The Brain-Gut connection is one that many people take for granted. Stress, anxiety, anger, happiness, and all other emotions effect the gastrointestinal tract, as it is sensitive to emotion. This is where feelings in your stomach like “butterflies” come from. It is a direct reaction from your emotional state, triggered by your brain and received in your stomach.
- The brain and stomach have direct effects on each other. This is presented in many different ways.
- Troubled intestine sends messages to the brain which can lead to emotional turmoil (stress, anxiety, depression).
- Troubled brain sends messages to the intestines and stomach causing intestinal trouble (nausea, stomach aches and pains).
- Brain notifies the stomach that you are hungry, stomach provides the digestive juices needed to digest the food before it arrives.
With the above things considered, it is often times hard to determine whether the intestinal problems are a product of emotional turmoil or the cause of emotional terminal. This is especially evident when you experience gastrointestinal upset without obvious physical cause.
Stress has a large part to play with GI upset. It might explain the nausea before giving an important presentation, or the stomach pains during times of high stress. This does not mean that all GI illnesses are just “all in your head”. They are however linked. Psychological symptoms influence the physiological symptoms and the physiology of the gut itself.
Environmental toxins also play a large role in the overall wellbeing as well as the wellness of the brain and mood. Many toxins in our environment are able to pass the blood-brain barrier, making the brain more susceptible to their toxic effects. Chemical toxins, drugs, radiation from cell phones and cell phone towers all cross the blood-brain barrier and cause toxic stress. Toxic stress leads to mood changes and disorders caused by the imbalances in the brain because of the excess or lack of the proper hormones.
So what does all of this information mean? The important thing to remember is that there is a strong mind-body connection. With this connection comes many ways in which the mind and body effect each other. It is also important to remember that because of this mind-body connection, it is important to look after the entire self, not just the physical or psychological separately.
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