Reframing the Common Cold: What is My Body Trying to Tell Me?
Updated: Nov 18, 2021
In a time where we are collectively getting sick ( Holiday season mixed with a global pandemic) we can take this opportunity to reframe the common run-down cold and ask “What is this cold trying to tell me.” When I was in my graduate program, one of my insightful professors shared that a cold is the result of suppressed emotions. As a graduate student it was hard to wrap my mind around, “How could this be true?” At the time I thought about how we all get colds once in a while, are we all suppressing emotions? That question I asked myself was mostly said in sarcasm. Well now, as a therapist, I laugh at my thought process as I can see just how much we all work so hard to suppress our emotions.
I’ve been on my healing journey for a while now, maybe about 7-8 years. That journey has included intensive therapy (both individual and group) due to my graduate program, continued therapy, supervision and consistent self-reflection through mediation, journaling, creative expression and self-education. I know I have further to go but I am so grateful for where I am right now. I no longer live on auto-pilot. I no longer live in survival mode. I spent most of my life in flight, freeze and fawn, that I did not know there was another way to be. With this healing I have been granted freedom. Freedom to feel, freedom to truly see situations and people for who they are, and freedom to live consciously. What I am getting at is this, when we live in auto-pilot or in a state of heightened anxiety, than it is hard for us to even detect when we are suppressing our emotions. That is why it was hard for me to grasp while in school. I was deep in the auto-pilot and the reactive state.
I was reminded of the cold = suppressed emotions discussion last week, when I got a bad cold. At first, I just thought logically “Well I was around little kids with colds , so naturally this is what happens.” Then as I laid in bed for two days straight trying to get better, I realized how I have not allowed myself to fully rest in a long time. No agenda, just rest. I also began taking extra good care of myself . I began implementing hot lemon water into my morning. I traded in espresso for green tea. I cut down on dairy and began taking extra vitamins. Once I began feeling better, I came back to expressive movement, something I had not done consistently in a while. I needed this cold to remind me to come back to myself and take extra good care of myself, always.
Now to the suppression; I had reached out to my therapist for the first time in about two weeks, to schedule a session. Due to our scheduling conflicts, we could not set up a session for at least a week. A few days later I woke up pretty sick. Things happen we know this, but I did not let out my emotions in in any way! I could have journaled, danced, painted but I did not do any of that. I believe the reason behind my lack of expression was my resistance to my feelings. I had more going on than usual and did not “feel” like facing them. This was obviously subconscious resistance. My take away here is, our body is always communicating or reacting to us, to how we are showing up in the world and for ourselves. Our job is to ask ourselves what can I learn from this? And what is my body trying to tell me? This can be done with checking-in with yourself frequently, making sure you have an outlet for your emotions and a therapist to process those emotions with. Whatever you are going through now, I hope you make time for yourself and take extra good care go yourself, always.
xoxo- Moira (Shoulder to shoulder therapist )