Background

Gabor Mate is a physician and bestselling author.

Summary

Gabor Mate explores the link between chronic stress and its contribution to disease.

Interesting Ideas

This book explores how chronic stress is a major contributor to the onset of disease. It explores how emotional repression (and negative early childhood experiences) plays a large role in chronic stress and the development of disease. The book explores studies and cases of individuals with diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s.

Along with individual cases throughout the chapters, there were many studies exploring how emotional repression leads to chronic stress, which lays the foundation for many diseases. Some examples: Researchers in Cvrenka found in a study of fourteen hundred participants that emotional repression was a major contribution to the onset of cancer. Research by Walter Brown and Peter Mueller found that the chronic exclusion of negative feelings was present with all ALS participants. A 1987 literature review concluded that psychologic stress plays a major role in the onset of rheumatoid arthritis.

On stress in general, a study done in 1969 found that 85 percent of thirty-two MS patients from Israel and the US experienced MS symptoms in the wake of highly stressful events. Researchers in Colorado found that one hundred people with MS (relapsing-remitting) with extreme stresses such as relationship difficulties or financial insecurity were four times as likely to suffer exacerbations.

A couple other topics towards the latter half of the book were on transgenerational influences and acceptance.

In the final chapter Gabor Mate shares “7 A’s of Healing” towards emotional competence. This included acceptance, awareness, anger, autonomy, attachment, assertion, and affirmation. For instance acceptance is the willingness to recognize and accept how things truly are. Assertion is the positive valuation of ourselves independent of our history, personality, or abilities.

Positives

Overall very well researched book.

Some Criticisms

No major criticisms.

Check out his book, here: (Amazon link)


Bibliography

Mate, Gabor. When the Body Says No: The Cost of Hidden Stress. Knopf Canada, 2003.


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