How Emotional Constipation Triggers Digestion Problems
Updated: Oct 3, 2019
For many years, I suffered from digestive problems like chronic gas, bloating, constipation, and stubborn belly fat. Having a bowel movement happened once every 2-3 days. When I went to see the doctor about it I was told, “That’s normal for some people.”
That didn’t sit right with me.
My pants were tight, I felt overweight, I had no sexual desire, I could barely move, and I felt stuck. Clogged. My digestion, metabolism, and elimination were sluggish. That’s not normal.
“What’s wrong with me?” I said over and over again.
I tried every cleanse, detoxes, food allergy tests, and different diets. Nothing worked long term until I learned about the Emotional Metabolism.
This is a great example of the Mind & Body connection working on a continuum. Here's some interesting facts about the head and gut brain relationship.
We have more nerve cells in our digestive tract than we do in our spinal cord! These nerve cells communicate to our head brain (and vice versa) communicating not only hunger, but satiation, immunization, and joy!
We also have more Serotonin in our Gut than in our head brain. That's the "happy chemical" the body produces naturally.
Ever get that sensation in your tummy like you have "butterflies?" It can happen when feeling excited or nervous. That's the gut brain communicating to the head brain and vice versa.
In addition, we have more bacteria living in our gut than we have cells on our body.
We work synergistically with this microbiome as we provide them a host while they help us break down food and protect us from harmful substances.
About 70% of our immune cells our in our gut! When in harmony, we naturally stay healthy, energized, and happy.
Our autonomic nervous system allows this all to happen without us even thinking about it!
Breathing and all our bodily functions are on autopilot! Thank Goodness! Imagine if we had to remember to breath or break down our meal? We’d be dead!
However, this beautiful symbiotic system is thrown off balance under STRESS and unprocessed emotions (trauma, resentment, shame).
When we do the typical cleanse, we only remove dietary stress. Eliminating any foods that could cause inflammation, sensitivity, etc.
Where we have a gap is in addressing the emotional and mental stress that has just as much impact on our digestive tract as the food we eat.
We experience conscious stress in different forms.
1. Daily stress that comes from sitting in traffic, trying to get the kids to do their homework, or hitting deadlines at work.
2. Then there’s chronic stress from feeling stuck in unhealthy relationships, unfulfilling careers, or financial insecurity.
3. We also have major stress that happens from death of a loved one, physical trauma, or natural disasters.
These stressors, if not processed, can create major digestive problems.
The problem is HOW & WHY we’re eating.
At the time, I had daily stress at work where I worked long hours. First thing I did when I got home was eat in front of the TV (distracted eating). Whether or not I was hungry and would end up eating too much. I also had chronic stress from feeling stuck in my career. Lastly, there was major stress left from unprocessed childhood trauma that triggered binge eating.
I ate fast and distracted, so my digestive system and metabolism got compensated. Eating when your body is in these conditions can cause digestive problems like IBS, bloating, constipation, belly fat, and fatigue. This is because the organs don’t have the blood flow to perform optimum digestion, metabolism, and elimination.
Mind body communication is hijacked. The “fight or flight” response in the nervous system is triggered where our breath becomes shallow, blood flow moves away from the organs (where digestion takes place), and digestion shuts down.
We are unable to tune into our bodies sensations to guide our eating experience.
HOW & WHY we’re eating makes just as much of an impact to your digestive health as WHAT we’re eating.
What if eating was more like a meditation? Where we can connect with our body intelligence and allow it to do what it was naturally designed to do? Kind of like a Yoga practice, where we sit up with good posture, breathe deeply, eat slowly, and connect with our food and body. This is deep nourishment.
It can take time to learn how to optimize your metabolism by means of healthy emotional processing.
Here's one thing you can do immediately to improve the mind body connection and restore optimal metabolism.
Breathing deeply, from our belly, triggers the nervous system to “Rest and Digest.” It naturally slows down and starts getting the body ready to eat.
When we focus on our breath it becomes an anchor so we don’t get carried away by our thoughts (not at least for too long….). Taking long deep breaths provide more oxygen to our head brain and gut brain to optimize communication.
The breath aligns us with the present moment, where we can feel the connection between food, mind, and body. When we are attuned to this, we are able to listen to our body and honor it’s true hunger.
What I’ve found is that sometimes these digestive discomforts were symptoms of emotional hunger. We can try to avoid our feelings with food, diets, or weight obsession but we can’t escape the body’s need to be felt. To feel connected.
Having a consistent meditation practice (especially while eating) helped me hold space for my emotions. To be with my body when it needs me and to work in harmony with it.
My tummy and I have a much better relationship. We visit the bathroom everyday and I don’t have those same chronic symptoms. I feel lighter and leaner.
Are you feeling emotionally stuck and experiencing digestive problems. Do you need help uncovering hidden stressors that could be hijacking your metabolism? Want to learn how to optimize your emotional metabolism and digestion so you naturally stay fit? Click HERE to schedule a free discovery session.
*Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.