Your Emotions Could Be Making You Sick!

Being sick in West Los Angeles

It Might Not Be a Virus— It Might Be Your Relationships!

My clients come to me because they are struggling with anxiety, with their relationships, and often with both. Many also experience physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, or tension in their back, neck, or even in their jaws. (TMJ, anyone?)

Are there links between these physical symptoms and their mental and emotional state? Absolutely! Sometimes these connections are obvious, and sometimes they are more subtle. Of course, I always recommend talking to a medical doctor first about any physical symptoms you are having.

Here are some of the mental and emotional situations in your life that can easily affect your physical health:

Stressful job in West Los Angeles

1.  Stress at work.

If your headache or stomachache gets much worse on Sunday evenings as you anticipate the coming workweek, that is likely a sign of stress in your workplace. Stress at work is a frequent cause of physical symptoms like headache and stomachache, and they can be quite debilitating. If a physical checkup rules out any medical causes, therapy can help you learn to manage your stress at work and your symptoms will probably get much better! Therapy can help you find the courage to ask for what you need at work—to talk to your boss about a raise, or to say no to a co-worker who keeps dumping on you. Learning to manage your stress at work can make a huge difference in how you feel physically in your day-to-day life.

2.  Relationship issues

Couple arguing on Venice Beach

Are you having trouble in your relationship? If you feel emotionally unhappy in your relationship, it can affect all of the other areas of your life. Relationships are at the core of our well-being, and they can affect our physical health as well as our mental health. Getting help with your relationship could improve your physical symptoms more than you might realize. A supportive, loving, and healthy relationship provides a solid base for health in many different ways. I have rarely met an unhappy couple that isn’t also suffering from physical symptoms as well.

When relationships become healthier, other mental and emotional symptoms also often improve—things like depression, low energy, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability.

Clients often come to me with anxiety, but when we dig into the reasons why, we find that their primary relationship is unhealthier than they realized. Once we work on finding ways for them to get the support and love they need in their relationship, other emotional and physical symptoms spontaneously improve.

3. Family history

Family history affects your mental and your physical health more than you probably realize.

Having a cold in West Los Angeles

 I see many clients who come from homes where they were praised for doing well in school, in sports, or in the arts, and indeed they did excel in these arenas. However, despite having proud and approving parents, if the only time you ever felt truly nurtured as a child was when you were sick, then your body may respond to any current need for emotional nurturing by being sick in some way. Many of my clients are surprised to find that physical symptoms subside when they learn to ask for and receive healthy emotional support in their adult relationships.

Family history has shaped who you are, whether you like it or not!

Family therapy in West Los Angeles

(Sorry, folks. I’m not any happier about that than you are!)

We know that the patterns of behavior you developed as a young child—patterns which were probably completely understandable and effective at the time—affect how you function as an adult.

Were you the overachiever? The family clown? The kid who took on all the burden of being the “problem child”? Was it your job to keep everybody happy? Did you work hard to always stay under the radar in a volatile environment?

These coping strategies got burned into your brain when you were a kid, and they are probably your “go-to” strategy when you get stressed out. These strategies that worked for you as a child probably do actually still work up to a point, but eventually they get in the way of having healthy relationships.

This happens to everyone! We all have our go-to coping strategies that work quite well some of the time, but get in the way of our personal happiness and success when they start driving the boat.

These automatic patterns can also affect our physical health by giving us stomachaches, headaches, and other physical symptoms.

Adorable Curious dog in Venice Beach, Los Angeles

Curious to Learn More?

If you would like to learn more about how improving your mental and emotional health could help you feel better physically, just shoot me an email at, or call me at 323-999-1537 to set up a free phone or in-office consultation. I want you to feel better and have healthy relationships!