Do Unexpressed Emotions Contribute to Illness and Pain?


As a society, we have become almost solely dependent upon our medical system for the direction and standard of our health. It is, and has been the norm for many decades, for the consumer to remain under-educated about his or her health and to entrust all of the knowledge and decision-making to doctors and physicians without ever becoming involved in the process, without ever really exploring or becoming curious as to why the body may be responding in the way it is.

If the symptom is the body’s way of communicating a deeper statement and physical disease, pain, and discomfort is a last resort means of drawing our attention to an aspect of lifestyle that needs to change, and a relationship does exist between emotions and physical symptoms, then choosing to treat our illnesses and ailments solely from a physical angle may be stifling the messenger and turning a deaf ear to its message.

We may be treating our cars better. When the oil light lights up on the dashboard we stop the car immediately and either put oil into the engine or, if the oil light continues to come on, we check to see if there is a deeper concern going on for the engine. There may a leak somewhere, the engine may be burning oil, or a change of filter may be needed.

Very few of us would have the mechanic take out the oil light because it gets in our way. In a sense, if it wasn’t for the oil light in the first place we wouldn’t have had any indicator that there was a deeper problem and the engine might have seized up completely causing irreparable damage to the car.

A holistic approach to health takes into account all human factors as potential contributors to health. The allopathic approach to health should never be ignored but included as one of many optional roads to travel down on the journey towards greater health.

This book – A Return to Consciousness – is studying one of those potential contributors: the connection between emotional lifestyle and physical health, and advocates the inclusion of our emotional life into the health equation.

The statement being made here is that it is important each one of us explore the possibility that our symptomatic discomforts and diseases may, at times, be our oil light. One that comes on when there is emotional congestion due to deficient emotional representation and expression over time, and an indirect way of drawing our attention to the need for better representation and expression of our emotions.

If I check inside the engine and top up the oil in my car as needed, then there is no need for the oil light to bring my oil deficiency to my attention. This is a preventative approach to the care of my car.

A preventative approach to the care of your body may then be to attend to deficient emotional representation by supporting emotional expression, if and when it is needed, thus reducing the need for a symptomatic oil light to claim our attention.

Click  here to read: Can Unexpressed Emotion Be Linked to Pain, Discomfort, and Disease? 



Do you believe – or do you not believe – that unexpressed emotions influence physical health?

Do you believe that emotions have the potential of contributing to illness and pain?

Let us know what you think.


In Next Week’s Blog Post:

Should Western medicine include emotional issues as part of their treatment of physical symptoms?

As consumers of the product our medical system offers, what has been our contribution to a system that often overlooks lifestyle, stress and emotions as influences in the creation and/or development of the symptom? What expectations do we place upon our medical services?

Join me next Friday!

You have just read an excerpt from Pietro Abela’s forthcoming book, A Return to Consciousness.

Please pass on this blog and other blogs currently posted on to your friends, family, and those who would would benefit from them.

 Please share them on your Facebook and Twitter pages.

I wish you well


11 thoughts on “Do Unexpressed Emotions Contribute to Illness and Pain?

  1. for me i know that emotions are definitely reflected in physical pain.when all aspects of my life are in balance i feel great. i know that ongoing awareness of mental and emotional state is so important and if not kept in check pains aches and sickness start to develop.
    when i was 19 years old and pregnant i was going through a huge amount of denial that i was pregnant. within a few months i was covered in psoriasis. there was no hiding! then i had to deal with my situation.that was a great lesson.

    • Thank you for your response, Daphne.

      When emotions and feelings do not have sufficient representation and expression an outcome of this is an increase of heat which in turn can have a physical outcome. The increase in heat results from emotions and feelings – such as fear, anger, and sadness (to name a few) becoming congested. One of many physical outcomes is skin conditions.

      So your denial would have distracted you from all of the emotions and feelings that must have been occurring internally for you at that time, which in turn would have congested your emotions. This in turn will have created an increase in heat producing psoriasis as a skin condition.

      There is a current question for you which can be self-reflective does not necessarily need an answer now – unless you wish to leave one: Are you still prone to skin conditions?

      I hope this helps in your understanding of what you went through at that time.

  2. Great illustration of the importance of looking under the surface of physical symptoms to consider the underlying messages from our body. Thanks!

  3. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m aware of the need to put the reins on a part of me who loves to jump-in here every week with a comment or question. Curiosity for the release of your new book increases every Friday!

    But why? 25 years ago it was Louise Hay and her words/concepts in ‘You Can Heal your Life’ that somehow managed to sneak past some of my creative defences and thankfully rock my world. Eventually I discovered the art and science of following process with creative dialogue—–a more respectful and authentic approach to healing .

    So what to do when I woke up appreciating this day as All Soul’s Day—many ‘souls’ came to mind: professionals and others in my world who I get the sense could greatly benefit from the information in this particular instalment…….and I watch myself hold off for now—for more appropriate timing?

    I realize by nature of our relationship, there are some who I may never send this information to . Is it an opening? a welcoming? timing? an interest— I’m looking for?
    I find it challenging AND important to validate the part of me who watches another part of me who thinks she knows what others might need– and knows it serves us better when we’re selective, conscious and in some kind of relationship with another……….AND I also know I can be casual and send this off with a ‘ you came to mind’ or ‘you might find this interesting ‘ .

    What I’m appreciating is that I have come to respect that others may not want a meal as meaty as I—— more vegetarian so to speak ha!

    P–I have a sense I won’t need to read your book when it’s finally released because what you’ve already offered in courses, sessions, master-classes et al. sustains me–it works—-I make a meal of myself with it every day.

    I DO look forward to digging into it however with the same voracious appetite I’ve always had for leading edge human technology and trust that these weekly, tasty little appetizers are going to lead to one heck of a sumptuous buffet.

    • Thank you for writing, Madelainne.

      Having an uncontrolled need to pass the blogs on to someone in the hope that they will in some way be improved by them could qualify as co-dependence. Co-dependence is an addiction, so if there are addictive qualities to your need to pass them on then there would be a question around the authenticity of passing them to others.

      On the other hand, caring for others is wanting the best for them. It is human and natural to want to pass on a good book, or some music we enjoyed, or share a movie we loved to those we cared for. So how do we tell the difference?

      Addiction is anxiety-based. Caring is heartfelt and passion- based. Are you wishing to pass them on out of the anxiety for their welfare, or are you moved to share them with others because you simply care?

      If it is difficult to discern between the two then you could share the dilemma with the recipients. Let them know that you don’t know whether you are sharing out of your own need, or because you are moved to do so and that your wish for them is that they will receive the clarity/insight/inspiration you get from reading them. Then you are honestly sharing your inner conflict and handing the choice directly to them.

      To be honest with you, Madelainne, my hope is that you do pass them on, only because my agent and I need as many visits to the blog as we can muster to ensure its publication when we do petition our publisher.

      Having said that, it is more important that you do what is best for yourself. That is the authentic way.

      I wish you well.

  4. I ‘m glad to read more about the publication process here P—–that you ‘aren’t shy’ about sharing your desire for visits to the blog to ensure the publication of your book.

    How you offer this information also provides good modelling to me–you practicing what you teach —-and putting the ball in the readers court. A complete and generous response. Thank you!

    P.S.sure you’re not a tennis pro rather than a soccer laddie?

  5. This morning I have been reviewing several blogs previous to this one. Every one of the blogs I have just read seem to be providing a solid pathway for my thoughts about my limitations on this journey. And, thankfully yet another opportunity to be patient and compassionate with myself. My readings this morning started with the recent blog (oct. 31st) pain body in relation to buried emotional pain, next I read several blogs that help with the understanding of trauma what it is and the relationship of trauma to addictions. I have stopped here to comment on the relief I feel from self doubt and self criticism. Survival anxiety. I believe that with a mindfulness practise I can make more self honoring consciously made decisions. I appreciate these writings and the opportunity to reframe old thinking. Ultimately, I understand that I have much to be grateful for and down the road a little ways perhaps a lot more that I can offer to others having consciously allotted this time to healing from long ago trauma. And, it saddens me to be taking so long to recover to the point that I feel confident enough to be ready to offer to others. But, I am allowing the sadness to surface and the journey continues!

  6. Robin Maynard-Dobbs

    I deeply appreciate the connection between physical symptoms and unintegrated emotional charge. I have had a persistant pain in my left shoulder that does sometimes turn into a spasm – thus getting my attention and also being a recipient of my frustration as it has been years in persisting. On one hand, I know that the subconscious, child parts that do not have enough representation in the system are trying their best to get my attention. Its the oil light on the car, and to not dismiss the messenger. At the same time, I do not want to identify with my body as “weak” even though it places limitations in my activities. And I do notice that this pain when I am really breathing deeply in and giving it lots of space and unconditional attention, it turns into expansion within the contraction and vibrates or hums. Facinating. I still want it to just go away and leave me alone. So holding both. Would love to hear your thoughts on this Pietro.

    • Hello Robin. Appreciate your comment.

      This is where the parts model is useful. If the pain in your shoulder is a part needing attention then it would be our understanding that when the part has sufficient attention she will have no need to use pain to draw your attention.

      One additional note: in the description of your shoulder you actually introduced three parts – yourself as observer of the pain, the part in the shoulder who is presenting pain, and a part of you who doesn’t want to be weak. This leads to the question, whether the part in the shoulder is being affected or influenced by the part who doesn’t want to seem weak? Also, it would be worth exploring how the ‘Weak’ part feels about the part in the shoulder. As well, where the part learned to dislike or distrust weakness. This part could be key to what is going on.

      Notice, by working with parts in this way a whole internal drama comes to life and now the scenario has become interesting – perhaps even fascinating.

      Hope this helps, Robin.

  7. Robin Maynard-Dobbs

    facinating is a good word to use, when I can observe all 3 parts doing their dance, it does make all the drama less personal and more like archetypes. Thank you for your insight here, Pietro.

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