Resolving Internal Conflict – Good For Your Health

When we are in conflict internally, we have two (at least) voices in our mind arguing with each other. We are divided. We want this, but we also want that. We want this but we know we should do that. We judge ourselves for something we did, but we had good reasons for doing it. When we are pulled in different directions by our desires or judge ourselves for our actions, it can be like we are driving with one foot on the gas and one on the brake at the same time.
I recently experienced internal conflict in making a decision regarding whether to stay on St. John, where I’d been living for 7 months, or return to California. There were compelling reasons to decide either way. I noticed that the longer I sat on the decision, trying to decide what to do, the less ease I felt. Everything was stopped, I could not move forward with anything until I had made that decision.
Until we are aware of the different voices and what they are saying, we likely don’t feel very good. Cognitive dissonance feels uncomfortable, especially when we are unaware of what is happening. Experiencing lack of alignment and harmony in our mind, we also experience it physically. Warring voices in our minds creates stress in the body.
The stress response in the body is closely tied in to the adrenal glands. When we experience stress, the adrenals release cortisol, which prepares the body to handle the stress. Internal conflict is not the same level of stress as, say, suddenly meeting a lion in your path. It’s much more of a low level, constant stress. The body reacts in a similar way, however, whether the stress is sudden and acute or continuous and mild.
Ongoing stress has been linked widely to a variety of health problems, and a few studies more directly implicate internal conflict in health problems. In two studies of undergraduates that looked at internal conflicts with regard to their Valley Medical Center Mychart goals, those with higher levels of conflict had more illnesses and visits to the health center. The students were also tracked over a year and those students with more conflict also had more psychosomatic complaints during the year.
Becoming aware of when we are in conflict internally gives us the chance to intervene so we can bring more harmony to both our mental and physical experience. I worked with my own conflict about whether to return to California or stay on St. John over a couple of weeks; each time I mediated it I dropped into another level of the conflict. I eventually became clear about my decision to return and because I had inquired deeply into what the different perspectives wanted, I was able to come up with a plan that took the needs of both into account.
Finding the needs that underlie what each part of ourselves is saying, we can seek strategies that ensure all of our needs are met. When we do so, we can unlock the energy tied up in the conflict; once my decision was made, Types Of Health Insurance In Usa things began to move quickly and I no longer felt stuck. In essence, mediating our internal conflicts is like lifting our foot from the brake, creating more ease in our experience, and leading us to live healthier lives.