WHY PSYCHOLOGY MATTERS
Psychology matters on the most primal level simply because you are a human being with a nervous system.
Get to Know Your Nervous System
Evolutionarily, your nervous system plays an important role in both your survival and livelihood by serving three main functions: gathering, synthesizing, and responding to stimuli. How your nervous system operates determines how your mind, body, and heart respond to all stimuli, both threatening and non-threatening stimuli. It is your nervous system that is in constant command of how your body reacts—the automatic, patterned way a stimulus affects you—and responds—the thoughtful way you can choose to behave in reaction to a stimulus—with thoughts, feelings, sensations, and behaviors.
Threatening stimuli include things inside of you like symptoms and outside of you like natural disasters. It especially includes the behavior of other people. Most of the threats we encounter in our lives our in reaction to other people. Therefore, it’s important to understand how our nervous system works in our relationships, specifically in relation to our physiological symptoms.
Knowledge is Empowerment
You can’t stop your symptoms, but you do have the ability to change how you respond to your symptoms. If you have a functional medical problem, understanding how the nervous system works in general and more specifically how your individual nervous system works is critical because it gives you the knowledge, empowerment, and tools to work with your own body in ways that you can control. Understanding your unique nervous system allows you not just to understand how to better cope with your symptoms but also to gain new insight into your symptoms.
Knowledge through Insight, Not Intellect
Many patients find themselves asking, “Why do I have this physiological problem?” Answering a why question like this one brings you into your intellect or the frontal lobe of our brain. This part of our brain is capable of forming logical and rational analyses and explanations for phenomena of which we are aware but does not increase our awareness itself. Working more directly with the nervous system cultivates insight, widening your scope so that you can be aware of that which you are not yet aware.
Generate Insight, Stimulate Healing
Albert Einstein famously stated, “Problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created.” Healing your functional medical problem occurs by deepening your level of understanding. The problem may be happening within your body, but it cannot be understood purely physically. The problem is a function of a complex interaction between your nervous system and other parts of your body. The fact that your nervous system is involved in the perpetuation of symptoms means that your psychology matters. Deepening your understanding of your nervous system and therefore of yourself is of great importance and benefit to your health.
“Problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created.”
You regularly access various parts of your nervous system and other parts of your body for information. You know what you know by relying on these same channels for information over time. By learning to access and bring consciousness to other parts of your nervous system and other parts of your body, you can experience perhaps, for example, new sensations and different emotions that lead to different outcomes. Stimulating the parts of you that you’re not used to accessing naturally generates new knowledge and new experiences. That’s where the healing is.