deteriorates. From this we may conclude that there is no better medicine than hope.
The human body is fundamentally endowed with functions to prevent or combat illness. If these are working properly, we will very seldom become ill. On those rare occasions when we do get sick, we will recover quickly and easily. Human beings are both weak enough to contract disease and strong enough to overcome it. If we allow our weakness to take precedence, we may find ourselves overcome with illness. If our strong side dominates, we will be protected from illness and also be able to overcome it with ease. Willpower is always there within us, but what brings it out is our difficult circumstances and challenges. So it is important to have a strong willpower for that additional boost which can elevate our life condition and thus fight dreaded diseases.