There is a deep and inextricable link between the mind and the body, and it's vital to understand this connection in order to start or continue on your path to wellness.
Perhaps you feel like you've forgotten what it's like to feel energetic, experience joy, or even desire something strongly. When you experience mood changes, it can be difficult to feel motivated to do much or, conversely, you can become overwhelmed by the minutiae of life. This can negatively affect our relationships, work performance and sense of self.
The strong mind-body connection cannot be ignored when you are trying to become fully well. The way we think and feel about ourselves can have a profound effect on how our bodies function, and vice versa.
One of the first places to investigate is the gut. This is because our gut is responsible for the production of 90% of our serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is said to dictate positive emotions. If our gut is not functioning well, then our serotonin levels are unbalanced, which can have a powerful effect on mood.
An overproduction of cortisol, know as the "stress hormone," via your endocrine system, may be the culprit if you're experiencing tension in the body and a constant feeling of being on edge.
This overproduction of cortisol can also throw off the ratio of estrogen to progesterone in your body. Progesterone is used by the body to produce cortisol, so when we have too much cortisol, our progesterone levels go down. This imbalance is known as estrogen dominance and has been known to lead to negative mood shifts.
Low levels of testosterone in the blood can leave us feeling unmotivated, lacking in desire and with negative self-esteem.
Understanding your hormone levels through an at-home lab test can be a good place to start on your path to feeling better.
Food sensitivities and environmental toxins, particularly heavy metal toxicity, could contribute to an individual's challenges with their mood and overall wellbeing. Processed foods, an overgrowth of bacteria and exposure to chemicals, whether at home or work, can also lead to mood shifts.
Take Cathy, for example. Cathy had visited over 15 doctors trying to heal her gut issues. She had been suffering from digestive issues for years and had given up hope that she would ever feel well.
When she sought help, she realized that in her quest to heal her gut, she had let some of the other basic self-care practices, like getting to bed on time and exercising fall to the wayside.
Cathy was dealing with some serious imbalances in her gut and started the right combination of supplements and diet adjustments to start feeling well. But the thing that made the most difference was when she finally got serious about changing her mindset. She started to believe that she could actually heal her digestive issues and dramatically improve her life because of it. Once she truly believed this was possible, then she was willing to put everything she had into it. Today, she considers her gut issues almost completely gone and has a new lease on life.
When we understand medicine from the functional perspective, we come to see that all of physical symptoms can create mood imbalances, just as our mood shifts can prompt physical symptoms. Everything in the body is connected to everything else. If you are experiencing a wide range of symptoms over a long time, that probably means you are dealing with some serious imbalances that will take time and attention to heal.
This all falls under the umbrella of a mindset shift: The more willing we are to take mental ownership and truly dedicate ourselves to replacing negative thought patterns with a positive mindset, we will see enormous shifts and changes in our experience.
Finally it's important to note that putting too much pressure on ourselves as we are changing our habits can set ourselves up to fail. Instead, believe fully that if you take one step every day in the right direction, you're one step closer to better overall wellbeing.