Heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux) is a sensation of discomfort or burning behind the breastbone, which occurs due to the release of gastric juice into the esophagus.
It is known that there is a special circular muscle (esophageal sphincter) between the stomach and the esophagus, which prevents gastric juice from entering the esophagus. However, sometimes the function of this muscle is disrupted, and gastric juice, entering the esophagus whose walls are not protected, causes irritation in the form of burning. This can also be called a chemical burn of the esophagus.
It should be noted that with prolonged exposure to acid on the unprotected walls of the esophagus, an inflammatory disease – esophagitis can develop, or other complications and diseases of the esophagus may arise, including precancerous conditions.
The physiological causes of heartburn are usually improper nutrition, chronic diseases of the digestive system, harmful habits, pregnancy, taking certain medications, external factors (tight clothing, etc.).
Heartburn in Psychosomatics
Since heartburn occurs in the esophagus, it makes sense to reveal the metaphysical meaning of this organ, which will help us understand the psychosomatics of this ailment.
Lise Bourbeau writes that, since the esophagus is the beginning of the digestive tract, problems with it indicate that a person poorly perceives everything new, and very hastily at that. In such a person, the psychologist explains, the inner critic awakens too quickly, causing them to tense up and contract when their desires are not realized.
The psychosomatics of heartburn can also be explained by the interrelation of physiological mechanisms in the human body. It is known that stressful situations and psycho-emotional tensions negatively affect the functioning of the nervous system, which regulates the functions of all organs. A malfunction in the nervous system due to strong experiences leads, primarily, to a disruption of the digestive tract. Usually, in such situations, appetite is lost, heaviness in the stomach occurs, heartburn and other temporary disorders appear.
Thus, it has been found that in a stressful situation, all the organs of a person mobilize and begin to function in an enhanced mode. For example, in our case, this manifests in the stomach beginning to produce too much hydrochloric acid.
One of the strong emotions, the experience of which can lead to heartburn, is fear. This is because, during the experience of fear, the body begins to produce the hormone adrenaline, which has a depressing effect on the nervous system and the body as a whole.
Other emotions are less intense, but if a person experiences them for a long time (for example, lives in constant anxiety), then they can also become a cause of heartburn.
Of course, it should be emphasized that not all people will develop heartburn or other esophageal disorders due to fear or other negative emotions. The body’s reaction to stressful situations will depend on the type of nervous system of the person (strong or weak), individual personality traits, the peculiarities of neural connections in the brain, and hereditary factors.
Psychological Causes of Heartburn
Louise Hay asserts that the psychological cause of heartburn is fear, and again fear, a soul-chilling fear.
V. Zhikarentsev also notes that the basis of heartburn is constricting fear.
B. Baginski and Sh. Shalila explain that if a person always swallows annoyance, then their dissatisfaction manifests as stomach acidity. And heartburn, which is associated with acidity, shows that you should not swallow offense. The acid wants to manifest itself, so the person again gets the opportunity to breathe. But the acid in the stomach causes a pressing feeling, and the intake of a new portion of food becomes impossible – this means that the person does not want to swallow offense anymore.
Psychologists have found that heartburn of nervous origin usually occurs in people characterized by anxiety, increased irritability, the appearance of unprovoked anger, periodic depression and apathy. Such people are idealists, who due to failures can experience strong emotions.
Among people suffering from this ailment, there are many overly responsible, and they also have an excessive sense of guilt. They usually avoid risky actions and often experience annoyance due to certain circumstances.
Another distinction of such people is that they have no one to confide in, so they have to independently experience their negative emotions.
Ways to Heal Psychosomatic Heartburn
Everything that happens carries a certain meaning: both situations in life and a person’s reactions to them.
Most psychologists advise not to suppress (in our case – not to swallow) negative emotions. This may lead many to wonder: what then should be done with them?
I’ll try to explain. Our negative emotions are the consequences of our reaction to what happens in our life. This means that we need to change the pole of our reaction from “negative” to “neutral” or to “positive.” Why?
Because, as we have already written, everything that happens in our life is intended for our development and growth (emotional, psychological, moral, spiritual). If a person perceives events in their life from this position, they will react calmly, neutrally, and sometimes even with gratitude for the life experience gained.
This emotional situation can be compared to a game: a person resists, gets angry at life – loses points (and their health), but accepts what is happening, realizes the benefit of situations – gains points (and wisdom).
What one chooses, one receives. I wish you the right choice!