Think back to a time that you’ve been nervous. Can you remember the feeling of butterflies in your stomach? Hasn’t everyone has had that experience?

Hasn’t everyone also had the experience of worry and anxiety keeping the body awake at night?

We innately know that emotion and mindset affect the body. We also know that physical ailments take a toll on our internal life.

Medical science tells us that mind and body are connected. When I think of the world “connected” my mind conjures a picture of two separate entities joined by an invisible bridge. Actually no bridge “connects the mind and body. On the contrary, the mind, body, and spirit compose one seamless energetic system. Every experience, and even every thought affects the totality.

Ayurveda holds a strong focus on the process of emotional digestion. According to Ayurveda, digestion refers to both the digestion of food and the digestion of experience. The mind/body ingests and digests the emotions involved in every life experience just as much as it does every bite of food.

Some people have strong digestive power and can easily move through life events. These people ingest and digest the emotions triggered by troublesome and even tragic events. Other people, those with weaker emotional digestive power, often hang on to a negative emotional experience. Ten years later a person might be continually revisiting the emotions triggered by a troublesome time. Revisiting trauma over and over recreates the same rush of bio-chemicals as the event itself and, therefore, the same emotions.

Still other individuals have experienced the same emotion for such a long time that they don’t have the ability to recognize and deal with the feeling. It’s as if the emotion has spread its tentacles through the mind-body and become a familiar, although not a welcomed part of them.

Anger, or its best friend resentment are powerful emotions that frequently go underground and become part and parcel of an individual. When this happens a common symptom is constant and chronic fatigue. When anger and resentment spread throughout the body muscles become tight and the body can be filled with tension. Holding anger in and becoming tense feeds upon itself and tension increases. Eventually tension exhausts the mind and body.

It’s impossible to just let go of things. To say those words “just let go of it” implies a poor understanding of the process of emotional digestion. Most of us carry around at least a bit of old baggage.

We need interventions to help us to let go. In the case of buried anger we need to begin by easing the tension. Tense muscles need warmth. Epsom salts can be relaxing. Prescribed herbs are helpful, as is massage. Walking can be exceedingly helpful. Walking allows for the muscles in our body to push against our lymphatic’s draining and clearing them. Walking also allows the lactic acid (which comes from chronic stress) to drain away.

Melting away the physical side effects of buried anger and resentment is a good place to begin. Feeling better creates an impetus to add more interventions. Yoga and meditation are helpful for the release of negative emotions. These practical interventions calm the nervous system.

One step at a time we can begin to feel better and enhance our overall health–and maybe even get along better with family, friends and co-workers! With the correct interventions we are all capable of change. We are also capable, through natural interventions, of increasing our emotional digestive power. The negative events of life do not need to cause severe unending trauma to our mind and our body.

How Our Emotions Affect Our Body2