Latest posts by Lara Jezeph (see all)
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Digestive issues are a prominent part of living with anxiety. In fact, it can be so normal that many people don’t even realise that anxiety is affecting the way they digest food. Some issues like panic disorder can actually be made worse because of digestion issues.
Neuroscience is the study of the structure and function of our brain and central nervous system. Relative to the rest of medical science, the brain is poorly understood and new discoveries are being made on a regular basis. One aspect that is being examined now is the Brain-body connection, which describes how our minds can affect our gut health, and vice versa.
The most important thing to remember is your brain does not know the difference between an internal environment (i.e. one you create based on your thoughts, beliefs and emotions) and your external environment (i.e. what is actually happening). So, if you create an internal brain state of fear or anxiety (before an exam/public speaking/in a toxic relationship), similar to one our ancestors would have felt when faced with a lion, your body will react as if it is actually faced with a lion.
Whilst this isn’t so bad in short bursts, the problem nowadays is we tend to live more and more in internal environments of extended stress.
Because your brain reacts to this very real internal environment, it then has very real physical affects – a common example is the fight or flight response. Over extended periods this can result in the turning on and off of different genes, it can compromise the immune system, affect the movement and absorption in the gut, deplete our stores of Adrenalin, increase our blood pressure and much more. But, if the internal environment in our brain that WE created (usually as a result of unconscious beliefs, thoughts and emotions) can cause these physical changes, then surely we can affect them again by changing our internal environment?
Neuroplasticity is the phenomenon that describes the brains ability to re-wire if used enough in a certain way, therefore we have the power to change the way our minds work and the effect it can have on our body and health.
Above is an extremely basic introduction but essentially, we are responsible for our health and possess the worlds most advanced control system to help us make changes to our wellbeing.
Don’t underestimate the power of your emotions on your gut. The clients who I work with tend to come with me with digestion problems and the trend is that they have a lot of stress and anxiety. As a life coach I work with people to help them understand their emotions, limiting beliefs, confidence, anxiety concerns etc. From this we have found their digestion problems to reduce, along with nutrition and exercise support.
I also mention more about emotions and lifestyle choices affecting a bloated belly – ‘The 6 surprising truths about what is causing your stomach to bloat and what you can do about it (starting today!)’. LEARN MORE
Dispenza, J (2014). You are the placebo. Hay House, Inc.