Can Your Mind Cause Physical Symptoms?

I had a massive headache on Thursday of last week.  It was so bad that it woke me out of bed at 4:00am.  I’ve never had a headache this bad before.  I rarely take medication, but the pain was so unbearable I decided to take two ibuprofen before going back to bed.

This headache was agonizing.  It could have been a migraine for all I know.

Anytime I experience physical symptoms that are even remotely painful I look them up.  I refer to Lise Bourbeau’s book, Your Body’s Telling You: Love Yourself.  This book includes a complete list of metaphysical causes for illness and disease.  This is what Lise had to say about migraines:

“A common migraine is a severe, recurring headache, usually affecting only one side of the head, characterized by sharp pain and often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and visual disturbances.

A classic migraine is a common migraine with aura.  The auras consist of blurred vision, muddled thinking, exhaustion, worry and numbness or tingling on one side of the body.”

Although the pain was not recurring, it was sharp and to the right side of my head.  It was a throbbing pain that made me feel nauseated and made it difficult for me to keep my eyes open.  It sure felt like a migraine.

Old Ways of Dealing with Conflict

I tried a bunch of things to get rid of the pain.  I visualized, I used affirmations and I listened to music that I really enjoy; I tried several NLP exercises to eliminate the pain, but none of this worked.  I felt hopeless.  I had tried everything, but still felt this sharp jolt of pain to the right side of my head.

I was in Sudbury when this all happened.  It was the Easter long weekend.  I was just leaving Trisha’s parents when I sensed the pain.  It was just starting and getting worse.

I was on my way over to see a good friend of mine.  We both grew up in Sudbury and went to high school together.  I had planned to stop by anyway and I thought he might cheer me up.  Maybe I was just having a bad day.  Maybe this was all in my head – who knows.  It sure felt real to me.

My friend J smokes marijuana from time to time.  It’s not something I do very often, but I was willing to give it a try if I could help get rid of the pain.  I was running out of options and starting to worry.

When I arrived at his house I realized that the problem was much deeper than I had thought.  I just wanted it to go away.

After smoking the marijuana the pain disappeared – I felt relief.  It was only temporary lasting about 45 minutes.

When the marijuana wore off the pain returned.  The migraine was still there and painful as ever.

I can now see why alcoholics drink themselves into a stupor.  They want to eliminate pain.  They just want to feel good and when they run out of options the easiest thing to do is grab a drink.

I’m not advocating that people get drunk and stoned, I’m just saying it provides for temporary relief – a quick fix.

What’s the long term solution?

Conflict Between Conscious and Unconscious Minds

Remember that there is an inner world and an outer world.  Everything you see around you is the outer world, and everything that you don’t see (ie. your thoughts, feelings, emotions, beliefs, etc.) are part of your inner world.

Anytime you experience physical pain, it’s because of an inner conflict.  Your inner world creates your outer world.  Resolve your inner world and you resolve the pain in the outer world.

Your physical symptoms are created because of a disagreement between your conscious and unconscious mind.  This disagreement is a sign that what you’re consciously thinking and wanting is out of alignment with what your unconscious mind wants.  Once you align the two the symptoms go away.

How do you resolve inner conflict?

Stuart Lichtman, the author of How to Make Lots of Money for Anything Fast says,

“The most obvious way of dealing with such conflict is to let either the conscious or unconscious mind take over.

For example, when we drink alcohol, we anesthetize our conscious minds.  Alcoholics often drink so much that they completely anesthetize their conscious minds, producing “blackouts.”  A black out is when they have no conscious memory of what happened because their conscious mind was not involved in what was taking place.

So one way of dealing with conflict between the conscious and unconscious minds is to block one of the minds – the conscious mind, that is, to get it drunk or high on drugs.

That’s not something I recommend.”

Nor do I.  The conflict that Stuart talks about is common.  A migraine is just one of many physical symptoms that could surface.  Here are a few others:

  • tiredness and low energy
  • pain in your right or left wrist
  • headache/migraine
  • stomach indigestion
  • abdominal pain
  • neck pain
  • back pain

These symptoms surface because of this disagreement between your unconscious and conscious minds.  It’s like driving your car at full speed with the brakes on.  If you did that long enough, you’d start to see problems with your car – the symptoms that something was wrong.

Here are a few that might surface:

  • a rise in oil pressure or temperature
  • a high-pitched sound when braking
  • the car veering off the road to the left or right
  • the smell of burning rubber

Each of these symptoms is telling you that something is wrong with your car, right?

Wrong.  It’s telling you that something is wrong with your driving.  The car is perfectly fine the way it is as long as you maintain it by filling it with fuel, changing the oil and completing regular maintenance.  For the most part (unless you drive a ford) it’s your driving that creates damage to your car.

It’s the same with your body.  If you start feeling pain, it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your body.  Your body is a perfect healing machine.  As long as you take care of it by eating and exercising properly, the body will heal itself.  For the most part it’s your thinking that causes dis-ease; the way you steer and navigate your body.

If your conscious mind is steering your body in one direction and your unconscious mind in another, then you’re out of alignment.  It’s this misalignment that creates your physical symptoms.

Did My Mind Cause that Migraine?

It was only in retrospect that I realized what was happening to me. In Lise Bourbeau’s book: Your Body is Telling You: Love Yourself,  she points out,

“Migraines are directly linked with the I AM.  They are most common in those who will not allow themselves to live according to their true nature.  If a teenager, for example, dreams of being an artist, but allows himself to be influenced by his parents into another line of work, he can suffer from migraines as long as he does not allow himself to be what he wants TO BE.”

In my case it was my conscious mind that created the disruption.  One day prior to receiving this migraine I had just released my 5 Part Mini Course on Visualization.  This was the first time I shared this information with such a large group of people.

Deep down (unconsciously) I knew the information was valuable and that it would help people.  I could feel it in my very being.  I felt incredibly alive when I wrote those lessons.  It was truly an incredible experience.

But on the other hand, my conscious mind was resisting.  There was a lot of negative self-talk in opposition to my emotions.  Here’s an image of this tug of war that went through my mind:

It was those doubting thoughts that plagued me the day after I released the lessons:

“What if I offend someone?”

“What if it’s not good enough?”

“Steve, you’re such an idiot for doing that!”

All this negative self-talk directed at the I AM.  I was resisting those good feelings I had about the mini course.  When I redirected my internal self-talk and conscious focus to look at my situation from a perspective that was aligned with how I felt deep down inside, the migraine went away.  When the internal conflict disappeared so did the pain.


  • Libby

    Reply Reply April 17, 2009

    Steve, I feel the same way about releasing my book. There’s a lot of self coaching to keep me from hitting the delete button sometimes.
    I haven’t even let friends or family read it.
    Silly really.
    I worry people will judge it like Susan Boyle was being judged before she opened her mouth and sang.
    Only difference is she opened her mouth.
    It’s on Utube Britains Got Talent. Fantastic metaphor if you make the opportunity to listen.
    Grab the tissues.

  • Kiki

    Reply Reply April 22, 2009

    People should read this.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply April 22, 2009

    Hey Libby – there is a way around this…. unconscious programming to align with your conscious intentions…. I’ll be sharing my experience in my next product review.

    Hi Kiki – you’re telling me. I think this is a great lesson for anyone.

  • creed

    Reply Reply April 10, 2010

    Can a woman beleive so much and want a baby so bad that her body begins to go though the symptoms of pregnacy without her having a baby inside.

  • Steve

    Reply Reply April 10, 2010

    Hi Creed,

    Wanting doesn’t create – belief does. Belief always precedes reality, always.

  • Mark

    Reply Reply August 19, 2010

    Hi Steve,

    I had that many times as well, just as you have.
    But very often i wonder who is talking, My Conscious, or Unconscious mind.
    Like very often when i think of something, i get goosebumps all over the right side of my body and feel it tintling in my right side of my head and body.
    Wonder what that could be.
    But that it has to do with something of the unconscious mind i do believe.


  • Ann@PT

    Reply Reply November 11, 2010

    Theory states that mental strain causes physical strain. I have recently switched from a physical work force to a computer one, and definitely feel the strain on my body. Always tired. Do you know of anything that can help?

  • Steve

    Reply Reply November 11, 2010

    Hey Ann@PT,

    That’s an interesting question. If you’re feeling tired you may have some thought processes that are in conflict. Maybe one part of you wants to really contribute and help the company become more successful while another part of you feels this job is out of touch with your desires. That’s just one example of this conflict.

    It could also be that part of you feeling you should “have-to” take certain actions to fulfill your job requirements and contribute your worth to the company, while another part of you “wants-to” explore desirable projects that would be more fulfilling… but you constantly battle (with your thoughts) between what you “want-to” do and what you “have-to” do.

  • Michael

    Reply Reply March 4, 2012

    Hello Steven,

    i have a question about food allergies which i have about 5 of. they are:

    Milk, Whole wheat, All Soy Products, Green Peppers, Kidney Beans, and Garlic. and a bit of caffeine too, any sort.

    i went to a natural path and they took my blood and a hair sample. then put me on pills.

    t didn’t work. i still get sick to this day. it happened tonight just about an hour ago.

    threw up massively my doctor will not do anything about it. the medical system here in BC isn’t that good.

    whats the best way around me not throwing up and ruining my stomach lining?

    thanks again


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