Eczema from a Meta Health Perspective
What is meta health? It is the science, practice, and art of body-mind social health, in which we look to specific stressors that trigger our emotions and beliefs, affecting particular organ symptoms from within the body. Meta health looks at the big picture, like an aerial view of disease, and can gift us some answers to our important questions about our condition. It is considered an integrative approach to self-healing and resilience. Personally, it has been a profound piece of my ongoing healing journey.
Looking within for answers
Has most of your journey been spent looking for all the answers outside yourself to keep eczema at bay? Through research matching my own experience, I have found that we always have the opportunity to pay attention to our body’s intelligence, utilizing everything we already have within us. Our bodies are constantly speaking to us through stress triggers, emotions, and beliefs. As I have lived with life-threatening eczema for many years, I absolutely acknowledge the genetic components and real-life physical realities as we challenge this condition. Eczema has a deep psychological component, and so, it is not completely separate from our emotions and beliefs.
Awareness can help us feel more in control
As I’ve previously written about, the mind-body relationship is one of the most powerful forces we can rely upon to take conscious actions for self-healing and empower ourselves where we do have control. Awareness can be our greatest ally and resource to inform us exactly what we need. We all have programmed reaction and response mechanisms inside of us for stress and survival that are always at play in our brain, nervous system, and hormonal system. Until we can change these outdated programs into new ways of responding to stressors, the same patterns will play over and over, keeping us in the same conditional reaction - flares, anxiety, fear, pain, depression.
Living life around eczema and it's triggers
I don't think that any of us have been exempt from having impactful and emotional experiences that have shaped our beliefs and personalities, as well as our lifestyle. Think about all the ways that you might have had to create your life around the parameters of living with this condition. Specific stressors, from emotional, mental, weather, food, products, personal hygiene and clothing, even medications can trigger our flares and play a major role in organ tissue function. Awareness and imagination are inherent capabilities of our brain that can create new meaning and reprogram our mind-body reactions.
Incorporating the meta health perspective
Here is an example of how I have incorporated this perspective in my own life with eczema and the numerous challenges that come with it:
Who am I protecting myself from?
The skin is about protection. It is our first protective barrier to the world. So I have asked myself several questions such as, “What might I be protecting myself from, or who?” This question spans my entire life back to childhood. As a child, I had a HUGE fear of being seen or visible, which meant that I would be rejected or shamed. Because of my family dynamics, it wasn’t safe to express my emotions back then, so I internalized this fear. The brilliant ability of my mind and body created mechanisms and strategies so I wouldn't be seen - like playing small, not standing out, turning to food to stuff my feelings, wanting to disappear, and being sick. These maladaptive behaviors became my survival, creating my own sense of safety so that I wouldn't be rejected. This fear became terror and lived so deep inside for decades that it became recorded in my nervous system to keep me hidden and protected from the world. My skin became my barrier.
Why am I so inflamed?
I also questioned my level of inflammation. What was I so inflamed about? I did a deep emotional dive and discovered I had deep-seated anger. The inner inflammation was evidence of my having to stifle the unexpressed anger I had been holding in, also stored in my nervous system. Once I understood these emotions and early experiences were connected to these symptoms, I began to incorporate safe ways to express my feelings, including writing, therapy, creative expression. Ultimately, this led me to become an EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) Practitioner.
It has been a twister to unravel the emotional and mental underlying associations and meanings by asking these questions. I continue to explore my behaviors, reactions, and patterns and how they are showing up in my life, including my relationships to disentangle the layered symptoms that have been expressing through my skin.
Connecting physical health to emotions
Meta health is a great way to approach the connections between physical symptoms and underlying suppressed emotions. It is constructive and can be easily accessed to cultivate our own resilience. I choose to look inside for my own answers, which takes living mindfully, as well as sometimes sitting in the discomfort. This kind of discomfort has moved the energy much more fluidly than feeling trapped in the pain of the physical symptoms, which we know can often feel like torture.
What questions might you be willing to ask yourself from a more meta-perspective that might just give you the relief you're looking for?
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