We are all carrying extra stress these days. And this affects us at every level of experience. We feel it in our bodies, our emotions and thoughts, and in what we want to do (or not do). The more we learn about the impact of stress on our biology, the more it becomes clear that we can take deliberate action to relieve the stress and how it shows up in our daily lives.
We talked a bit last month about how our bodies have multiple warning systems to signal danger (real or imaginary). As we try to get through our days balancing all the tasks related to home and work life, it seems the stress never lets up. And this stress shows up in our nervous and energy systems and in our gut and digestive system – it pretty much shows up in every aspect of our lives.
For our nervous system, the amygdala in our emotional brain signals danger by bringing us into the fight or flight response. And this is a good thing if we have a tiger chasing us and we need to move! Not so great if we can’t process the stress and it becomes chronic.
For our meridian energy system, the triple warmer detects danger and mobilizes energy throughout our meridian system. Again, an important response to help us mobilize when we need to but not helpful if it gets stuck on high alert.
And the third area with an alarm system is the gut, and that’s what I’m talking about today. Our gut has a complex neural network, called the enteric nervous system, and this is always sending information to our head brain. And these messages can influence our mood, health and how we function in the world.
Happy brain chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine are made in our gut and carry ‘feel good’ messages to our head brain. These chemicals create emotions like happiness, connection, compassion, achievement, and others. When we have these feelings, we are more likely to see the world as a friendly place – where we can make friends, find help when we need it, solve problems that come up, take risks, and essentially create the life we want.
On the other hand, if our gut brain has lots of inflammation, it will send cortisol and other stress chemicals to the brain. We feel fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, depression, aggression, and a whole load of feelings and urges that shape how we show up each day. If we are continually stressed and afraid, we will take actions that can be aggressive or defensive. And if we can’t relieve the inflammation, we may shut down and do anything we can to hide and stop the overwhelm. We may struggle through life, never reaching our goals, self-sabotaging and avoiding challenges, and never really understanding why.
But we can change how we feel and how we show up. Conscious EFT™, energy work and anti-inflammatory nutrition to support our gut microbiome are powerful tools to reduce stress and help us show up as our best selves.
Change doesn’t happen overnight.
It can’t. We are not wired for instant change. It can’t happen when we are in a state of self-judgement or stress. And change doesn’t happen without action. If you’re like me and have tried to make changes over and over and never seem to get there, look back and ask what state you were in when you tried to make changes.
I used to tell myself something like this: “I have to give up all the things I love and start exercising and eating right, and if I don’t, I am a bad person.” And when I couldn’t do everything perfectly, that set up a blaming and shaming cycle where I was even less able to make the changes I wanted. So, I was trying to make changes from a state of stress and self-judgement and expected myself to do everything at once. No wonder it didn’t work.
Big changes, even ‘smart’ ones, can be threatening to our nervous systems. We are suddenly in a new place and don’t have the roadmap. Meaning that literally, we don’t have the neural networks in our brains. We now know that we can create new neural networks (a roadmap) so we know where we are and where we are headed, we feel comfortable and can take small steps toward changes that stick.
Combining Conscious EFT with anti-inflammatory nutrition to feed the microbiome and balance our gut brain can make navigating the new territory easier and more effective.
And how do we create that roadmap? We use Conscious EFT and Tapping to soothe our emotions and resistance to change. And we don’t start by giving up all the foods we love. We start by adding in some simple, highly nutritious foods that start to soothe the inflammation we carry. This builds a solid foundation for change. And once we feel comfortable there, we start to replace the inflammatory foods with better alternatives. And again, once we get used to this new place, the more troublesome foods may simply be crowded out and fall off our tables. And if they don’t, we can tap to find a more peaceful relationship with all the foods we eat.