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How Emotions Affect Digestion


For 25 years of my life, I was in a hamster wheel of stress, anxiety, fear, and stomach aches, going nowhere but always to seek a solution. Starting at a young age, my digestive tract, the core of my being was in pain and I was left without any relief as to why or how to properly treat it. In the modern medical world, we treat physical discomfort with pills, surgery, and bandaids. We do not dig deeper into the incredible and vast enormity of human biochemistry. By looking at ourselves through a holistic lens, we must investigate our mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical bodies. Let’s say you have a skin rash, caused by a food allergy. If you treat the rash with a skin cream, you are masking the problem, and you are only looking at the symptom through one scope. If you treat an individual with medication for mental and emotional distress when they are in an abusive relationship, you are also overlooking what is causing the distress in the first place.


When treating someone, we must be able to recognize how stress manifests in the body, how foods affect our immunity and brain, and what it looks like to feel healthy and vibrant. Maybe you can think back upon a time and view a situation through a new pair of glasses. Have you ever traveled and not been able to take a bowel movement for the whole trip? You are not alone, this is a common problem. Changes in environment, routine, and time can stress the system, without you even noticing a difference in mood, however, your body is attempting to protect itself.

This blog series I wrote, “How Emotions Affect Digestion” came after years of depression, weight gains, and a lower quality of life. By digging beneath the surface to uncover and honestly look at what issues affect health, I became empowered to make changes to my diet and lifestyle, and I hope that you will too. Emotions are powerful, powerful enough to alter the health of your digestive tract, through releasing hormones, halting movement, increase movement, or decrease the number of immune cells to name a few. Before you take a pill to take away your stomach pain, honestly assess what is going on in your life, how are your relationships, your work life, physical health, diet? We now know that “60% of GI diseases are connected to stress,” so the remedy ideally would be, to address the stress in your life, and not add another pill to your daily routine. I will dive into the unique systems within our bodies that answer the question of "how emotions affect digestion," by giving you information about digestion, the Enteric Nervous System, the Gut-Brain- Axis and the Vagus Nerve.

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