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Understanding the Psycho-Emotional Roots of Disease

For centuries, healers have pondered the connection between mental and physical health. In recent years, science has begun to recognize the powerful connections through which emotional, spiritual, and behavioral factors can directly affect health outcomes. As research in the field of mind-body medicine is finding, emotions and thought patterns can contribute to imbalances within the body. The beliefs you hold about yourself and the world, your emotions, your memories, and your habits all can influence mental and physical health. These connections between what is going on in your mind and heart, and what is happening in your body, form the psycho-emotional roots of health and disease.

The Body Feels Emotion

Emotions like anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, sadness, resentment, jealousy, depression, and stress can manifest within the body and contribute to imbalance and disease. For example, you are likely already familiar with the way that fear can contribute to digestive upset or how tension can lead to headaches.

When you experience emotional states like sadness, joy, or anger, physiological sensations occur in different areas of your body. Scientists have created maps of emotions, showing areas of the body that are activated when study participants experienced different emotions.

Organ-wise Problem

Louise Hay, bestselling author of ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ has done a tremendous job at building connection between the physical diseases and the mental diseases.

  1. Problems with the head: Feeling that something is wrong with “us”.

  2. Hair problems: Lack of strength; tension.

  3. Ear problems: Unwillingness to hear what’s going on around you; anger about what is heard.

  4. Stomach problems: Inability to assimilate new experiences; fear of new ideas.

  5. Neck problems: Stubbornness; inability to see the other side of the equation.

  6. Throat problems: Feeling inadequate to stand for yourself; repressed anger; swallowing emotional hurt.

  7. Back problems: Lack of support. Upper back: lack of emotional support, holding back love; Middle back: Guilt; Lower back: lack of financial support, fear of money.

  8. Eye Problems: Not liking what you see in your life; Not wanting to see the past, present or the future; Not seeing the truth.

  9. Knee problem: Inflexibility; stubbornness; inability to bend; ego.

  10. Lung problems: Feeling that we do not have the right to live life fully.

  11. Mouth problems: Incapacity to take ideas; closed mind; set opinions.

  12. Nerve problems: Confused thinking; fear; struggle; anxiety.

  13. Breast problems: Over-mothering a place, person, a thing or an experience.

  14. Heart problems: Denying yourself joy and love.

  15. Bladder problems: Being pissed off.

  16. Colon problems: Inability to let go; holding on to the old.

  17. Leg problems: Inability to move forward; reluctance for the future.

  18. Allergies: Who are you allergic to? False ego and sensitivity.

  19. Cold: Confusion, dis-order, small hurts; Family and calendar beliefs.

  20. Diabetes: Sense of sorrow; No sweetness in life.

  21. Fatigue: Resistance, boredom; Lack of love for what you do.

  22. Gas pains: Gripping undigested ideas; Gulping air from fear.

  23. Headaches: Invalidating the self; emotional upsets; uncertainty.

  24. Migraine: Putting too much pressure on yourself; wanting to be perfect; suppressed anger.

  25. Sinus: Irritation with someone in your life; someone bearing down on you.

  26. Itching: Unsatisfied desires; remorse; guilt.

  27. Jaundice: Prejudice; discoloured beliefs.

  28. Overweight: Need for protection; insecurity; seeking love; fear of loss; stuffing feelings.

  29. Frequent pains: Punishment for guilt; blockage; belief in bondage.

  30. Rheumatism: Resentment; lack of love; chronic bitterness; feeling of revenge.

  31. Ulcers: Anxiety; fear of not being good enough.

  32. Venereal disease: Belief that sex is sinful; sexual guilt; need for punishment.

  33. Warts: Self-hatred; believing you are ugly; guilt.

  34. Constipation: Inability to let go; tendency to over-save.

  35. Varicose veins: Having to stand for a job you hate.

  36. Arthritis: Constant pattern of criticism of self and others; need to be perfect.

  37. Boils, cuts, fevers, sores, inflammations: Anger

  38. Cancer: deep resentment for a long time; disappointment; hopelessness.

  39. Stiffness: Stiffness in the mind; clinging to old ways.

  40. Swelling: Stagnation in emotional thinking; bottled-up tears; blaming others for your limitations.

  41. Tumors: Running old grudges; staying hurt for long time.

Health Benefits of Laughter

So, what do scientific investigations reveal about the health effects of laughter? As you might suspect, it's good for your heart and cardiovascular health.

Researched benefits of laughter include:

Improved blood pressure

Lower levels of stress hormones

Strengthened immune function

Muscle relaxation

Pain reduction

Improved brain function, including the ability to retain more information

Improved oxygenation

Reduced risk of heart attack

Abdominal, facial and back muscle conditioning

Improved emotional health and energy levels


Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. Ongoing anxiety though may be the result of a disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, or social anxiety.

Stressful events such as a test or a job interview can make anyone feel a bit anxious. And sometimes, a little worry or anxiety is helpful. It can help you get ready for an upcoming situation. For instance, if you are preparing for a job interview, a little worry or anxiety may push you to find out more about the position. Then you can present yourself more professionally to the potential employer. Worrying about a test may help you study more and be more prepared on test day.

But excessive worriers react quickly and intensely to these stressful situations, even thinking about the situation can cause chronic worriers great distress and disability. Excessive worry or ongoing fear or anxiety is harmful when it becomes so irrational that you can’t focus on reality or think clearly. People with high anxiety have difficulty shaking their worries. When that happens, they may experience actual physical symptoms such as:

  • Rapid heartbeat

  • Fast Breathing

  • Fight or Flight Response

  • Tense Muscles

  • High Blood Sugar

  • Sleep Problems

  • Problems Fighting Off Germs

  • Upset Stomach

  • Bowel Problems

  • Weight Gain

  • Sexual Problems

What Lifestyle Changes Might Help Excessive Worriers?

Although excessive worrying and high anxiety can cause an imbalance in your body, there are many options you have that can re-establish harmony of mind, body, and spirit.

  • Talk to your doctor. Start by talking with your primary care physician. Get a thorough physical exam to make sure other health problems are not fueling your feelings of anxiety. Your doctor may prescribe medication such as anti-anxiety drugs or antidepressants to help you manage anxiety and excessive worry.

  • Exercise daily. With your doctor’s approval, begin a regular exercise program. Without question, the chemicals produced during moderate exercise can be extremely beneficial in terms of enhancing the function of the immune system. Regular aerobic and strengthening exercise is also a very effective way to train your body to deal with stress under controlled circumstances.

  • Eat a healthy balanced diet. Stress and worrying provoke some people to eat too little, others too much, or to eat unhealthy foods. Keep your health in mind when worrying nudges you toward the fridge.

  • Drink caffeine in moderation. Caffeine stimulates the nervous system, which can trigger adrenaline and make you feel nervous and jittery.

  • Be conscious of your worries. Set aside 15 minutes each day where you allow yourself to focus on problems and fears -- and then vow to let them go after the 15 minutes is up. Some people wear a rubber band on their wrist and "pop" the rubber band if they find themselves going into their "worry mode." Do whatever you can to remind yourself to stop dwelling on worries.

  • Learn to relax. Relaxation techniques can trigger the relaxation response -- a physiological state characterized by a feeling of warmth and quiet mental alertness. This is the opposite of the "fight or flight" response. Relaxation techniques can offer a real potential to reduce anxiety and worries. They can also increase your ability to self-manage stress. Practiced regularly, relaxation techniques can counteract the debilitating effects of stress. Common relaxation techniques include deep abdominal breathing, meditation, listening to calming music, and activities like yoga and taichi.

  • Meditate. Daily meditation may help you move beyond negative thoughts and allow you to become "unstuck" from worries that keep your body on high alert. With meditation, you purposefully pay attention to what is happening at the present moment without thinking of the past or future. Meditation decreases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which are released during the "fight or flight" or stress response.

  • Have a strong social network. Chronic feelings of loneliness or social isolation make it harder to effectively manage stress. People who are happily married and/or have large networks of friends not only have greater life expectancies compared with those people who do not, but they also have fewer incidences of just about all types of disease.

  • Talk to a professional therapist. Psychological counseling can help you develop appropriate coping strategies to deal with issues that trigger excessive worrying. Psychological intervention can give you coping methods that you can use either within or outside other treatment programs. The therapist will help you identify what types of thoughts and beliefs cause the anxiety and then work with you to reduce them. The therapist can help you by suggesting ways that may help you change. But you have to be the one to make the changes. Therapy is only successful if you work on getting better.

The Power of the Brain-Gut Connection: 5 Ways to Combat Stress’ Impact on Digestion

If you have ever “choked under pressure” or felt your “stomach in knots” when faced with a difficult decision, you are familiar with the powerful ways in which stress can influence digestion. Emotions create physiological changes in your body, and stress is no exception. In broad terms, stress refers to any real or perceived threat or demand. Such stressors elicit adaptive responses within the body as you attempt to maintain homeostasis and ensure survival.

Stress can be acute, in response to a large threat like a fire, or chronic and insidious, usually from aspects of your daily life. Lifestyle factors can also increase your level of stress. These include:

1. Imbalanced diet

2. Physical overtraining

3. Not getting enough sleep

4. Having a job you don’t enjoy

5. Negative thinking

The Brain-Gut Axis: How Emotions Impact Digestion

The digestive system is particularly vulnerable to the presence of stress, especially when it becomes chronic. This is because the nervous system and digestive system are closely intertwined in what is sometimes called the brain-gut axis.

The walls of your digestive tract are infiltrated by a network of nerve fibers called the myenteric plexus, which contributes to the enteric nervous system. This enteric nervous system is part of your autonomic nervous system, which receives signals from your brain and is sometimes thought of as a second brain within your gut. You have likely experienced this brain-gut connection before when you sense a “gut feeling,” “butterflies in your stomach,” or anxiety-induced nausea.

The biochemical and hormonal changes that occur in response to emotional stress have immediate and often persistent impacts on digestive health. The physiologic stress response is geared toward survival, so it focuses energy on dealing with the threat at hand, sacrificing processes like digestion and repair. Depending on the severity of the threat, this may cause your digestion to slow down or stop completely.

Stress induces changes in:
  1. Gastric secretion
  2. The movement of food through the digestive tract
  3. Intestinal permeability
  4. Blood flow
  5. Inflammation

For example, it has been long known that severe stressors like surgery or trauma can cause the intestinal lining to become “leaky.” More recent research is also exploring the impacts of chronic psychological stress on this important gut barrier. Overall, these impairments in normal digestion can lead to:

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Gas

  • Bloating

  • Pain

  • Nutritional deficiencies

  • Imbalanced metabolism

Emerging science also demonstrates that the microbes, which inhabit your digestive tract and play many important roles in your health, seem to respond directly to stress-related signals. This stress-induced disruption of the microbiome can increase susceptibility to infections, influence weight, and impact metabolism.

Over time, chronic exposure to stress may contribute to the development or worsening of a variety of more complex digestive diseases, including:
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
Peptic ulcer disease
Food allergies
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help manage the stress of daily life and improve your digestive health. Stress reduction strategies are key to healthy digestion as well as longevity, weight balance, and robust immunity.

Get Moving to Balance Stress

Moderate exercise is one of the most effective ways to manage stress and maintain healthy digestion. Physical activity relieves tension, improves blood flow, and stimulates the release of endorphins from the brain, which improve your mood and reduce the impacts of stress. Practices like tai chi and yoga that coordinate the breath with movement can be especially effective at reducing the state of constant hyperarousal, which is detrimental to digestion.

Cope with Life Stressors with Regular Relaxation

There are many effective relaxation practices to help you cope with the inevitable stress of life and minimize its impacts on your digestion and overall health:

Deep breathing exercises
Tai chi
Spending time in nature
Deep breathing triggers the parasympathetic nervous system, which activates processes involved in rest, repair, and digestion. When the body is in parasympathetic mode, blood flow and oxygenation to the digestive tract is increased, making digestion more efficient. Techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and mindfulness meditation are also effective ways to shift into a more parasympathetic state, which favors relaxation and healthy digestion.

Build a Stress-Resistant Gut with Probiotics, Omega-3 Fatty Acids, and Vitamins A and D

A healthy gut, which houses a balanced microbiome, is more resistant to the negative impacts of inevitable stress. Omega-3 fatty acids, fat-soluble vitamins A and D, and balanced probiotics can all help heal the intestinal lining, reduce inflammation, and provide a diverse array of beneficial bacteria. This makes your digestive tract more resilient to the harmful impacts of stress.

Avoid Negativity to Heal Your Gut

Negative thoughts are a large contributor to stress in modern life. Learning to recognize your thoughts through mindfulness or other meditation techniques allows you to change your mindset. This not only helps reduce chronic stress, but can also help you make healthier food choices that improve digestion. Anxiety, depression, and other unresolved emotions are often at the root of overeating and poor food choices that can further stress digestion.

Positivity and compassion improve the function of the vagus nerve, which is crucial in the communication between the brain and digestive system. Practices such as loving-kindness meditation can increase your optimism, which in turn helps to balance the nervous system and positively affect digestion.

Explore What Your Digestive Symptoms Can Teach You

Your digestive system can be viewed as a barometer for how you are coping with life. Digestive symptoms often provide insight into the root of what is causing your stress, allowing you to move toward healing.

For example, if you are prone to constipation you may explore where in life you are unable to let go. If you have chronic heartburn, you may look at where you might feel you have been “burned” or where you are holding onto a grudge or resentment. Exploring your digestive symptoms from this metaphorical perspective can help you notice your emotions, process them, and release them so that you can better cope with stress.

The next time you notice a gut feeling or your digestive system is acting up, honor this insightful system by paying attention to what might be going on in your life. When you learn to understand your emotions and responses to stress and adopt healthy ways to manage stress like those presented in The Whole Cure, you can more effectively digest both food and life.

11 Basic Guidelines for General Health and Longevity Infographic

If You Want to Live a Long and Healthy Life, Follow These Simple Tips

When it comes to health and longevity, there is no quick fix and no “fountain of youth” that will help you become healthy overnight. Being fit and healthy in order to reach a ripe old age takes effort and attention – this is something that I repeatedly tell my readers.

But here's the good news: there are a few simple lifestyle changes you can make to improve not only the quantity, but also the quality of your years. These changes are pretty basic, but can have a profound effect on your overall health once implemented.

Basic Guidelines for Optimal Health and Longevity: Try Them Today!

Keep in mind that modifying your diet and exercising are not the only important factors of health and longevity. There are many other things that you need to implement to ensure that you will be optimally healthy.

This infographic, “11 Basic Guidelines for General Health and Longevity,” summarizes all the components that need to be addressed if you want to live a long and healthy life. Here, you will learn:

  • Timeless tips that will help improve your quality of health

  • Healthy anti-aging foods that you can add to your diet

  • GE crops, found mostly in processed foods, that contribute most to disease and early aging

  • Why getting enough sun exposure is essential for optimal wellbeing

These guidelines form the basic tenets of optimal health. They are tried-and-tested foundational strategies that will not change, no matter what improvements modern science comes up with.   

We urge you to follow these tips to significantly decrease your likelihood of disease and premature aging. Use these as the foundation of your overall wellness plan, and you will surely succeed in improving your health.

For more useful tips in healthy eating, we advise you to follow the Mercola Nutrition Plan, which will guide you in choosing the right foods that will suit your unique biological makeup. The Mercola Nutrition Plan addresses your unique biochemical needs based on your specific genetics, allowing you to cure your health problems at the foundational level and giving you a more permanent solution for regaining your health.