May 06, 2015 at 07:19 PM

ALS: Mind-Body Connection & The Impact of Anger

By Jos Cofio

Anger & Disease

There is plenty to be angry about and some people take the opportunity to do so at every turn. One need only watch the evening news to know this is the case. Perhaps none have a greater right to this emotion, or even rage, than those living with, or around, a deadly disease. However, I have a different thought.

BeyondALS: Mind-Body Connection & The Impact of Anger

You see, while I live with ALS, I don’t know to whom or what I should be angry. The disease itself did not specifically seek me out as a target. It is not a conscious entity bent on doing me harm. In fact, if I look for it, “it” isn’t there. There clearly are symptoms I experience that are clues to its existence. However, as of now at least, there is nothing to point at physically within me to say “there it is! Go get it!” Even if there were some clearer physical “location,” I believe it would also be a manifestation of something else that caused it. So being angry at something so amorphous doesn’t seem to me to be a good use of energy.

Angry at God & the Universe

Of course, one could be angry at God. This, too, appears to me a losing proposition. If you believe in an almighty being, by whatever name you want to give it, then you know this is a fight you cannot win. (The word “almighty” speaks for itself.) If you don’t believe in any deity, at whom would you target your ire? Shaking your fist at the universe at large will not make a bit of difference to the cosmos. Our physical beings are simply not that significant.

Anger & The Mind-Body Connection

In fact, I think that feeling, holding, or expressing anger, while a natural human reaction to events or circumstances running counter to the way we think things should be, eventually (or perhaps immediately) yield quite the opposite from that we wish.

BeyondALS: Mind-Body Connection & The Impact of Anger

Our bodies react to what our minds perceive. If you think about a piece of chocolate cake, your body will undergo physiological changes, salivating for instance, even thought the cake doesn’t exist in the real world. It does in your mind, and every cell in your body “knows” it and reacts.

Occupying your mind with anger similarly will manifest reactions in the body through high blood pressure, ulcers, or worse…diseases seemingly unrelated to it such as cancer.

Be sure that I want to find a solution to ALS as fervently as anyone. Being angry at a condition without form is a path I choose NOT to take. I rather expend that energy in ways that allow my body to help heal itself (such as meditation and nutrition), focus on helping research, and, yes, writing about not being angry at ALS.

José Cofiño is living with ALS, having been diagnosed in 2012. He and his partner, Ben Trust, founded BeyondALS to rasie awareness about the disease and raise funds for research. He writes and speaks about overcoming adversity. He may be reached at [email protected] and followed on Facebook at BeyondALS

Posted in Living With ALS.

Dec 28, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply
Dagmar

Jose' - You are so correct! What a dilemma...let the anger out, but not trigger negative physical responses. We PALS need to learn from each other. I invite you to read my blog, ALS and Wellness at: http://www.alsandwellness.blogspot.com A little bit of everything: motivation, laughter, exercise and wellness.

Continued success to you with ALS and Beyond and your advocacy efforts.
Stay strong - - carry on!

Dec 28, 2015 Arrow1 Down Reply
Dagmar

Jose' - You are so correct! What a dilemma...let the anger out, but not trigger negative physical responses. We PALS need to learn from each other. I invite you to read my blog, ALS and Wellness at: http://www.alsandwellness.blogspot.com A little bit of everything: motivation, laughter, exercise and wellness.

Continued success to you with ALS and Beyond and your advocacy efforts.
Stay strong - - carry on!