Ever jumped out of a plane? I haven’t. Something happens in my stomach at the thought of being thousands of feet up in the air, going a hundred miles an hour looking down to my potential death. OK, so maybe I’m being overly dramatic here but the point is, it’s my stomach telling me that even though this is a perfectly safe activity, the amount of stress this will put me under because of how scared I am might not be good for my body.
Ever wonder why the term “trust your gut” exists? It actually may be more scientific than you think. It all boils down to this, there are more nerve endings in your gut than in your central nervous system. Your thoughts are directly related to your stomach and intestines. So when you think stressful or worried thoughts it can throw off balance in your gut. Likewise, when there is an imbalance in your gut it can effect your mood.
Environmental toxins, your diet, unhealthy relationships and stress all effect your gut and in turn effect your mood. Not absorbing nutrients properly due to one of these irritants can cause damage to the nervous system which can cause depression, anxiety, panic attacks and mood disorders. 95% of the serotonin in your body is created in the gut which is why there is such a strong connection between whats going on with your digestive system and your mood.
Think about it, when you are scared, worried, stressed or depressed what does your stomach feel like? Tied in knots? Butterflies? Like someone punched you in the gut (this is the one that happens to me)? Stress directly impacts your digestion, how (or if) you absorb nutrients and your gut microbiota. Pile on top of that the fact that 70% of your immune system lies in your intestines. Which means that when your digestive system is out of wack your immune system starts to attack. This vicious cycle has the potential to lead to disease so it’s in your best interest to keep everything running smoothly.
Your gut houses your intuition, your feelings and your “hunches”. Trusting your gut has to do with being self-aware and trusting yourself. So if your gut doesn’t feel right, trust that there is probably something wrong. What you do next is up to you.
Sarah Burchard is the author of The Healthy Locavore, a natural foods chef and experience host whose writing focuses on cooking, holistic health, supporting community and eating locally grown and made foods.