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How Symptoms Become Chronic

Updated: Apr 9

By Jenny Peterson

Your symptoms are not going away, they may be present some days and other days not. Why is this happening? 

There is a biological reason why and I’m going to tell you all about it today. 

Before I jump into why your symptoms become chronic, I need to set a solid foundation of how symptoms start in the first place.

Our subconscious is the messenger to our body. Like a cell tower is to your cell phone, your subconscious is always in communication with your body, essentially telling it if it is safe or not safe. 

Your subconscious and body have one focus, survival. If you want to understand your body and your chronic symptoms, you have to know and embrace this biological truth. The programmed need for survival is in all of nature, plants, and animals. 

Our nervous system plays a role in how our body adapts for survival. Based on the messages it gets from the subconscious, it will either activate the sympathetic nervous system or not activate it. 

So, for example, if you fear public speaking and fear that you will be judged by the audience, that fear is stemmed in your subconscious. You may have events that have happened in the past that influence this fear and thoughts that feed it. 

Now according to your body, this message doesn’t feel safe. Public speaking may not be a threat to your physical survival but your brain and body don’t know the difference, it simply doesn’t feel safe. You feel weak, fearful, and powerless according to your brain and that is enough to be a risk to your survival. 

So, based on this message, your body responds with anxiety. Even though anxiety doesn’t feel good to you, it is a survival response.

Let's say you don’t have a fear of public speaking and feel extremely confident. This is a message that feels safe to the body and there is no need to adapt. 

As you just heard, your body doesn’t have a reason to adapt unless it doesn’t feel safe. Not feeling safe according to your brain is not just about physically not feeling safe. Actually this is most often not the case, it's more about emotionally not feeling safe. 

Not feeling safe is a broad term that includes many perceptions. It could mean that you can’t breathe, can’t speak up, don’t feel good enough, you're powerless, fearful, feel alone, etc. These perceptions feel like a threat to your survival according to your very primal brain. 

The root to all the feelings of not feeling safe is back to your perception. If you're worried, scared, fearful, unable to digest something, etc. it's all going to be based on how you are perceiving something. And your perception is going to be based on all experiences that your subconscious has saved to use for the future. 

Chronic conditions don’t just pop up out of the blue, they are a domino effect from the way you perceive life. They are an indication that you are continuing to respond to life in a way that doesn’t feel safe. 

Once you send messages of safety to your body, it will no longer need to adapt and will be able to complete its healing.

The messages that you need to send to your body are very individual and unique to your experiences and subconscious patterns, so I can only give you examples here.  

Let's say you have chronic anxiety. Regardless of how old you are, this is going to be rooted in childhood. Somewhere you learned to not trust yourself. This could have been modeled through your parents if they were people that were fearful. Or maybe you were never really given the opportunity to build your trust because your parents were helicopter parents. Or you had parents that expected you to be perfect and when you weren’t, there were consequences. Society and a lot of religions also do a good job to program us to be fearful and not step into our own power. 

So, this programming follows you into adulthood. How you respond to life is based on your programs from before the age of 12. In fact, your brain continues to build those patterns by looking through life through those same filters. That way the brain always stays safe and comfortable, again for survival. 

So if you have chronic conditions, your body is telling you that you are continuing to respond to life in ways that don’t feel safe. You most likely have triggers around you that are keeping these patterns open. 

Your body keeps getting re-activated and this starts the healing process all over again. 

Let’s break this down simply one more time. 

You experience something that you perceive to be unsafe. Your sympathetic nervous system is activated and your body adapts for survival. When you no longer perceive that situation to be unsafe, the body gets a message that it's safe and it goes into healing, activating the parasympathetic nervous system. 

Chronic conditions mean that you are giving inconsistent messages of safety to your body and it can’t complete the healing process. 

With the anxiety example, if you no longer give your power away, step into your power and trust yourself, there would be no need for your body to adapt and you would no longer experience anxiety.

Stepping into your power and building trust in yourself is not an overnight process. It will take some time to unwire those old patterns and create new ones. That is what the rewiring process looks like. 

Your body isn’t broken when you are experiencing chronic conditions, it simply hasn’t been given the message that it's safe to heal. It still feels like there is a threat somewhere that it needs to continue adapting. Your body is biologically programmed to heal and knows how to.

The other problem that happens is that people don’t know what healing looks like or they have unrealistic expectations. This in itself will cause a block in healing.

We have been programmed to believe that symptoms are bad, we need to take something to make them go away, which then only drives us into a state of fear and panic, causing our sympathetic nervous system to be activated again.

The only time we actually trust our body is when we have a cut or broken bone. We jump in and try to outsmart our own bodies for everything else. 

When we fear our symptoms, or take things to stop them, we interrupt that healing process. This is how chronic conditions can stay around for years. The root issue, our subconscious patterns are never addressed, we fear our symptoms and take things to stop the healing. All the while we are thinking that there is something wrong but really it's because the body isn’t being given the message that it's safe to heal. Either the healing is being stopped by a pill, fear, or old survival patterns of not feeling safe. 

Chronic conditions indicate that you are operating from old survival programs that are no longer serving you. Your body is literally telling you where you need to create change. We are not taught to understand this language that our body speaks. But when you do learn it, you will no longer fear your body, you’ll understand your symptoms, and know how to prevent them in the future. 

Letting go of the fear of your symptoms is one of the best places to start to assist your body with completing the healing process.

Fear of your symptoms is an old pattern that you have used to essentially stay alive. But it's all based on not understanding why your body is doing what it's doing. When you understand this, you have the power to shift that old pattern. It’s no longer part of your survival .

Hopefully it is becoming more clear to you as to why your chronic symptoms aren’t going away.

I want you to imagine your symptom as a cut. Your body knows exactly how to heal it. But lets say everyday or every couple of days you hit the cut and it opens and the healing process has to start all over. This is essentially what is happening when you have chronic conditions. 

Your body knows how to heal, if it's not healing, something is interrupting that process.

And it is not mold, food, bacteria, or viruses, it is subconscious patterns that are rooted in not feeling safe. These come in the form of beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and fears that are all programmed from your experiences. 

These patterns are connected to your survival and your body is doing exactly what it is designed to do in order to stay alive. It's up to you to identify those patterns and change them so your body gets permission to heal and completes the healing cycle.


We get it, you're desperate to have your illness be a thing of the past, not something that defines your days. But trying to heal WITHOUT a custom plan is costing you precious time, money and energy!

You are unique, your symptoms are connected to very specific patterns within your subconscious.

Without a plan unique to you, you will continue struggling and miss out on the life you deserve to be living! To help you get started on your long-lasting healing journey, we would love to provide you with a healing plan that is unique to you. Get your custom healing plan today!

You can also Download my free healing guide, “Why Can’t I Heal” where you will learn the 5 reasons that you haven't healed despite everything you've tried. These are the missing pieces to your healing and the key to resolving your symptoms for good.

Jenny Peterson is the founder and CEO of Mind Body Rewire (MBR). She teaches those that are overwhelmed with trying to heal chronic symptoms how to simplify their healing by focusing on just one place, the subconscious mind. Learn more about MBR here.


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