The Modern Gut-Brain Disconnect
Most of you know that the gut-brain connection is a very well researched, physiological reality. Directly connected to a “gut wrenching” experience is the emotional part of the brain. But why now has the gut-brain connection become such a hot topic in health care? First, I think because the connection between the gut and brain goes to the deepest roots of so many maladies and syndromes. Second, when we trace the cause back to stress and anxiety, which most researchers do, we find that we are dealing with a plethora of anxiety producing stressors in American society today that are not easily circumvented or handled. Some of these are constants in the background and others are in the foreground of our lives.
It seems to me that most of my patients are forced to navigate alone in this complex, tricky and sometimes dangerous culture with widely varying levels of skill and resources to avoid shipwreck. Certainly we don’t have to look long or far to find a myriad of significant stressors and threats, that both individually, and collectively, have adverse effects on our brains and “guts,” not to mention our entire immune and hormonal systems.
Stressors that cause Gut-Brain Disconnect
Briefly, I will allude to some of the ubiquitous stressors that set the stage for the pervasive gut-brain disconnect we see everywhere in the United States.
- The unscientific and dangerous pharmaceutical model of medical practice.
- The traditional health care system and its astronomical costs.
- The difficulty of finding a well paid, secure job and keeping it in our outsourcing economic model.
- The ever increasing cost of housing and food with wages that often don’t keep up with inflation and pensions.
- The almost unsustainable cost of raising, housing, feeding, insuring and educating even a small family, even with both husband and wife working.
- Stupendous and often unpayable student loan indebtedness.
- A very challenging dating scene with the problem of finding a suitable and harmonious marriage partner for the long term.
- Over complicated and confiscatory tax policies on all levels of society.
- A political system that seems to owe its allegiance to corporate interests and banks, and not to the needs of the average citizen.
- Loss of a loved one.
- The lack of a reasonable and easily accessible financial/social safety net, should things “go south” unexpectedly.
- The ever increasing encroachment of both government and corporations into our private lives with the restrictions of constitutional freedoms.
How to connect the gut & brain
Everything must be done to reconnect and reestablish the harmony between brain, emotions and gut. If the stressful circumstances can not be changed…what can be changed is how we choose to react to them. This is where our power lies. Additionally, here are some things that may help.
- Deep therapeutic breathing.
- Cultivating emotional detachment
- Using EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) on yourself.
- Spending more time outside in nature.
- Eat a healthier diet.
- Get some more exercise.
- Lower your expectations, don’t try to keep up with the Jones.
- Working with a hobby you enjoy.
- Take up some form of art or music.
- Get a massage twice a month.
- look for alternatives to drugs and the traditional medical model.