Have you ever experienced an upset stomach, a tight chest, clammy hands, or any other physical reaction when you’re stressed or depressed? The mind and body have an incredibly strong connection, and when you’re feeling an overwhelming amount of emotion, your brain can process it as being in danger even if the situation isn’t life-threatening. This initiates and is referred to as the fight-flight-freeze response.
Somatization is the way your body reacts to what it thinks is danger, even though nothing seems to be physically wrong with you. The video below, produced by the Kelty Mental Health Resource Center in British Columbia, Canada, explains this in more detail. Reading about the science behind it can be a little overwhelming, especially how the nervous system is divided into the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, but the 7-minute video breaks it down with cute animations and animals to keep you entertained.
The video shows different situations where people can experience somatization: pressure from an upcoming test or game and the feeling of rejection from people you care about. While these aren’t places where things are necessarily life-threatening, they can have an intense effect on you, especially if these are things that cause you stress or that are particularly emotional about. This intensity is what makes your brain see these situations as dangerous to you, and your body reacts accordingly.
View this video to learn more about somatization:
Do you experience physical reactions when you’re feeling upset or depressed? What reactions are they? What do you do to help in these instances, if anything?