The microbiome and gut-brain connection play a huge role in explaining our behaviors and emotions. In fact, gut bacteria impacts emotional well-being far more than we thought.
I help break down the complex research into simple terms so you can understand more about your own gut-brain connection. Check out these frequent questions below.
Your gut and your brain are the only two systems in your body with dedicated nervous systems. The (ENS) is the nervous system of the gastrointestinal tract, which runs throughout your digestive system, just like the brain controls the body’s central nervous system (CNS).
The ENS is known as “the second brain” for good reason. It has over 100 million neurons living in the gut wall that constantly communicate with the brain, and vice versa. This continual “conversation” between the ENS and CNS explains how the health of the gut can affect our thoughts, and by extension, our emotions. For example, if the gut is unwell or imbalanced, it sends signals to the brain telling it as much. Because of the gut’s significant influence on the brain, our thoughts, moods, and behaviors can change as a result. The opposite is also true. Your gut feels the effects of your brain’s thoughts and your emotions. That’s why the brain’s emotional and behavioral centers are linked to the functionality and health of the gut.
Mindfulness means paying attention to things we rarely stop to notice and doing so without self-judgment. We simply observe a thought, emotion, or sensation and then let go, understanding that it’s neither “good” nor “bad.” Meditation is the most familiar form of mindfulness practice. And there’s more than one way to meditate. No matter which meditation approach we follow, they all use attention and awareness of thought to help us make more beneficial choices in our lives. In my work with clients, meditation helps create more opportunities for nourishing the body, mind, and spirit.
Just like living life, learning to be mindful is a journey, not a destination. Part of the adventure of mindfulness is using your body as an experimental laboratory to discover who you are and what you’re capable of doing. When you practice honing your attention and focus, you become an expert in your own life. You learn to stay more present—even during challenging times—while simultaneously uncovering new aspects of well-being, just as you are.