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The interaction between thought, emotion and digestion – part 3

The Series Finale

by Brett Hawes in holistic health, Natural medicine

If you haven’t checked out part 1 and 2 of this series, you should. It will help you to understand why these seemingly simple (and sometimes silly) exercises are so important when it comes to changing thought, emotion and digestion. Let’s begin….

Take a look around the room or space that you are sitting in. Pick out all the things that are black. Stop reading this and do it; it’ll take a couple of minutes. Done? Great. Now, how many green things did you see? Again this might seem rather silly but there is a point to the exercise. You most likely saw nothing green. Why? Because you were focused on all the black objects. In life, people often focus/dwell on negative things or things from the past. In doing this, we forget about all of the wonderful things that we have going on. We essentially feed these negative things and keep them alive just by focusing on them; creating the cascade of physiological events described previously. I am not saying we should ignore things. What I am saying is that we should take stock of the good and the bad, sit back and work through them (rest and digest). One thing I learned from the Native Indians: at the end of each day be thankful for the good and the bad and the lessons they both offer.

Ayurvedic teaching says that we should distance ourselves from our emotions and observe them. This does not mean we are ignoring things. Quite the opposite in fact. By paying attention to triggers, we can identify patterns. Once we identify patterns we can choose to not engage in whatever it is that’s triggering negative thoughts and emotions. This might not always be the easiest; I know because I have had to do this myself. What you realize is that sometimes these triggers happen to be the biggest facets of our lives – family, relationships, jobs and finances. It’s very common for people to become to be identified by their job, relationship, etc. Many times they don’t realize that they are in a co-dependent situation, too afraid to break the cycle. I often hear things like ‘why does this always happen to me’, ‘why can’t I seem to find the right guy/girl’, ‘I can never seem to catch a break’, etc, etc. What you are doing is playing the victim, with constant negative self-chatter floating around in the back ground.   Remember this: no one does anything to you. You cannot change what others do ‘to you’, you can only change how you respond and engage. If it’s not working for you, ditch it! This is not always easy, but can often bring about dramatic healing.

So, let’s brush the heavy stuff aside. Glad you got through it!

On a day to day level, things like yoga, meditation, time for self and getting a good dose of nature, have all been shown to help reduce stress levels and help get us living a little more on the ‘rest and digest’ zone. These are lifestyle practices/long-term solutions but don’t always help in an immediate sense when it comes to digestion (unless you want to eat breakfast in Shavasana).

However, in an immediate setting, there a few things that do help.

  1. taking a couple of minutes before you eat to give thanks, quiet yourself and chill out
  2. avoid eating with tons of distractions around you – television and the internet are 2 of the biggest culprits here.
  3. avoid eating when you are upset, angry, sad or irritated.
  4. if you are one of those high strung, type-A people, you could try Rescue Remedy™a few minutes before meals. While this is not a cure-all, it can definitely help when used together with some of the other tips here.
  5. GABA is another supplement that one can take before eating (any time really). It works by preventing neurons in the brain from over-firing. In other words, when you’re super stressed out and the mind is running a million miles a minute, GABA might just become your new best friend. It promotes relaxation, alleviates stress and anxiety, improves mood and can help to stabilize blood pressure. The effects are short-lived and it is important to address the underlying issues in conjunction with taking GABA.

This wraps up the series. I hope you enjoyed it. Making some of the changes we’ve spoken about are sure to get you moving toward improved digestion and better health over all.

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