Alissa sitting cross-legged in front of a blue, water inspired background.

This Is How I Learned About The Mind-Body Connection

digestive health wellness Nov 23, 2020

This is a post I originally wrote for my friend Kalynn’s blog! Read it here.

In my early twenties, I’d pop an Advil at the first hint of a headache. If my stomach hurt, I’d reach for the Tums. If there was a cold going around, I almost always caught it.

My skin was usually breaking out. My stomach was often hurting. I was tired a lot of the time. I was usually stressed out. I ate whatever I wanted. And as most college students do, I drank too much.

At the time, I had never heard of the “mind-body” connection. It didn’t occur to me that my unhealthy diet could be contributing to the fact that I was always breaking out, sick, and tired.

I had no idea that my chronic stress could be impacting my physical health. To me, these facts lived on two separate planets. I never tied them together!

Back then, though, I really didn’t know anyone who was linking their sugar intake to their anxiety symptoms. I’d never heard of anyone getting fatigued due to eating gluten. It was just a world that I wasn’t familiar with… until I developed severe digestive issues, which gave me no choice but to get very familiar with it.

Digestive Issues Forced Me To Get More In Touch With Myself

When I was 23-years-old, I discovered that I had SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and leaky gut. At the time of my diagnosis, I felt a mixture of relief and fear.

I was relieved because I finally had a name for the mysterious stomach aches that were always plaguing me. I was fearful because I knew I’d have to change my lifestyle dramatically in order to heal my gut.

I began working with a holistic doctor who put me on a strict diet, supplement, and emotional healing regiment. In the beginning, I took at least ten different supplements per day and ate an incredibly restricted Paleo-style diet.

I was diligent with my diet and supplement regiment, but, truly the most transformational aspect of the entire process was healing my emotional traumas. I’d see my holistic doctor once a week where he’d check in on my progress and we’d work on healing my subconscious issues.

During the sessions with my doctor, he’d identify deep-seated fears, worries, and disappointments that had nestled their way into my subconscious many, many years prior. Once we identified the subconscious issue, he’d help me rewrite the thought and then do acupressure to release it. It was life-changing for me.

One example of a transformational discovery we had was that I was always striving for perfection because I compared myself to my smart, younger brother. My strive for perfection was causing unrest in my gut because I was constantly in fight or flight mode which was disrupting my digestion.

In working with my doctor and uncovering these deep-seated issues within me, I began to get to know myself on a much deeper level. I started to become really in tune with the way my emotions and physical body were truly linked. I began noticing that every time my overbearing boss would come near me, my stomach would tense up and feel sick.

It’s not that I needed a Tums; it’s that he was triggering anxiety from a past wound of mine!

How I Keep My Mind, Body, And Soul In Harmony Today

Today, five years later, I’m more in tune with myself than ever before. When I get a stomach ache, I don’t reach for an antacid, I look within. I assess my stress levels; I think about what I’ve eaten recently; I ask myself if I’ve been getting enough sleep.

Our physical body is directly connected to our emotional body. In order to keep our body in harmony, it’s essential to take care of ourselves – mind, body, and soul — as one, whole, interconnected unit.

What does that mean? It means incorporating stillness into your life each day, whether that’s meditation, journaling, or quiet contemplation. It means moving your body, in some way, each day. It means eating healthfully. It means making time for socializing and connection. It means spending time creating. It means finding purpose and meaning in your life.

When it comes to being a happy, healthy human… there’s more to it than just eating vegetables and exercising. That’s a very important aspect, but it’s not the whole picture.

Five years ago, when I was working with my doctor, eating a Paleo diet and taking hundreds of dollars worth of supplements… I felt better, but I didn’t fully heal until we worked through all of the subconscious issues that were buried deep within me.

For me, this is proof of the importance of taking care of ourselves on a total body level. We cannot be truly well until we’re treating ourselves as one, interconnected, beautifully-complex human unit.

So, my (unsolicited) advice to you?

Take a walk in the sunshine. Eat fresh fruit. Call your best friend. Get plenty of sleep. Rest when you need it. Practice yoga. Drink a glass of wine with the love of your life. Sit in the grass and meditate. Swim in the ocean.

Live your life fully, happily, and healthfully by listening to the urgings of your body, mind, and soul. We have all of the answers within us when we learn how to listen.

With love,