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Getting to the root of the issue

When I’m weeding in the garden, there’s nothing more satisfying than pulling up a dandelion with all of its root. Often this can be hard, sometimes if the dandelion is growing in the cracks of paving it can be nigh on impossible. But you know that if you don’t get to the root, the dandelion will reappear before long, stronger than ever.

The same applies in respect to health. Whatever condition you suffer from it does well to stop and think if it could be related to a root cause. It won’t always be easy to establish what that root cause is, but if there is a deep root and you just treat the symptoms then there’s a chance that you’ll continue to get problems of some kind, until you address that root cause.

People often link recurring health issues to periods of stress. For example, tonsillitis that resurfaces during periods of stress, or migraines and so on. But stress is an over-used word – what does it really mean? For some it’s a period of intense activity, a deadline, a need to achieve a great deal in a given time. Or it can be a conflict with someone, a dissatisfaction with what someone’s doing, a worry that they’re dissatisfied with you in some way. It could be a struggle to control something that’s not possible to control – traffic, transport delays, or something that somebody else controls, something that results in a pass or a fail. It could be our desire to achieve a certain standard, to perform at a certain level, to be seen a certain way. It could be an adjustment to something that’s changed in our lives.

The thing itself isn’t the issue, whatever it is. It’s our response to it that is defined as stress. An event that is stressful to one person might not be seen as at all stressful to someone else, regardless of their relative abilities to cope with whatever it is. It’s all a question of perception.

What we need to do is to work out why we feel stress in a certain situation. For example, some people get stressed about standing up and speaking in front of a room full of people. Why should this be? If you’ve prepared and know your subject then why shouldn’t you be able to do it well? The answer is most likely confidence. The root cause of the stress could be a lack of confidence based on a belief that your voice will fail or you’ll forget your words.

In another example, stress might come from having too much to do. The number of hours in the day isn’t variable, why are you trying to do more than is humanly possible? The answer might be that you need everything to be done and you can’t rest if it’s not done right. The root cause might be to do with a desire for control. Alternatively the root cause might be a need to impress others, which might then link back to a lack of confidence.

The lack of confidence or desire for control might come from an event. Maybe somebody once belittled your achievements, said something that left you feeling you were worthless and left you lacking confidence. Maybe there’s an area of your life that you can’t control, such as a difficult relationship, so you work very hard to establish control in those areas of your life that you can control. There are many different possibilities, these are just a few examples.

To grow a dandelion you need a seed (could be an event or an interaction with someone), which then develops a root (a negative emotion), growing a stem, leaves and a flower that are visible above the ground (physical symptoms). It then thrives in soil (the kind of stressful occasions that feed the negative emotion), aided by weather conditions that encourage it to grow (any interaction from others that reinforces the way we feel).

Addressing only the physical symptoms in a stress-related condition is like continually picking at the leaves and stem, knowing it will keep coming back again.

Finding the root and identifying the seed can be a very long journey. It’s quite a hard thing to do on your own, it takes a lot of self-awareness. It’s a question of looking for clues.

Homeopathy is about looking for these clues and using them to draw up a picture of whatever has interfered with your normal emotional response. The right remedy can stimulate your mind and body such that you can have a less sensitive reaction to those things that have caused you stress in the past. This should then lead you to reduced stress levels and therefore better health.

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