HKMHF 精神健康資訊平台 > Article > You have 1 unread message: the body complaints, when the mind is overloaded

When the brain is stressed, it sends signals through the body. Many people have
stomach-ache and feel pressure on chest, but when the doctor checks, they can’t see
any pathological changes in the stomach or heart. In fact, these pains are the signals
sent by the body due to mental stress. In fact, our body and mind are more closely
connected than we think. We often talk about physical and mental health. In our
everyday language, “Heart” refers to our mind, which are the manifestations of our
brain operations, while “body” refers to other organs of our body. Our brains need to
speak out and express, which of course can be reflected through our thoughts,
emotions, and actions of our hands and feet. For example, when we are wronged at
workplace, or when we are overloaded by work stress, a thought will arise in our
head: I want to resign! And the emotion at this time is anger; the action of hands and
feet is to take out the mobile phone immediately and look for a job online. In
addition to these, when our mind is overloaded with stress, it will also send out a
distress signal through our body’s sensations and other reactions.

These signals include insomnia, difficulty concentrating after waking up, headaches
(especially when you have to make mental effort), tight jaw, grinding teeth, dry
mouth, difficulty swallowing, pain in the neck, shoulders and other muscles, rapid
heartbeat, pressure on chest, stomach upset, diarrhea, hand tremors, tinnitus, cold
hands and feet, etc. In addition to the above-mentioned bodily sensations and
reactions, when we are overwhelmed by stress, our brains will also drive us to do
something again and again as coping, such as eating desserts, drinking alcohol and
smoking, and biting our nails and lips, etc.

I hope that everyone, from today onwards, have a more accurate interpretation and
response to these bodily sensations and reactions. It’s unwise to just take these
reactions and feelings as noise, and then try to silence or cover them up. For
example, after working on the computer for several hours, the head starts to hurt,
and you can’t concentrate. If you want to drink coffee to refresh yourself, or take
painkillers to relieve the pain, why don’t you try to go out for a while and look at the
small piece of sky between tall buildings? The blue sky is very good at soothing our
nerves. Another example is that soon after lunch time, we have not yet digested the
lunch we just ate, and their stomachs are still full. However, after an hour of busy
work, the feeling of craving for dessert comes to our mind. Instead of seeing this as a
signal of hunger, why not try to interpret this signal as the need for some soothing in
the mind? Our response is not to eat snacks, but to close your eyes and listen to soft
music for fifteen minutes.

It is very important to understand that when mental stress is too much, complaints
will be made through various body sensations. If you want to become an expert in
managing your physical and mental health, you must correctly understand the signals
sent by your body. Despite your busy work schedule, you still find time to read the
text messages sent by your friends; why do you ignore the messages sent to yourself
every day by your body and mind? If the messages sent by your body and mind are
difficult to interpret, you need to find a professional, such as your doctor, to help you
figure out what these messages are.

For more information on mental health, please visit the website of the Mental Health
Foundation at”

Supported by the Jebsen Group Charitable Fund
Author: Dr. William CHUI Wing Ho (Psychiatry Specialist)