Functional Medicine / Pain:

Mental pain

In the past I have chosen not to write about this topic, but because I find it so central and important, I have decided to try to put into words what mental pain can mean.

Pain, whether physical or mental, is felt and experienced in different ways. It is often difficult to describe pain in words. I would describe pain as an effect of trauma. These are feelings that usually hurt your soul because of something specific that happened and/or affected you. It could be losing someone you love, an assault, prolonged periods of unbearable stress, being in physical pain or some other trauma. Common to all traumas is that not only can trauma haunt the mind, it can also affect the nervous system. Our nervous system learns to cling to trauma as a survival mechanism. This is why we often feel anxious and on guard when we anticipate another traumatic event (Levine, 2010), leading to debilitating symptoms included in what we call post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The body also overproduces cortisol if the nervous system holds onto a trauma for too long, compromising the immune system, according to Dr Gabor Maté. Over time, this can make the body vulnerable to autoimmune diseases and viral infections by compromising the immune system. Indeed, studies showing the link between trauma, fibromyalgia and migraine are undeniable (Springer et al., 2003).

Talk therapy often works, but not always. This is because the area of the brain responsible for speech production often shuts down when the trauma is recalled (van der Kolk, 2014). Moreover, according to Dr. Peter Levine, verbal forms of therapy can even be re-traumatizing when the central nervous system is still in "fight/flight/freeze" and has not yet fully processed the traumatic event(s).

So how can we heal trauma when talking is not enough?

According to many experts, the key to healing is reconnecting with your body. This is why many movement and body-centered therapies are emerging as more effective methods, such as Somatic Experiencing, art therapy, trauma-focused yoga and Qigong.

This is an area that I myself am concerned with, extremely interested in and studying at the moment. I just wanted to give you a little introduction to the subject, and challenge myself to put into words what happens in the body and mind when one has undergone a trauma, which is/has been difficult to process or which one has been hidden/suppressed. I want to be clear that not all traumas lead to PTSD, but I want to give an explanation of what happens if a trauma cannot be processed traditionally. There is hope and there are effective tools. I will delve more into this area eventually.

Start your journey to wellness

Take control of your health. Schedule a complimentary call with us to see if we can help. We offer personalized support to help you transform your health and feel your best. Take the first step towards a healthy future now.

Services offered by Life By Johanna

More articles from Life By Johanna

  • 9 ways to treat sore throat naturally

    A few weeks ago, our youngest child started complaining that she had a sore throat and my first thought was: "Oh, no, not now!" I really didn't feel like everyone in the family was going to get sick and in the event of a sore throat also have to take antibiotics!

    So instead of taking her to the doctor, I used my knowledge and compiled a list of what we did to boost her immune system, so that the healing process could begin.

  • Stress in everyday life

    The snow disappeared the day after it came, and it was once again grey and dreary outside. Instead of fussing about the weather, I thought I'd write a few lines about the stress of everyday life.

    There is so much stress in the background of our lives today, I like to compare it to programs that you don't use, but that makes the computer get warm and buzzy. You can turn these programs off so your computer doesn't run out of battery quicker than necessary. The same goes for you and me. Get rid of the noise and focus on what's important. How do you do that, people usually ask me. There are different ways, of course, but I recommend that everyone meditate regularly, take walks in nature or just lie on the sofa for a while without anyone/anything disturbing them. It clears your mind and makes it easier to recharge properly! It's all about finding a way that works for you. After all, we're all different!

  • You are creating and doing your own puzzle!

    I love working with holistic health, because many health-related problems are actually preventable. The complexity of the holistic approach is challenging, as you have to get all the pieces of the puzzle and also put them in the right place to form a complete puzzle. At the same time, it is so amazingly cool that you can do so much about your lifestyle and life situation yourself. You make the decisions, you decide, you put the puzzle together and experience the results!

  • Don't forget to take a break

    If the days go by too fast and you feel like you can't keep up, hit the pause button for a while! You need to stop by every now and then to check in and see how you're doing and how you're feeling! It's just at that moment when you feel you don't have time to do this that you really need to do it. The pause button is the best button ever invented. Sit down for a while, turn off the outside world, call it meditation if you like, and breathe. Give your body and mind time to just be for a while. Feel how your body feels. Are you tense somewhere? Does it hurt all over? Or does it feel very good? Are you happy? Do you feel sad? All feelings are okay, accept what is.

  • Self-employment and VAB

    This is the third week in a row that I am home with sick children. Nothing serious, but still so much that it doesn't work to be in school or kindergarten. Combining VAB (short for taking care of sick children in Sweden) with starting up the business here in Sweden is not optimal. It's not easy to tick off meetings and phone calls when the youngest has a fever of 40 degrees. The idea is to be able to stay at home in Sweden when the children are sick, but unfortunately I haven't gotten into that system yet, and will be completely without income these days. And now there are a lot of VAB days coming up, we seem to be catching every autumn virus that exists in our vicinity.

  • Almost there!

    Now I'm almost there! So far it's going as expected, some days I could write a novel and others I feel quite uninspired to write. That's precisely the challenge, to keep at it even when something else might be more appealing. To get into a routine, to get a few lines down despite inner resistance. Usually I get into periods where I write a lot (unpublished, so far) and then months can go by without me writing a word. So I thought it would be a little harder than it is with this challenge. Today, however, has been a day when I'd rather do something else than write:-)

Life By Johanna
Coaching | Functional Medicine | Mind Body



The Life Reset Program

Free Online Health Masterclass

Medical Yoga




Functional Medicine

Mind-Body Medicine

Fertility and Pregnancy






Healing Leaky Gut

The 50 day challenge



All articles



Start your journey to wellness

Take control of your health. Schedule a complimentary call with us to see if we can help. We offer personalized support to help you transform your health and feel your best. Take the first step towards a healthy future now.