When I was in elementary school and my sister got sick with the flu, I sometimes would feel sympathy nausea so much that I wondered if I should stay home from school, too. My mom probably thought I was trying to get out of school, but that was never the case. I just didn’t want to be sick in front of everyone. But somewhere I picked up the phrase “mind over matter,” and applied it anytime I was feeling sick because someone else in the room was sick. If I just didn’t think about feeling sick hard enough, I could make it.
I still use that trick when I change my 11-month-old’s diapers at the end of his weekly constipation round, although the phrase itself doesn’t echo in my head anymore. I just recognize the feeling–it’s like throwing an imaginary fort wall up around my stomach and my head. “No, you do NOT feel sick!” I command myself, and it becomes true.