By Donna Gates, as seen on:

Physical discomfort can motivate us to dig deeper into the details of life - at best, it can push onto a path of greater self-awareness.

Fortunately, the scientific community is now more aware than ever of the relationship between the emotions and the physical body.

For example, in 2008 a study published in Neuroendocrinology Letters found that when we feel depressed or anxious, we are more likely to suffer from a “leaky” gut and from constipation.

Emotions like worry, fear, anger and sadness can all activate stress hormones. These stress hormones do two things. The first is that they shut down certain aspects of the immune system and drive up levels of inflammation - in other words, stress hormones can throw the immune system out of balance. The effect? Inflammation in the places where we are most susceptible to injury.

The second thing that stress hormones do is shut down our digestive fire. This digestive fire comes from the gastric juices that we need to break down proteins and turn “on” energizing vitamins—like vitamin B12, and from digestive enzymes. Without stomach acid and enzymes, food sits like a brick in the gut.

When food doesn’t move, we can feel bloated, have gas, experience cramping and pain, and it may take days to have a bowel movement. Or, we may have a bowel movement every day but it feels small and incomplete.

Emotional stress does not just lead to physical constipation - it also leads to emotional constipation.

Energetically, the large intestine or colon is responsible for helping us to release toxic emotions and sadness from our life.

When we are constipated or when we face another medical issue that involves the colon, we may be holding onto an emotion or great sadness. By releasing emotional toxins, including sadness and guilt, we give ourselves the space to physically heal—whether it is constipation, a condition called diverticulitis, or colon cancer.

In Chinese medicine, the Large Intestine channel begins at the tip of the index finger. The index finger is the finger that we use to accuse others and to point blame.

How often do you blame others for events and situations in your life?

While it is hard to admit, many of us spend a lot of time blaming others. Whether it is our parents or the economy, we cast blame left and right. However, when we are able to take an energetic responsibility for every aspect of our life, we learn and we expand. We slowly begin to re-pattern beliefs and we release emotions that physically stress the body. Eventually, our perspective becomes Uni-versal.

To help get rid of emotional constipation, it is always a good idea to also take care of the physical body.

Our daily bowel movements allow us to release waste, heavy metals, and other poisons that can burden the body. If you do not have at least one bowel movement a day, try adding a few tablespoons of cultured vegetables to your lunch or dinner. The good bacteria in cultured vegetables can re-balance your inner ecology and encourage regular elimination.

What about you? What do you do to release emotions?

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