Many times the body sends us signals that something is wrong. We have a stomach ache, we have nausea, we have tremors … and apparently there is no medical problem.
But there are problems. We feel so much psychological discomfort that it has moved through our body in the form of physical symptoms. We know this as somatization and it is a very common occurrence.
Since many people suffer from these symptoms, there are not a few who they wonder what exercises to stop somatizing they can do. Here we will see a list of some of them, very useful and easy to integrate into our daily life.
Recommended exercises to stop somatizing and feel better
To somatize is to transform our psychological problems into organic symptoms, that is to say the physical expression of psychological discomfort. The mind and the body are closely related and no matter how difficult it is for some to understand, if we do not take care of our psyche, our body will be badly damaged.
Stress, tension and all negative emotions that are maintained for a long time cause damage to our immune system., Making us prone to disease and other medical problems.
When we somatize, we experience stomach aches, nausea, headaches, migraines, and even vomiting. Our defenses are weakened and changes occur in hormone secretion and metabolic processes. Of course, psychological problems can cause us a lot of organic damage and that is why it is so important to learn to manage our emotions, by going to a professional but also by integrating exercises to stop somatizing.
1. Recognize negative emotions
An upset stomach or nausea are very easy symptoms to feel, in that when they do occur we are well aware that we are suffering from it. When they do not go away in any way and have no obvious medical cause, such as infection or other illness, there is likely an underlying psychological problem. It will not go away because we are trying to pass the time; what to do is identify what negative emotion is behind our organic discomfort.
The help of a psychologist will never be wasted. Going to a mental health professional can help us a lot to introspect and see the sources of our discomfort. however, we can go a little bit on our own by stopping to think about what really makes us feel that way. Recognizing negative emotions is the first step in feeling better
Once the emotion is recognized, we will write it down on a piece of paper, describing everything related to it: our past experiences, what physical symptoms it causes us, how it presents itself in our mind (obsession, anxiety, fear. ..) and we’ll do something as simple as saying it out loud. We will mention it, being clear about what is and what is not, without ambiguity. This is the maximum time that we will let it occupy our lives, nothing more. Having said that, we will try to focus on the tasks we need to accomplish.
It is possible that by doing this exercise, we can think for ourselves of possible rational solutions to the problem. It is good that as long as they are not harmful to us or to others, we try to apply them. Also, in case we go to the psychologist, tell him to see what guidelines you think we should follow.. All of this is the first step in reducing our somatization.
2. Take care of your physique and get moving
As we have said, the relationship between mind and body is close, and also two-way. Whether we take care of the mind or the body, we both benefit. This is why it is so important to take care of your physique and to get moving. By this we don’t mean bragging about the physical aspect, but take care of our body by eating a healthy and rich diet, playing sports, not consuming tobacco or abusing alcohol and avoid, in essence, any factor that harms our body.
While playing sports does not cure depression or anxiety as many people believe, it does reduce the symptoms of these problems, and it can be an incentive to take a more optimistic view of life. In all cases, endorphins and other neurochemicals are released during exercise, which increases our psychological well-being and, therefore, reduces somatization. Any physical activity will help us get better quality sleep and improve our immunity to disease.
3. Control breathing
Breathing exercises are a classic of psychological practice. Controlling the way we breathe helps us relax and keep anxiety under control.
A good controlled breathing exercise consists of place one hand on the abdomen and another on the chest, inhaling and holding air for 7 secondsWe slowly breathe out for 8 seconds and notice how we slowly contract the abdominal muscles. This breathing cycle will be performed every 10 seconds, with approximately 6 breaths per minute.
4. Yoga and relaxation
Another classic. Some may not do well, but many psychologists recommend that their patients attend a yoga class or do it at home by watching tutorials on the Internet. Leaving aside the esoteric part of this practice, the truth is that yoga is a good exercise for reducing anxiety and, as a positive side effect, its somatic effects.
Another alternative is relaxation techniques, very common in psychology.. Some of the most commonly used are the Jakobson relaxation technique or the body scanner. These techniques consist of paying attention to each part of the body, becoming aware of its sensations, position, posture, temperature and other associated aspects. There are many resources in which they teach these practices in depth.
5. Listen and make music
It sounds obvious, but it’s still not wrong to point it out. When we listen to music that we love, it increases the production of dopamine, The neurotransmitter associated with pleasant sensations, and reduces cortisone, which is the stress hormone. Music can greatly improve our mood, be it our favorite music, although ambiance and New Age are great choices. If what we want is to be energetic, fast-paced music, like that used in fitness sessions, is ideal.
But not just listening to it helps us somatize less. If we know how to play an instrument, even if it was the flute that made us play at school, it is a very good way to de-stress. Creating music, being creative and enjoying it are good reducers of our psychological problems because they encourage us and force us to take care of all the physical symptoms associated with it.
Sometimes all we have to do is stick with a good scream. We release all the energy that we have accumulated, What bites us inside. Shouting is a good option, as long as it is done in a place like a mountain, in the middle of the field or in a place reserved for it. Grace is about releasing whatever we consider to be the psychological origin of our physical discomfort, although, of course, it will not be fixed magically. This would become a more “powerful” version of point 1.
When shouting, don’t think that we recommend calling the people who we think are the cause of our discomfort. This is not the way to solve the problems we might have with them. This will generate more stress and relationship problems, which will increase our discomfort and, therefore, our somatization. Screaming has to be done for nothing, to a place where we want our problems to end and go, to leave us alone.
- Martínez-González, L., Olvera-Villanueva, G. and Vila-real-Rius, E. (2018). Effect of deep breathing technique on anxiety level in the elderly. Journal of Nursing of the Mexican Institute of Social Security, 26 (2): 99-104.
- Dreeben, Samuel and Mamberg, Michelle and Salmon, Paul. (2013). MBSR Body Scanning in the Clinical Practice of Mindfulness. 4. 394-401. 10.1007 / s12671-013-0212-z.