There is so much that we don't know yet about this magnificent creation we call the human body. Until just recently, our emotions were deemed as separate from our body by most. Since the 17th century, any connection between the brain/psychological & health/disease has been really been off limits. This stems from an agreement between Rene Descartes, the founder of modern medicine and the Pope at the time. Descartes wished to obtain body's for study and in return it was agreed upon that there would be NO involvement of the soul, mind or the emotions. This has been the norm for many centuries now. We are now just starting to make correlations between mind and body and the concept of our emotions impacting our health is quite real.
The emotions that we feel at any one time are not isolated and are not just thoughts. They impact the internal chemistry of the body. Thoughts and emotions match up with receptors in the brain and also to other specific receptors scattered throughout the body. The various hormones communicate with one another and other cells & receptors throughout the body. So an emotion is not isolated to just the brain, it impacts other cells throughout the body in turn impacting the health of the cell and systems of the body. Its all interconnected. This is a very simplistic view, but science has been able to demonstrate the interconnections of our emotions, cells and bodily systems.
For me knowing this has been a game changer in how I view my emotions. When I get mad, stress, depressed or anxious for an extended period of time, I know there is so much more going on then I first thought. Neurons that fire together wire together. Ultimately an extended period of mental anguish will eventually turn from chronic thoughts to chronic illness and disease. I had an absolutely terrible three years or maybe I could turn that around and say because I had a rough three years it led me to an entirely different place. But during these three years it felt like my world was crumbling and I know that it was at the heart of my health decline. These thoughts ultimately created neural circuitry that in turn created genetic transformations. For example, my ability to manufacture certain things in my own body to protect my cells was ultimately turned off.
Chicken or the egg?
I often wonder about the progression of it all. Was it my chronic negative thoughts that led to disease? Or was it disease that just came about that impacted my thoughts? I mean I have been around some pretty negative people and they didn't have disease? So what gives? Personally though, my stress levels were a 10 out of 10 for many many years. I didn't really understand how to get a handle on this and looking back I am so surprised that my body lasted as long as it did before giving out to colitis. But there is always a trigger to autoimmune disease and illness and it starts in the gut! Always! 75% of autoimmune disease stems from our environment. So things like wheat, inflammation, diet, allergies, food sensitivities, toxins, mental/physical and spiritual stress and many more things lead to illness. What really happens at this point is you get stuck in a current and can't get out. A viscous cycle of illness. The inability to digest proteins specifically leads to an inability to break them down into the precursors that are used to build brain neurotransmitters that make us happy and give us vitality. So the stress and emotional turmoil just gets worse and worse until digestion dysfunction is supported. So it really starts with things in our environment and for some of us (actually probably most of us) it starts from birth as the health of BOTH parents will put us in a negative deficit that we are continually trying to balance as we grow up. Throw in the Standard American Diet (SAD) and the million and one toxins in our environment + the genetics and you are a prime candidate to land on the autoimmune spectrum. None of us are immune from autoimmunity!
I hope this post helps you to understand some of the key core events that are going on in our bodies that lead to illness. Thoughts are not just thoughts and benign. Dark and negative thoughts do become cancerous if they persist for too long. On the flip side, positive thoughts are indeed life building. Fortunately we do have a level of control over this and it starts with changing our environment. Remove the things that stress the body and ultimately stress the mind as they all work in harmony together and the body is only as strong as its weakest link. Take care of yourself and thanks for reading!
Ian Sandage is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner who speaks from the personal experience of someone with autoimmune disease and the highs and lows of a health journey