The phrase ‘mind-body connection’ is something you may well have come across, more and more, recently, so I thought it would be a good idea to explain it to you this week.

Have you ever felt a knot in your stomach before a big presentation or a racing heart when you’re nervous?

Or have you noticed a headache or body tension after a particularly stressful day? These are examples of how emotions and physical symptoms are closely intertwined.

Emotions are a natural and essential part of our human experience, but sometimes they can be overwhelming or hard to manage. They can also affect our physical health, with studies showing that chronic stress and negative emotions can increase the risk of health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and chronic pain.

The mind-body connection is a complex relationship, but here are a few ways that emotions and physical symptoms are connected:

Fight or Flight Response - When you experience a perceived threat or stressor, your body activates the fight or flight response. This is a natural survival mechanism that prepares your body to either fight the danger or run away from it.

The fight or flight response triggers a cascade of physiological changes in your body, including increased heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle tension.

These physical changes are designed to help you deal with the immediate threat, but they can also lead to chronic stress and physical health problems if activated too often.

Emotions and Pain - Emotions can also affect the way we experience physical pain. For example, anxiety and stress can make pain feel more intense or difficult to manage.

On the other hand, positive emotions like joy and love can have pain-relieving effects, thanks to the release of endorphins and other feel-good chemicals in the brain.

Gut-Brain Axis - Did you know that your gut and brain are connected by a complex network of nerves, hormones, and neurotransmitters?

This is known as the gut-brain axis, and it means that your emotions can affect your digestive system and vice versa.

That’s why you might experience stomach aches or digestive issues during times of stress or anxiety. It is also why hypnotherapy can be incredibly beneficial for people troubled with IBS.

Emotional Suppression - Finally, it’s worth noting that suppressing or ignoring your emotions can have negative consequences for your physical health.

When you try to push away or avoid difficult emotions, it can lead to increased tension and stress in your body, which can contribute to physical symptoms like headaches, muscle pain, and fatigue.

Please remember if you or someone you care about is in a mental health crisis, go to your GP, Visit A&E or call the Samaritans on 116 123 or text SHOUT to 85258