If you’re always telling yourself off, or have a harsh, criticising internal voice then this article is for you. In it I will explore not only the importance of your physical diet (the food you eat) but also your emotional diet (what you listen to) on your physical health.
How Food affects your body
It’s pretty well understood that the food we eat has an impact on the body. If you follow me over on the Free From Fairy then you’ll be familiar with eating for your body. And by that I mean eating wholesome food that nourishes the body.
In the western world we are pretty familiar with diet-related diseases. Type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease are such examples.
As someone who has had Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) for over twenty years, I’m only too aware of the impact food can have.
However, up until recently I was completely unaware that other things were affecting the IBS.
Doctors had often asked me if I was stressed or anxious. Now although I knew that these things could impact the gut (after all we feel ‘butterflies’ in the tummy when we are worried about something), I didn’t consider myself to experience either…
Stress, anxiety & worry’s role in dis-ease
So as well as food affecting our body it is well known that stress, anxiety and worry can play a role in disease. And as understanding of the gut-brain axis and vegus nerve increases there is more awareness of the mechanism behind this.
It seems clear to me now that if I’m living in a constant state of ‘fight or flight’ my body won’t be able to function efficiently. I wrote more about that in the healing effects of the present moment.
If you’re anything like me though, I had no idea that my future, fearful thinking (worry) had the same impact on my body as coming across a bank robber!
Our brain doesn’t know the difference between thinking about something scary and having a scary experience.
While I didn’t think I suffered with stress or anxiety, I was a full time worrier which in my head was something completely different (but has exactly the same impact).
How does your internal dialogue affect your health?
Now this one really was invisible to me.
For as long as I can remember I’ve had a negative internal dialogue. By that I mean one that berates me, blames me, calls me names and more.
If you’re reading this article then I guess you experience the same?
For example, if I accidentally dropped something, the internal dialogue would loudly shout telling me I was stupid, or an idiot. Usually with expletives thrown in for extra measure.
Or if I was relaxing I’d get the internal dialogue telling me that I should be doing something more useful, or perhaps telling me I was lazy and useless.
As Michael A. Singer says in his book The Untethered Soul “If somehow that voice managed to manifest in a body outside you, and you had to take it with you everywhere you went, you wouldn’t last a day.”
Have you ever considered the impact that listening avidly to that voice, has on your physical body? It’s like eating a diet of chips and cake. Over time it must have a detrimental impact.
When we spend most of our waking hours listening to that inner critic, is it any wonder our body feels tense and experiences symptoms? That we feel depressed, upset, anxious and fed up?
Get quiet and listen
So what’s the alternative?
As far as I can see, the alternative is to fully understand the role thought has on us. To see the nature of thought and how thoughts are not truth.
We’ve become so accustomed to listening to our thinking and believing it to be true that we are unaware that there is something else available to us.
While I spent all my time believing my negative, derogatory (to me) thinking, my experience was one of struggle. Even though my outer world appeared almost perfect.
As I’ve slowly seen through that internal critic (made of thought) and realised that I don’t have to listen to it, more love and acceptance has opened up.
My emotional diet has become one of love and acceptance and less of judgement and disgust.
And with that comes a gentleness that affects every cell of my being.
When we are born we crave love, touch and gentleness. It’s those things that we respond to, and as we grow up nothing changes.
But we mistakenly believe that those things have to come from someone else.
What if we can give those things to ourselves? What if we can learn to listen to a kinder, gentler narrative and ignore the harsh criticisms of our thoughts?
Imagine the impact that love and kindness could have on our physical health?
Will you start to give that to yourself?
I’d love to know what impact it has on you.
For me my IBS, food reactions, headaches and other symptoms have all decreased as I spend more time focussing on love and kindness for myself.
If you’d like to know more about what I’ve shared in this article sign up for my free 5 day online exploration of where peace is found.
Alternatively, if you’re reading this before 17th November 2021, join my new online group programme, Invisibles of Gut Health, where we’ll be exploring this further.