Though frequently ignored in medical practice, stress can be a major cause of chronic illness. Psychiatrist Chen Yen-I shows us how sickness is often not the result of weakness, but of too much strength.
While many of us might think of illness as a result of physical infirmity, Chen Yen-I’s experience tells a different story. Many of her patients who came to her with severe mental or physical illness were also strong, responsible, persistent people who had not realized they were sick until they took on too much stress to bear. We so often think of fighting back stress and pressure as a way to safeguard ourselves; Tired at Heart exposes the destructive force of that mentality, and offers us ways around it.
Dr. Chen describes how stress influences the autonomic nervous system, which regulates crucial subconscious mechanisms like organ function, and how imbalances there can lead to different kinds of chronic discomfort. She outlines in scientifically accurate yet easy-to-understand terms the psychological and interpersonal sources of stress, and enumerates our most common responses. In effect, her book first provides a map with which we can locate ourselves and the (frequently hidden) source of our stress, then offers us a compass in the form of simple yet nuanced advice.
Fighting against pressure keeps us going, but it can also make us brittle. In Tired at Heart, Chen Yen-I employs cogent, fluent prose to remind us how and when we hurt ourselves by trying to do too much.