Book Review | When the Body Says No

Title:  When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection

I recently finished reading the book “When the Body Says No” by Gabor Mate, MD. My naturopathic doctor lent it to me before the holidays and suggested I needed to read it. I suffer from a chronic pain condition and she says this book will help to explain how stress makes you sick.

I feel this book made me realize a few things and one of them is that holding emotions inside and repressing them will make you sick. I need to express my anger and hurt and not pretend everything is ok. Dr. Mate explains how the body doesn’t know how to handle this repression of emotion so the body basically turns on itself.

This book goes into different diseases with specific patient examples and explains how certain personalities are prone to certain diseases. For example, he says that patients with ALS are “extra nice” and cancer is from “anger repression”. I wish he would have done an assessment of vulvodynia and the types of personalities that are more prone to that since that is what I have suffered with the last 3 years.

Another comment he made was about The Power of Negative Thinking. He stated that we are bombarded with “Think Positive” and the power of “The Secret”. He states that by thinking positive all the time, we are in fact living in denial, repressing our emotions or our feelings and pain and not dealing with them and releasing them. Just because we don’t think about it, does not mean that the problem doesn’t exist. He said negative thinking is hard but necessary. I agree. I think looking through the world through rose coloured glasses thinking everything is peachy keen when in fact you have a bad marriage, no money or whatever is just living in denial.

He also explained that people who suffer these diseases are more likely to be the ones who do everything for everyone else without taking the time for themselves. When they get sick, it forces them to slow down and look after themselves. One thing he mentioned that I got a chuckle out of was that when you feel guilty, then that means that you are doing something for yourself so that’s a good thing.

Stacie Vaughan

Stacie is the mom of two girls and lives in Ontario, Canada. She enjoys cooking/baking, photography, reading, DIY and is fueled by lots of coffee!

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