The mind-body connection is often discussed in ethereal, theoretic terms. Here are the facts:
- Your brain is part of your body.
- The same part of your brain that houses motor skills and the ability to talk and think also houses your emotional response.
- Your gut is part of your body.
- Your intestinal tract (gut) has thousands of nerve endings that respond to both physical (think roller coasters) and emotional stimuli. Where do you first feel fear? In your gut.
- About 70% of your immune system is located in the mucosal lining of your gut.
Emotions affect your brain, your gut, and all parts of your body. This happens in both direct and indirect ways. Consider the following:
- Emotional eating often puts extra weight on the body, stressing organs and your skeletal/muscular structure.
- Depression can lead to inactivity, slowing circulation of both the blood and lymph (link), and decreasing the natural elimination of cellular waste.
- Sadness or adrenaline rushes can lead to loss of appetite, dehydrating your body and depriving it of vital nutrients.
- Poor mental health or coping skills may lead to self harm.
- Emotions enhance or impair our immune system’s ability to function
Positive: Joy, happiness, optimism
Negative: Depression, sadness, pessimism
- Depression can increase the risk of cancer by suppressing the natural cancer-killing cells
- Stress, loneliness, and depression weaken your immune system.
Study the chart above to find where your lifestyle choices fall. Know that every change for the positive makes a difference in your mind and body. Love your body by loving yourself and the journey that has brought you to today.
Thank you to Dr. Xavier Curiel for the chart.