When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress

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When the Body Says No is a book written by Dr. Gabor Mate. It explores the link between the mind and the body and the role of stress in respect to the onset of many illnesses such as diabetes, arthritis, cancer, heart disease, multiple sclerosis among others. It shows the powerful role of the brain through stories and interviews with people who have suffered from chronic illnesses (Mate, 2011). Gabor Mate uses personal experiences of patients, experimentally-derived data, published biographies of well-known people, his clinical experience as a palliative caregiver, and conversations with colleagues to show the role of the mind on the well-being of the body. He explores the emotions and personality of the patients on the onset of terminal illnesses and its impact on the progress and management of these illnesses. When the Body Says No shows the cost of stress in the long run on the body.

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Book Summary

When the Body Says No tries to shows the role of stress on the onset of illnesses. Gabor Mate draws from his clinical experience, conversation with colleagues, personal experiences, published biographies and experimentally derived data to show the impact of stress on our bodies. He engages the reader by taking them through the array of emotional experiences of these patients. Readers are therefore able to follow the emotional well-being of the patients as well as their underlying personalities in overcoming various chronic illnesses they were diagnosed with. Mate (2011) helps the readers to understand the important and powerful role of the mind on the body. He uses published biographies and experiences of patients to show how stress levels had an impact on their bodies as well as in the management of their terminal illnesses. These experiences and his clinical experience as a palliative caregiver helps readers to understand the impact of stress levels on the body.

Many terminal illnesses such as cancer and heart condition have been on the rise in recent years (McGrath, 2002). Mate shows that the underlying cause of these illnesses is stress. He outlines how stress may cause one to ignore the pain and other symptoms of illnesses on the body. On the onset of these terminal illnesses, he shows how stress levels, as well as emotional being, had an impact on the mitigation of these illnesses. He aims to create awareness on how stress management, personal transformation as well as a holistic approach to the treatment of terminal illnesses can improve patient conditions.

According to Mate (2011), many people are diagnosed with terminal stage of illness as a result of stress. He emphasizes this by giving evidence on how stress levels increase health risks of Alzheimer’s and cancer and advocates for a holistic approach in the treatment of cancer that focuses on both the internal and external stress levels of the patients. Mate (2003) outlines how the stress-driven lifestyle leads people to ignore signs and symptoms of health risks.

In the last chapter, Seven A’s of Healing, Mate outlines the steps towards personal transformation and maintaining mental wellness. He gives a guide on how one can manage emotions and stress levels. The seven A’s include acceptance, awareness, anger expression, autonomy, attachment, affirmation of self-worth, and assertion of self-declaration (Mate, 2011). The purpose of the author in this chapter is to help readers identify stress inducers and manage them effectively.

Strengths

In his book, Mate (2011) uses the personal experiences of people diagnosed with chronic illnesses and his clinical expertise to show the impact of stress on the onset of chronic illnesses. The author also uses experimentally-derived data to show the impact of stress on the healing process of terminal illnesses. Mate depicts the personal experiences of various patients and well-known people on diagnosis with terminal illnesses. These experiences help us to understand the emotional turmoil and stress these patients experience. He shows how the outlook on the conditions they are experiencing helps in clinical management improve it. The author emphasizes emotional well-being by expressing emotions.

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Cunningly, Mate (2011) shows the power of negative thinking. He shows how taking responsibility for one’s actions as well as full acceptance of how things are can help in managing stress levels. He combines these with the experiences of various people and how they had an impact on their wellbeing. This led to acceptance of their conditions and thus they responded well to treatment.

He uses experimentally-derived data to show the impact of stress on the progression of Alzheimer’s and cancer. The data shows that stress levels experienced by the patients increase the health risks of terminal illnesses (McGrath, 2002). He, therefore, advocates for a holistic approach in the treatment of cancer. This helps in the management of both the internal and external stress being experienced by the patients thus reducing worsening of the terminal illnesses.

The last chapter of When the Body Says No provides the seven A’s of healing. The first healing step involves acceptance. He advises people to accept things the way they are. He provides evidence from research in San Francisco that shows cancer patients who accepted their conditions were less likely to suffer from repulsing. The second step to healing was awareness of the symptoms of stress on the body. One needed to become aware of the stress signs exhibited by the body and taking the necessary step to ensure good health. The third step to healing is an expression of anger. According to Mate (2011), not expressing anger can lead to illnesses while expression of anger aids in the management of the condition. The fourth step is personal autonomy and focus on what one considers important. Personal autonomy helps one to develop internal control and is therefore very essential in the healing process. The fifth step in the healing process is emotional attachment. We can be attached emotionally to people who make us feel loved and thus aid in the healing process (McGrath, 2002). The sixth step is the assertion of self-awareness i.e., one values what they consider important regardless of societal views and expectations.. This helps one to pursue things that are important to one’s wellbeing thus reducing stress. The final step to healing is the affirmation of self-worth. It involves finding mental, spiritual, and physical well-being.

When the Body Says No interactively enables the reader and other medical professions to realize the important role of the mind on the health of the body. It invokes critical thinking of how one can realize emotional competence and personal transformation thus reducing stress levels. It helps the readers to appreciate signs of stress on the body and take necessary medical measures to improve their health (McGrath, 2002). The holistic approach advocated by the author helps in reducing the health risks on the patients but also improves their health.

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Mate (2011) emphasizes the importance of mental wellbeing in reducing infections of many terminal diseases. He elaborates on the powerful tool of negative thinking in the management of terminal infections as well as managing stress levels. Negative thinking helps one bring situations into perspective and they are thus able to manage various medical conditions they face. This helps them to accept their medical conditions and thus respond well to treatment.

Weaknesses

The author is heavily reliant on one-sided experiences from patients to show the impact of their stress on the progression and healing of terminal illnesses. He fails to show the effect of stress induced by the community on immediate family members of the patients and how they suffer (Mate, 2002). Although personal transformation plays a big role in managing stress levels, the personalities people develop are shaped by society. The support from family and friends also plays a big role in aiding in the mental well-being of the patients.

Mate is over-dependent on the personal experiences of the patients to draw the link between the mind and the body (McGrath, 2002). Although the personal experiences of the patients help readers understand the impact of stress levels on the onset of chronic diseases, the professional diagnosis would have strengthened the role of stress on the health of an individual. Furthermore, the personal experiences of the patients may also be biased and not objective to show the impact of their stress levels on the clinical progression of various terminal illnesses

Conclusion

Mate (2002) illustrates the link between the mind and the body on the onset of terminal illnesses. He draws from the personal experiences of various people to show how their stress levels, personality, and emotional turmoil hurt their life. Throughout the entire book, the author emphasizes the importance of emotional wellbeing and mechanisms of reducing stress levels. By use of his clinical experience, data from existing research projects, patients’ personal records, and conversation with colleagues he shows how stress levels are underlying causes of many diseases that plague us. He shows the impact of stress on cancer and Alzheimer’s. From the previous research carried out, stress increases the health risks of this illness. He, therefore, advocates for a holistic approach to cancer treatment. Over-reliance on personal and one-sided experiences of the patients is a major weakness of this book (Mate, 2011). The author puts little emphasis on family support and how society shapes our personalities. Stress levels are often induced by circumstances around us and are not always from within. In his last chapter, the seven A’s of healing, he clearly shows the steps one can use to manage their stress level and become emotionally competent. The seven A’s of healing include acceptance, awareness , expressing anger, personal autonomy, attachment or development of genuine emotional support, asserting self-declaration, and affirmation of self-worth. These seven steps will aid personal transformation and reduce stress levels that in turn are harmful to our bodies. Mate draws a clear relationship between the mind and the body thus helping readers to think about the impact of stress on their health.

References

Mate, G. (2003). When the body says no: The cost of hidden stress. A.A. Knopf Canada.

Mate, G. (2011). When the body says no: Understanding the stress-disease connection. John Wiley & Sons.

McGrath, B.M. (2002). When the Body Says No: Understanding The Stress-Disease Connection. The Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, 75(5-6), 333-335.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 14). When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, July 14). When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress. https://psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/

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"When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress." PsychologyWriting, 14 July 2022, psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress'. 14 July.

References

PsychologyWriting. 2022. "When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress." July 14, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress." July 14, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/.


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PsychologyWriting. "When the Body Says No by Dr. Gabor Mate: The Cost of Hidden Stress." July 14, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/when-the-body-says-no-by-dr-gabor-mate-the-cost-of-hidden-stress/.