I'm Dr. Elizabeth
EPIDEMIOLOGIST TURNED HOLISTIC HEALER, MEDICAL INTUITIVE AND YOUR HEALTH ISSUES’ WORST NIGHTMARE
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For decades traditional healthcare and medicine have done their very best to completely dismantle the whole human and break it into its individual pieces. Medical specialties have been created to further separate and breakdown individual systems within the human body. Many benefits have resulted from this approach, but the bigger picture was overlooked. While the focus has been on the individual pieces of human health, the lens on how everything is connected has been lost.
The WHO defines health as “a complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being; not merely an absence of disease or infirmity.” By definition, physical and mental health are one.
Now, in a time when the prevalence of chronic disease continues to rise and the proportion of people living with more than one symptom or illness grows, the time has come to take a step back and look at the bigger picture to connect the dots and put the pieces of the health puzzle back together again and that’s exactly what I’m here to do.
I’m going to share seven ways that mental and physical health are completely connected. Along the way the dots will all connect (that’s my jam!) so you’ll understand the bigger picture of how this is all ultimately connected to your overall health and long-term wellness. Hang in here with me, you’re in for my usual blend of science and spiritualism, traditional and non-traditional.
Of course there is an underlying pathophysiological mechanism through which physical and mental health are connected. There is an actual connection between your thoughts or mental health and the parts of your brain responsible for controlling bodily functions.
Your brain is connected to your endocrine system, which secretes hormones that also have a powerful influence on your emotions and your mental health. I won’t get super deep into this, but you get the connection here.
The mind can affect physical health in many ways. While the state of your physical health impacts your emotional and mental state.
People who struggle with emotional or mental health issues are more likely to develop physical symptoms and health issues. Poor mental health is a risk factor for chronic physical health problems.
Thoughts and feelings are created in the mind. Since your mind is connected to your endocrine system (which produces hormones), negative or unhealthy thoughts and emotions can generate hormones coming from your endocrine system that control a lot of what goes on with the physical body and its health.
While the thoughts and emotions are not necessarily directly causing physical health problems, they are absolutely contributing to them. For example, people experiencing mental or emotional distress, anxiety, or depression can start to develop physical symptoms like fatigue, lack of appetite, constipation, and insomnia.
Depression and anxiety have been shown to increase the risk for developing any physical health problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders like IBS. When mental health is not optimal, the immune system takes a hit overtime. This can also result in various negative health consequences.
The existence of current physical health issues impacts daily mental health. If you have any chronic physical health issues like pain, weaknesses, limitations, discomfort, symptoms, or illnesses then you know- because you live this scenario I’m about to describe.
Not a day goes by that you don’t think about your [insert your physical health struggles here]. It’s always in the back of your mind. Ever present. Every moment of every day. It’s always in the back of your mind controlling you to some degree.
You can’t ever forget about [insert your physical health struggles] because it never completely and permanently goes away. You’re always feeling it and experiencing it on the physical level.
In these scenarios many people have developed habits and coping mechanisms so they can turn their focus away from their physical health problems. Unfortunately, a mind cannot be turned off. Regardless of those coping mechanisms and habits inevitably thoughts about the physical health issues filter in and cause distractions throughout the day.
Overtime this pattern of distracting thoughts can be shocked, angry, sad, unhappy, and lead to anxiety, depression, and chronic stress. Many major mental illnesses including depression are associated with higher rates of death compared with the general population. A 2017 study reported that people with depression may have life spans up to 18 years shorter than average1. The physical diagnosis continues to worsen the mental health of the individual.
Your physical and mental health impact your stress, another element of your mental health. Chronic physical health problems and/or mental and emotional health issues create stress and fear.
Stress and fear are directly connected to your health. Stress disrupts the functional interaction between your nervous system and your immune system. When this happens, stress weakens and impairs your immune system.
This stress-induced immune system impairment can result in negative and serious health consequences, such as reducing your body’s ability to fight off infections, viruses, other pathogens, and any other health problems that come your way. This is because stress decreases the number of lymphocytes in the body. These are the white blood cells your immune system needs to fight off pathogens and infections.
With your immune system’s guard down, stress can also lead to slower healing and reactivation of pathogens like viruses that might be dormant inside you. Chronic stress is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, stroke, additional mental health complications, type two diabetes, and some cancers
Stress impacts your long term health and wellness goals. Here’s how it happens.
Stress activates your adrenal glands and this is directly connected to another issue: weak adrenals. When you experience stress your hypothalamus, which connects the brain and the endocrine system, sends a signal to your pituitary gland. The pituitary gland in turn sends a signal to your adrenal glands, which are above your kidneys, to produce and secrete hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars like glucose in the blood stream, enhances your brain‘s use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues. Cortisol alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, the reproductive system, and growth processes.
This complex natural alarm system also communicates with the brain regions that control mood, motivation, and fear. Stress hormones like cortisol are important for regulating your immune system and reducing inflammation.
While this is valuable during stressful or threatening situations, chronic stress can result in impaired communication between your immune system and your hypothalamus. This impaired communication has been linked to the future development of many physical and mental health conditions like chronic fatigue, metabolic disorders, and immune disorders like fibromyalgia.
As a result of this impaired communication in your body, your ability to achieve long-term health and wellness diminishes the longer poor mental health or physical health are left unchecked.
Your fight or flight response which is controlled by your sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is designed to protect you. You also have a parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) which is the system that calms and relaxes you. The PNS restores you to a composed state and prevents you from overworking. These two systems (SNS + PNS) work together in harmony. When stress is properly managed they balance each other out and keep you in a healthy balanced state. However when you constantly feel stressed, the fight or flight reaction (SNS) stays on.
The long-term activation of the stress response system and over exposure to cortisol, adrenaline, and other stress hormones that follows can disrupt almost all of your bodies processes. Your adrenals become overworked and fatigued, and regulating your emotions becomes more difficult. The longer your adrenals are overworked, the more they get worn out, and this can lead to adrenal fatigue which is an underlying root cause of many chronic symptoms and health issues.
Your physical health impacts your mental health and your perspective on yourself. Not only does your physical health impact your mental health but those two systems then impact your own perspective of yourself and how you live your life.
When you’re dealing with physical health problems that have infiltrated your mental health you start to look at the world and everything around you, including your decisions, from that lens. The decisions you make, even the clothes you put on your body each day, are dependent on how you’re feeling.
Your physical and mental health issues control you and consume you. They change the way you shop, where are you shop, how long is shop, if and when you’ll go out into public at all comfortably. These issues change the way you dress and behave. You push those outfits that make you feel good about yourself to the back of the closet, into the bottoms of the drawers, and you tell yourself that’s what you’ll wear when you finally feel better physically and mentally.
These health issues change the way you socialize, how are you socialize, when you socialize, and if you socialize. Sometimes you decide you’re just not going out or showing up at all because you’re too distracted by your physical and mental health that day. You’re too consumed with how you’re feeling and you don’t have the energy to just show up halfway and shine it on for the people around you.
People who are struggling with physical or mental health issues tend to isolate themselves and isolation is a growing public health problem that is a risk factor for many other health problems as well. What you think about yourself, how are you see yourself, how you feel about yourself-it all is impacted by your physical and mental health. Even the most positive people can struggle with this.
Physical and mental health impact your ability to think about your future and what it holds.
There’s also a connection through your energetic health: rarely acknowledged or discussed, yet equally important in your overall health. What goes on in your mind and your body creates shifts in your energetic health.
The truth is your physical and mental health are connected through your energetic being. Everything is energy. Everything, down to its smallest essence, is energy. That’s it. You down to your smallest essence, your smallest particle- are made up of energy.
Believe it or not whether you can see it, hear it, smell it, taste it, feel it-or NOT-you radiate that energy in a field that’s all around you all the time. If your physical and mental health are optimal, that is reflected in what you radiate all around you everywhere you go.
It’s like the signal that you send off as if we were all antennae sending signals out into the universe. If your physical and/or mental health are not optimal or unbalanced, then it impacts your energetic field. Your energetic field sends out signals that are unbalanced or less than optimal, reflecting the state of your physical and mental health.
Since you are like an antennae giving off a signal, the world around you is receiving it and responding accordingly. Your reality and your world are created by that energy you are putting out by attracting relationships, situations, events, objects, and opportunities that are in direct alignment with the energy-or signal-you (your antennae) is transmitting.
The ripple effect of your physical and/or mental health being sub optimal is much greater than just you and your individual health and wellness. It extends to everything around you: everything you do, every place you go, every person you interact with. This is something to really think about. Ask yourself: What do you want to radiate and how do you want to radiate in this world? What do you want to attract more of into your life? What do you want your world to look and feel like?
The answers to these questions depend on your physical and mental health. Your health truly is the foundation of everything.
It has never been more important to take radical responsibility for our health and wellbeing: physical and mental. There has never been a more important time than NOW to focus on how to be WELL, how to achieve lasting health and wellness, how to experience optimal health: mind, body, and spirit.
Now is the time to get on the road to sustainable health with an intuitive, holistic approach. My approach combines the very best of Western medicine and science with the natural, energetic, and spiritual approaches that necessitate true healing.
If you’re battling chronic emotional or physical issues, chronic symptoms, living in a struggling capacity in some way each day that you’re ready to shift for good, and committed to this health transformation, know this:
That state of optimal health is waiting for you. Click here to book in a call to explore if my private health mentorship is a fit for you!
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