Lifestyle Changes for a Healthy Gut & Happy Life
Our gut plays a key role in our health, as a major part of our immune system is located around our gut. Those who have adrenal fatigue, thyroid or autoimmune issues have probably learned this the hard way!
While I was diagnosed with food sensitivities years ago, I had no idea what the phrase “leaky gut,” also known as “intestinal permeability,” meant or that it could be contributing to my thyroid issues. It also explained certain symptoms I had been experiencing, such as bloating, fatigue, anxiety, food allergies, and food obsession.
I learned that leaky gut is caused by diet and lifestyle factors. And, in order to heal the other conditions in my body (adrenals, thyroid, autoimmune), I had to heal my gut. The awesome news is that you can heal your gut through diet and lifestyle changes.
As a life coach and meditation teacher, I trusted my health coach to guide me with the diet piece as I dove into understanding the lifestyle piece. What are the thoughts and behaviors that caused this situation in my body? Since our gut is located in our solar plexus chakra, I looked at it through that context.
Power, worth, control, metabolism, energy, emotions (anxiety, doubt, fear, worry), motivation, digestion and transformation are all aspects of the solar plexus chakra. By digestion I mean literal (food) as well how we digest life. How we respond (or react) to certain events in our lives. I remember learning in my Emotional Intelligence certification that everyone has different levels of stress tolerance. What overwhelms one person might not affect another person.
The key aspects I began to reflect upon included:
- Trying to have control over things we can’t control
- Giving away our power to others
- Feeling out of control or a lack of control
- Feeling responsible for everyone and everything
- Feeling like we aren’t worthy
- Feeling like our worth has conditions (must be accomplishing)
- Behaving like we aren’t worthy (not setting boundaries with others)
- Feeling like we have to be perfect
- Feeling overwhelmed or attacked by our experiences or emotions
- Taking everything personally
- Feeling pestered by life (which may include literal pests – parasites!)
- Stuffing our bodies with food instead of processing our feelings
Worry, Anxiety, Fear, Doubt:
- Letting your mind run wild with worst-case scenarios
- Worrying about others
- Letting your mind race about the same thing over and over and over again
- Denying the underlying need behind these emotions
How this affects our bodies
Our body mirrors our actions and absorbs our choices. If we mentally feel overwhelmed, for example, our body has a physical response (stress hormones released!). If we feel peace or joy, our insides relax (happy and restorative hormones released). So in order to heal my gut, I had to heal my behaviors and thinking.
Specific to my situation, I realized some of the key behaviors that led to my health conditions included:
- Attaching my worth to my work. When I worked hard enough, and accomplished enough, I was good enough.
- Taking on an impossible amount of work and life responsibilities. The more I could get done, the more worthy I was!
- Because of that, feeling constantly behind and overwhelmed by every area of my life, which inevitably led to worry, anxiety and mental racing.
As you read through the list above, what stood out to you? If you have leaky gut, or suspect you do, definitely do some journaling and reflection work to see how these aspects are showing up in your world. Once you have knowledge of them, you have the power to change them.
Heal your leaky gut through lifestyle changes
Once I was aware of mine, I first forgave myself for how my behaviors had contributed to my health issues. Then I shifted my behaviors.
- I resist saying yes to everything (which is honestly still an internal struggle but my “no” is winning more often than not!)
- I had to do some major internal work to redefine my worth in a way that it wasn’t connected by my work. Not easy, not fast, but life changing.
- I began setting boundaries with my iPhone (which can be overwhelming) with people in my life.
- I began monotasking (and accomplishing a lot more!).
The primary tool I used to accomplish all of that, and continue to use, is mindfulness. Noticing where I felt overwhelmed or stressed out. Asking myself if the reaction was appropriate for the situation or if it was my mind dramatizing things. Processing my feelings. Making a choice and responding from a space of clarity and awareness.
Ironically, I feel more peaceful inside as a results of healing my gut than I did before my gut issue. I often tell clients that I healed my life through healing my body. Because when you can connect the dots between how your lifestyle contributed to your illness, you can reverse the behaviors and reverse the disease. Chances are those behaviors created more than just chaos in your body, but also in your mind and with your emotions.
Happy to Heal (Everything Your Doctor’s Not Telling You About Healing Your Thyroid, Adrenals and Leaky Gut) is starting this September! Get on the waitlist today for discounted pricing! 🙂
Molly Hamill, MA, is a certified life coach, Kundalini yogini and mediation enthusiast. She works with people around the country helping them lose their stress and feel their best. After recovering from her own health journey (Hashimoto's Hypothyroiditis, Adrenal Fatigue, and Leaky Gut), she is especially passionate about helping others establish mindsets and habits that support their health and happiness. For more information about Molly, get her weekly emails (sign up in green bar below), follow her on her Instagram and Facebook page, or chat with her in her private Facebook group, where she posts daily to help keep you connected with truth, dreams and desires. Prior to breaking free of the 9-5 life, she was an award-winning human resources executive for a national healthcare company.