When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection Info

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Now in paperback, the bestselling exploration of the
effects of the mind-body connection on stress and disease

Can a
person literally die of loneliness? Is there such a thing as a ""cancer
personality""? Drawing on scientific research and the author's decades
of experience as a practicing physician, this book provides answers to
these and other important questions about the effect of the mind-body
link on illness and health and the role that stress and one's individual
emotional makeup play in an array of common diseases.

  • Explores
    the role of the mind-body link in conditions and diseases such as
    arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, IBS, and multiple
    sclerosis
  • Draws on medical research and the author's clinical
    experience as a family physician
  • Includes The Seven A's of
    Healing-principles of healing and the prevention of illness from hidden
    stress

Shares dozens of enlightening case studies and stories,
including those of people such as Lou Gehrig (ALS), Betty Ford (breast
cancer), Ronald Reagan (Alzheimer's), Gilda Radner (ovarian cancer), and
Lance Armstrong (testicular cancer)

An international bestseller
translated into fifteen languages, When the Body Says No promotes
learning and healing, providing transformative insights into how
disease can be the body's way of saying no to what the mind cannot or
will not acknowledge.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for When the Body Says No: Understanding the Stress-Disease Connection:

5

Jul 06, 2015

“When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.” - Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No

I think it’s common knowledge that stress takes its toll on the body and can cause chronic illness. Gabor Maté goes a step further in his analysis on stress’ impact on the body and looks in more depth into autoimmune diseases and how our reactions to life, as well as our upbringings, and our relationships with loved ones, might affect how our body reacts, for “When we have been prevented from learning how to say no, our bodies may end up saying it for us.” - Gabor Maté, When the Body Says No

I think it’s common knowledge that stress takes its toll on the body and can cause chronic illness. Gabor Maté goes a step further in his analysis on stress’ impact on the body and looks in more depth into autoimmune diseases and how our reactions to life, as well as our upbringings, and our relationships with loved ones, might affect how our body reacts, for better or for worse. This book has a wealth of information that I feel should be essential reading.

Maté’s book was a wake up call in many ways. The author is a well-known and beloved Vancouver physician and he writes with such passion and understanding over the human body, illness and life experiences. The main issue Maté looks at is that of psychoneuroimmunology, the science of the interactions between the mind and the body. Basically, “our immune system does not exist in isolation from daily experience”, and our emotions and physiology are connected. Doctors often ask for our symptoms but few really help us understand that our childhood, upbringing and other factors play a huge part in our health. Maté advocates for a more holistic approach to healthcare.

I found the real examples in this book very informative, and also very sad. There was the story of Gilda Radner, who died from ovarian cancer. One of the things she said, which I’ll try my best to live by, goes as follows: “It is important to realize that you have to take care of yourself because you can’t take care of anybody else until you do.”

In addition to Radner, there were also analyses on Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) and Ronald Reagan, who Maté said wrote his autobiography with “emotional poverty, disguised by sentiment.” Emotions were a big part of this book, suppressed emotions being seen as unhealthy expression and aiding in stress:

” Emotions interpret the world for us. They have a signal function, telling us about our internal states as they are affected by input from the outside. Emotions are responses to present stimuli as filtered through the memory of past experience, and they anticipate the future based on our perception of the past.”

“Repressed anger will lead to disordered immunity. The inability to process and express feelings effectively, and the tendency to serve the needs of others before considering one’s own, are common patterns in people who develop chronic illness.”

I learned that perfectionism is harmful. I also learned that so many of us carry other people’s burdens and it can become crippling. I learned more about Alzheimer’s, cancer, dementia, .multiple sclerosis. and other diseases, and was impressed by how Maté managed to communicate what he believes to be the sources of these diseases without taking on an accusatory or judgmental tone. He has so much empathy, and what he does in his writing, as well as informing and guiding us to self-analyze, is helping us achieve self-acceptance and healing.

This book challenged me to take an honest look at myself, at my life, how I do things, and how I react to things.

Finally, a mantra for those of us who perhaps do too much: “I should be a guide, not a god.” ...more
4

Jan 30, 2011

Well, I'm new to this site. I'm currently reading another of this author's books, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, about addiction. So I was reminded of the important role this book has played in my life. I read When the Body Says No shortly after being diagnosed with a life threatening autoimmune disease. It's scleroderma, one of the illnesses he talks about. Doctors encouraged me to make peace with life, as well as to stop working immediately. I didn't have long, they said. I had a highly Well, I'm new to this site. I'm currently reading another of this author's books, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, about addiction. So I was reminded of the important role this book has played in my life. I read When the Body Says No shortly after being diagnosed with a life threatening autoimmune disease. It's scleroderma, one of the illnesses he talks about. Doctors encouraged me to make peace with life, as well as to stop working immediately. I didn't have long, they said. I had a highly stressful job but I thought my coping mechanisms were working. They weren't. But after leaving my job some of the symptoms diminished. I'm not saying this book saved my life but it caused me to rethink the relationship between stress and illness. And, well, I've survived five years past the doctors' best guess as to my expiry date!
p.s. The book doesn't get five stars because it does get a wee bit dry and unnecessarily detailed on occasion. But I adore this man. I highly recommend his In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts. ...more
4

Feb 12, 2012

One of my concerns when I started reading this book was whether he would adequately address the idea of personal blame. I was pleasantly surprised on his clear distinction between blaming someone for their illness versus looking at larger dynamics that can add an increased risk to autoimmune disorders. He is fully in the latter category, not at all the former. In other words, he's not simplistic in his approach and does not say just "If this, then that." I appreciated how he walks the reader One of my concerns when I started reading this book was whether he would adequately address the idea of personal blame. I was pleasantly surprised on his clear distinction between blaming someone for their illness versus looking at larger dynamics that can add an increased risk to autoimmune disorders. He is fully in the latter category, not at all the former. In other words, he's not simplistic in his approach and does not say just "If this, then that." I appreciated how he walks the reader through the various connections and humanizes it with personal stories of his patients. I learned a lot about the role of cortisol production in our bodies and want to read more on this now. My mother died of a very aggressive cancer a year ago but was the healthiest person (in terms of food and exercise) in our family by far. I've been left with many questions about why she died this way despite her great health and this is the first book that has given me any solid scientific explanation for other emotional dynamics that might have contributed. ...more
5

Jul 12, 2011

Finally, a book by a conventional Western doctor wholeheartedly supporting the concept of the body as a holistic organism. It's about time.

Dr. Mate describes, in layman's terms, the newly combined medical discipline called psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology -- the inextricably interconnected systems of psychology, neurology, immunology and endocrinology -- and describes how underlying, ongoing, unconscious stress is directly linked with specific disease.

This book is a wake up call for anyone facing Finally, a book by a conventional Western doctor wholeheartedly supporting the concept of the body as a holistic organism. It's about time.

Dr. Mate describes, in layman's terms, the newly combined medical discipline called psychoneuroimmunoendocrinology -- the inextricably interconnected systems of psychology, neurology, immunology and endocrinology -- and describes how underlying, ongoing, unconscious stress is directly linked with specific disease.

This book is a wake up call for anyone facing or worried about getting cancer and other heredity diseases. In it you will find the seeds to health...provided you are willing to examine how your lifestyle and current coping skills are directly affecting your health.

You don't have to be a ticking time bomb! Genetics don't determine your risk, the petri dish of your inner and outer life does. This book is a timely examination of the environment in which disease thrives and how we can make our bodies a less welcome environment for ill health.

As someone dealing with physical, mental and emotional burnout, I highly recommend this book as an antidote for the effects of long-term stress and an optimistic view of what you can do to counter the affects of everyday stress on your health. ...more
4

Feb 16, 2014

This was an incredibly difficult book to read, page for page. I imagine it would be moreso if you are dealing with one of the many illnesses Maté discusses (cancer, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.). But it was a great choice to end the year with, to contemplate during a week off from my (emotionally heavy and increasingly draining) work.

Maté makes connections between physical health and emotional patterns of behaviour that should be obvious, but are overlooked by our This was an incredibly difficult book to read, page for page. I imagine it would be moreso if you are dealing with one of the many illnesses Maté discusses (cancer, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc.). But it was a great choice to end the year with, to contemplate during a week off from my (emotionally heavy and increasingly draining) work.

Maté makes connections between physical health and emotional patterns of behaviour that should be obvious, but are overlooked by our current collective way of living. Alarming for what it says about health and the shortcomings of modern medical systems. Insightful on a personal level. I hope to carry this fresh perspective with me into the new year.

His In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction is a book I recommend often in real life. I would be more careful recommending this one, and I don't necessarily agree with every idea outlined therein, but consider it more important, perhaps. ...more
1

Jun 13, 2016

Fine, call me a narrow-minded medic.

What irked me particularly about this book is the fact that every chapter starts with a sad tale of loss, grief, abuse and emotional repression that simply 'happens' to happen in somebody suffering from ALS/MS/various cancers. And from this Mate draws the conclusion (kinda) that denying your feelings will give you scleroderma.

Don't get me wrong here - I know fully well about the proper evidence (like, you know, academic papers and the likes) discussing the Fine, call me a narrow-minded medic.

What irked me particularly about this book is the fact that every chapter starts with a sad tale of loss, grief, abuse and emotional repression that simply 'happens' to happen in somebody suffering from ALS/MS/various cancers. And from this Mate draws the conclusion (kinda) that denying your feelings will give you scleroderma.

Don't get me wrong here - I know fully well about the proper evidence (like, you know, academic papers and the likes) discussing the evidence behind immunosuppression in chronic stress exposure. That's not news. And correlation does not imply causation. But I'm just really upset that he thinks illustrating a self-help book with 'medical' cases will make the reader go 'from now on, I'll be more assertive'. The suggestion is not a bad one, the emotional blackmail is.

Here. I vented. I probably won't get ovarian cancer, but I do have a pretty good shot at developing MS (blame any typos in this review on early symptoms). ...more
4

Jul 15, 2011

This is the third book by Gabor Mate I've read. The idea is that many common illnesses -- cancer and auto-immune diseases, to name a couple of wide categories -- are related to specific kinds of stress. In other words, while there may be an environmental or genetic component, the physical causes are not the most important. He thinks there is reason to believe that people from certain types of family backgrounds, living certain types of lives, will be more likely to acquire certain types of This is the third book by Gabor Mate I've read. The idea is that many common illnesses -- cancer and auto-immune diseases, to name a couple of wide categories -- are related to specific kinds of stress. In other words, while there may be an environmental or genetic component, the physical causes are not the most important. He thinks there is reason to believe that people from certain types of family backgrounds, living certain types of lives, will be more likely to acquire certain types of health conditions.

You can see how this might be somewhat controversial, and indeed, he mentions that some people have become very angry when hearing about or reading the book. It can sound like 'blaming the patient' or blaming the patient's family. This is honestly not his point, though. He wants people to realize that there is more to physical health and disease than physical reasons -- that the mind and body are interrelated and affect each other in ways we don't fully understand. To illuminate the point, he discusses many, many case histories -- not just people with peeudonyms from his practice, but also well=known people like Stephen Hawking and Gilda Radner.

My father was a physician, and though I don't know what he would have thought specifically about the details of Mate's argument, I do know that he saw and thought about the emotional/mental elements in both disease and healing. While emotional causes probably do not explain everything there is to know about medical pathology, I think it is fairly obvious that our backgrounds play a part in how our health history looks. ...more
4

Aug 03, 2016

A real eye-opening book about how stress and anxiety wear down the immune system and contribute to a host of illnesses. I didn't need to be sold on the connection, because it makes perfect sense to me, but I was glad to read the whys and wherefores. In the last chapter the author gives some advice as to how to confront the stress patterns that plague many people. This is well worth a read if you are interested in the mind/body connection and the medical research that backs it up.
3

Jun 24, 2011

Repression-stress-lowered immunity as a trigger for disease, make sense and has been discussed before. A person only has to live through one major, stressful episode in his/her life to attest that the link between these is real. The author states repeatedly that it is only one of several contributing factors, however, like the majority of traditionally trained medical doctors, he ignores some very important ones: parasitic activity in our bodies, solvents and other toxins that have become Repression-stress-lowered immunity as a trigger for disease, make sense and has been discussed before. A person only has to live through one major, stressful episode in his/her life to attest that the link between these is real. The author states repeatedly that it is only one of several contributing factors, however, like the majority of traditionally trained medical doctors, he ignores some very important ones: parasitic activity in our bodies, solvents and other toxins that have become omnipresent in our daily environment and food, nutritional deficiencies and stresses due to a modern diet extremely high in sugars/fat and low in fiber, lack of enough exercise, harmful effects of over-vaccination in recent decades, disappearance of life-sustaining minerals in our food supply due to industrial farming techniques, et al.

I agree with most points the author made and the book is easy to follow. But I found it a little too simplistic in its reasoning. Some of the research used for evidence is questionable. The subjective answers (or lack thereof) people give in study groups are not necessarily conclusive. At the same time, one should never make conclusions about the lives of famous people based solely on the opinion of a biographer (or sibling) who wrote about them after they were dead. The chapter about MS where the author parrots the ramblings of Jacqueleine duPre's jealous sister in her controversial biography, was disappointing. I had less respect for the author's words after that. ...more
4

Dec 21, 2015

Another keeper from one of my favourite authors. Dr. Mate has many examples to make clear the connection between repressed emotions and disease. A reminder that you cannot fool Mother Nature by living in denial.
4

Apr 30, 2019

I totally buy the mind/body connection explored here and grew up in a home where my doctor father and mystic mother always talked about it so this book and his theories felt right and familiar. The book was a sequence of cases that were illuminating and interesting.
4

May 08, 2012

After reading this book, I want to buy it for about a dozen people I know. While it covered a lot I knew or assumed about the stress & diseases connection, Mate does a good job of pushing the idea about ten steps further and makes a lot of connections and points in the argument that stress and disease should be considered 1) by viewing the body as a system of systems (hormones, autoimmune, nervous, etc.) and 2) by viewing the disease not solely as a physical manifestation, but within the After reading this book, I want to buy it for about a dozen people I know. While it covered a lot I knew or assumed about the stress & diseases connection, Mate does a good job of pushing the idea about ten steps further and makes a lot of connections and points in the argument that stress and disease should be considered 1) by viewing the body as a system of systems (hormones, autoimmune, nervous, etc.) and 2) by viewing the disease not solely as a physical manifestation, but within the whole life of the person (including relationships, social and familial).

I especially appreciated his interviews with Dr. Michael Kerr of the Bowen Center for the Study of the Family in D.C. who explained many of Dr. Murray Bowen's principles of Family Systems Theory. In later chapters, Mate's applications of systems theory is broad and deep, but still accessible to a general audience. Lots of good information to mine here when looking at one's own life.

The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 was because of Mate's inclusion of summaries and quotes from celebrities' memoirs such as Lance Armstrong and Gilda Radner. I felt he made some leaps in applying his ideas to their personal accounts in an effort to support his conjecture, since he had no first had knowledge of or interviews with them. There were dozens of other interviews with patients and their families that served the same purpose with better results. ...more
5

Feb 13, 2012

I enjoyed reading this book - he is a GP/Psychotherapist and for this book he's interviewed people so you get their stories but also reprots back from studies. His view is that current medicine splits treatment to purely 'body' whereas health can only accurately be thought of in terms of mind-&-body. Coming from a science background I enjoyed all the descriptions of killer t cells, endocrine systems, cortisol etc etc. I think anyone would as it's written very clearly and simply. Plus it's I enjoyed reading this book - he is a GP/Psychotherapist and for this book he's interviewed people so you get their stories but also reprots back from studies. His view is that current medicine splits treatment to purely 'body' whereas health can only accurately be thought of in terms of mind-&-body. Coming from a science background I enjoyed all the descriptions of killer t cells, endocrine systems, cortisol etc etc. I think anyone would as it's written very clearly and simply. Plus it's absoultely compelling evidence that stressing our bodies is NOT good for health - and the main stress he is talking about is unresolved/expressed emotion. ...more
5

Jul 25, 2011

Gabor contributes his intelligence and insight to the realm of mind-body connectedness. He weaves together the latest advances in neuroscience, endocrinology and developmental science and leavens these with personal insight and a firm grasp of the humanities and philosophy. The end result is a truly powerful commentary and critique of western medicine and the approach we take to illness in our society. I was deeply moved and inspired by this work.
4

Mar 07, 2019

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Brilliant and eye opening, only reason it doesn’t get 5 stars is because of other books in my list and some of the lengthy medical explanations.

The stress-disease connection and the need for a holistic approach in medicine is widely recognized these days although this wasn’t always the case and as a result till today doctors often treat patients symptoms with total disregard to the patients overall life. Dr Mate goes through the various autoimmune diseases and disease ‘personality profiles’ by Brilliant and eye opening, only reason it doesn’t get 5 stars is because of other books in my list and some of the lengthy medical explanations.

The stress-disease connection and the need for a holistic approach in medicine is widely recognized these days although this wasn’t always the case and as a result till today doctors often treat patients symptoms with total disregard to the patients overall life. Dr Mate goes through the various autoimmune diseases and disease ‘personality profiles’ by using stories from his patients as well as famous figures such as Ronald Regan.

Love his emphasis on how genes cannot be blamed for some of the diseases that run in families as environmental factors are just as important and toxic relationships /coping mechanisms passed through generations are responsible for disease just like nutrition and exercise. An interesting concept was C personality type as opposed to type A and B.

Found his analysis of anger eye opening , anger as an emotion should neither be repressed nor enacted aggressively in ‘rage’ but should be felt and physiologically it should give you a surge of energy to deal with the situation without any anxiety .Most people use either repression or rage as they are not taught how to process it since childhood.

Love how he bashes void positivity and advocates that people should embrace their negative emotions just as much as the positive ones.

Favorite parts:
- Last chapter where he lists the A’s of healing is to be re-read. Wish I could send that chapter around to friends who need it.
- “Be a guide not a god” in reference to being superhuman for other people.
- “If you face the choice between feeling guilt and resentment, choose the guilt every time.”
- In reference to autoimmune diseases he mentioned that when the boundaries are blurred on an emotional level they are also blurred on a physiological level.A poetic description of psycomatic disease. ...more
5

Oct 23, 2019

"We have seen in study after study that compulsive positive thinkers are more likely to develop disease and less likely to survive. Genuine positive thinking — or, more deeply, positive being — empowers us to know that we have nothing to fear from truth."
Mind blown.
I'm so glad I followed Dr. Nicole LePera AKA 'the Holistic Psychologist's recommendation and read this. I felt a million different things as I worked my way through. It's dense but so fucking interesting, it was easy to get to the "We have seen in study after study that compulsive positive thinkers are more likely to develop disease and less likely to survive. Genuine positive thinking — or, more deeply, positive being — empowers us to know that we have nothing to fear from truth."
Mind blown.
I'm so glad I followed Dr. Nicole LePera AKA 'the Holistic Psychologist's recommendation and read this. I felt a million different things as I worked my way through. It's dense but so fucking interesting, it was easy to get to the end. I'd heard of Dr Mate, he shows up in Johann Hari's 'Chasing The Scream' and I thought he sounded so cleaver and insightful. I can't believe how long I waited to read his back catalogue. I can't stop talking about this book. ...more
5

Jul 19, 2019

Amazing! So enlightening! I wish I could give a copy of this to everyone in my family (I won’t). This and The Body Keeps The Score are my pillars of healing.
1

Jan 28, 2019

I recognise this book brings hope to people suffering with disease, but it is not reality based hope.
1. There is little evidence of personality types and disease, despite a lot of desperate believers in it. It's still possible such evidence will emerge (and I'd hope it does), but it has not appeared yet, despite much effort. Spiritual healing should be part of any recovery from illness agreed. And chronic stress definitely correlates to many types of illness. But this book is offering unfounded I recognise this book brings hope to people suffering with disease, but it is not reality based hope.
1. There is little evidence of personality types and disease, despite a lot of desperate believers in it. It's still possible such evidence will emerge (and I'd hope it does), but it has not appeared yet, despite much effort. Spiritual healing should be part of any recovery from illness agreed. And chronic stress definitely correlates to many types of illness. But this book is offering unfounded hope, and is misdirecting people.
The mechanism of repression is presented as an obvious truth, when it is anything but. For instance "Depression - a mental state in which repression of anger dominates emotional functioning" is NOT factual, and is entirely misleading.
2. There is little evidence that repression of feelings is a real thing at all. Repression is a Freudian defence mechanism, but note, if you can recall an event, it is not repressed. And this style of psychoanalysis is very old psychology - pretty much all forms of psychology have moved on to more effective techniques. And those still grounded in Freudian models, are much more sophisticated than this repressed anger = disease offering.
3. Interviewing a sick person to find some anger-causing anecdote does NOT correlate that event with the sickness, as suggested by the author. Everyone has traumatic experiences in the past. At one point he even suggests that a mother breaking eye-contact with a child is traumatic. Come on! Human beings are much more robust than that. Numerous times he interviews people who claim to have a decent childhood, before digging for some possible traume, and then KABOOM! that's repressed anger = stress = hormones = tissue damage blah blah ...
4. Much research shows that childhood experiences have little effect on adult character. It was an old Freudian idea that minute experiences of the young develop into character traits (such as shame or joy around potty training). Few psychologists today give much credence to this theory in any extensive capacity.
5. The author presents lots of anecdotes - but these do not make for science. Psychoanalysing (amateurishly) characters like Stephen Hawking or Jonathon Swift, and suggesting that he has found the links in character traits to their respective diseases, is criminal.
6. There is very little evidence that psychology or therapy has much effect on many many diseases, especially the massively abridged pseudo-psychology presented in this book. In fact, the connection with a trained therapist is more likely to produce good results than the particular model of therapy applied (See George Kelly). Picking up this book and trying to apply it will mean digging out things to be angry about from your childhood, and expressing the anger ... If trained psychologists have limited effect on the disease (though they may help to a large degree in dealing with it emotionally), then self help application of this book's rudimentary pseudo-psychology is not going to help anyone.

Please, do add a spiritual and therapeutic dimension to your healing. But tempting as these ideas about repressed anger might be, do seek out the proper science, and a proper therapist. They can help with the trauma of dealing with sickness (no need to add childhood traumas to the current problems!) and can provide the emotional support in sticking with proper treatment programs [some research showed that breast cancer patients had longer survival rates if they underwent group counselling - but it turned out it was not due to the counselling as much as it was due to the women supporting each other in taking the full courses of chemo and other treatments]
If you have serious abuse in your history, don't wait for illness before you seek counselling and support. And don't buy into this reductionist idea of repressed anger. There are better models, and ways of dealing with things. ...more
4

Jan 24, 2011

Description:
Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between inhibited emotion and Alzheimer’s disease? Is there a "cancer personality"? Questions such as these are emerging as scientific findings throw new light on the controversy that surrounds the mind-body connection in illness and health. Modern research is confirming the age-old wisdom that emotions profoundly affect our physiology. Repressed emotions frequently bring on stress–– which, in turn, can lead to disease.
Description:
Can a person literally die of loneliness? Is there a connection between inhibited emotion and Alzheimer’s disease? Is there a "cancer personality"? Questions such as these are emerging as scientific findings throw new light on the controversy that surrounds the mind-body connection in illness and health. Modern research is confirming the age-old wisdom that emotions profoundly affect our physiology. Repressed emotions frequently bring on stress–– which, in turn, can lead to disease.
Provocative and beautifully written, When the Body Says No provides fresh information regarding these and other important issues concerning the effects of stress on health. In lucid, easy-to-follow language, Dr. Gabor Maté summarizes the latest scientific findings about the role that stress and individual emotional makeup play in an array of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, cancer, and ALS, among others.

Emotions like anger share with our immune system the role of defending our boundaries. When we repress emotions, we may also suppress our immune defenses. In some people, these defenses may go awry, destroying the body rather than protecting it. Dr. Maté explores the reason why, despite a rapidly accumulating body of evidence about the mind-body unity, most physicians continue to treat physical symptoms rather than persons–– and why we must understand the mind-body link in order to take an active role in our overall health.

When the Body Says No promotes learning and healing. It offers the kind of transformative insight that promotes physical and emotional self-awareness–– the lack of which, Dr. Maté asserts, is at the root of much of the stress that chronically debilitates health and prepares the ground for disease.
...more
5

Apr 20, 2010

This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I can't wait to read more of Gabor Mate's books. Mate looks at the emotional components of various diseases and how stress (an environmental factor) affects the onset of cancer, MS, arthritis, alzheimer's, you name it. Each disease tends to have a particular personality profile that corresponds to it. With lung cancer, for example, Mate observes that we tend to think that smoking causes lung cancer. However, if that were true, then all smokers This is one of the best books I've ever read, and I can't wait to read more of Gabor Mate's books. Mate looks at the emotional components of various diseases and how stress (an environmental factor) affects the onset of cancer, MS, arthritis, alzheimer's, you name it. Each disease tends to have a particular personality profile that corresponds to it. With lung cancer, for example, Mate observes that we tend to think that smoking causes lung cancer. However, if that were true, then all smokers would get lung cancer....and that's not the case. So, what's the difference between those smokers who do get lung cancer and those who don't? In this instance, it turns out that emotional repression, especially of anger, has a lot to do with it.

I highly recommend this book. Mate's writing is clear and based on sound data. I learned so much from reading this, and it helped me to understand the various diseases in my family as well as to reevaluate the way I live my own life. ...more
3

Mar 23, 2019

The idea in this book is so important. When our body is under attack (from stress), it fights back with illnesses. I was already a strong believer in this idea and many of Gabor Maté’s stories support my thinking.
However, if I wasn’t already a strong believer, I’m not sure Maté’s book would convince me. For a person who is new to the idea of stress hurting your body, they might find this book to have too many similar stories and might end in tuning out.
I would recommend this book to someone who The idea in this book is so important. When our body is under attack (from stress), it fights back with illnesses. I was already a strong believer in this idea and many of Gabor Maté’s stories support my thinking.
However, if I wasn’t already a strong believer, I’m not sure Maté’s book would convince me. For a person who is new to the idea of stress hurting your body, they might find this book to have too many similar stories and might end in tuning out.
I would recommend this book to someone who is interested and open to the ideas of self regulation and the effects of stress. ...more
5

Jul 06, 2019

I first became interested in studying medicine at the end of college, primarily intrigued by the interplay between mind and body. In the following 40+ years, this interest never went away, although I gave other matters and subjects greater priority. My recent discovery of functional and integrative medicine has drawn me back.

For those new to the idea that your mind has profound affects on your body - down to the cellular and even genetic level - "When the Body Says No" is a good introduction. I first became interested in studying medicine at the end of college, primarily intrigued by the interplay between mind and body. In the following 40+ years, this interest never went away, although I gave other matters and subjects greater priority. My recent discovery of functional and integrative medicine has drawn me back.

For those new to the idea that your mind has profound affects on your body - down to the cellular and even genetic level - "When the Body Says No" is a good introduction. For those who are already delving into the health fields of nutrition, gut microbiome, sleep, stress and hormone balance - Mate's book adds a closer look at the role of childhood experiences and emotions in causing, magnifying and potentially relieving disease.

This book emphasizes the psychological (mind) aspects of disease - and only touches on the many potential physical (body) contributions, so it's not the whole story, but it is a crucially important part.

Mate illustrates the relevant research (on the contribution of the psyche to chronic disease) with the stories of patients suffering from cancer, and autoimmune disease like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and inflammatory bowel disease. But rather than blaming the victim, Mate explains the mutlti-generational origin of our psychologies, and then offers a way forward. The final chapter explores the traits to nurture in service of one's health and flourishing: Attachment (and Attunement.) Acceptance. Awareness. Autonomy. Assertion. Affirmation. Of particular interest to me was his explanation of healthy Anger as a necessary expression of self, distinguished from repression and rage which are seated upon insecurity and anxiety.
For anyone interested in staying healthy - or who is struggling to overcome a chronic illness, this book explores a crucial piece in the puzzle.

"Health rests on three pillars: the body, the psyche and the spiritual connection. To ignore any one of them is to invite imbalance and dis-ease." ...more
5

Oct 08, 2019

This is not only for people that are professionals in the field of therapy and psychology. This book is for the everyday reader that wants to understand the deeper organisms of emotions and how they grow in the cultures of our mind, body, and heart. Dr. Gabor Mate touches on the enlightening yet plainly obvious fact that negative emotions can deepen trauma yet also liberate trauma through the means of healthy release and heal what often kills millions of people around the world.
3

Sep 13, 2018

I had a hard time getting through this book. I know many people who loved it, I found it to be really dry.
4

Sep 08, 2019

Very insightful book about the link between mind and body and how stresses in our lives can cause disease. It’s easy to read and the stories of patients are presented in a gentle and supportive way. I enjoyed the book and am of the opinion we can, and do, create “dis-ease” in our bodies.

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