Joyous Blog

Guest Post: The Digestion and Confidence Connection

There are plenty of women who dislike their stomach. Many don’t want to bring focus to it other than to criticize it. They wish it looked different – stronger, fitter, flatter. I come across this a lot while working with women on their relationship with food and body image.

Many of these women also struggle with problematic digestion. They feel groggy, tired or bloated much of the time. Their digestion often feels slow and sluggish after a meal or even a small snack. They might regularly experience constipation and/or diarrhea.

Strangely enough, it is also not uncommon for these women to have challenges with their self esteem. Many of them experience feelings of low self worth and a lack of confidence. They often have high levels of anxiety and they tend to worry or "be in their heads" a lot. They tend to seek approval from others and often put themselves last.

These emotional and physical symptoms are signs from our bodies that tell us "something is not right here. Pay attention."

When I am working with these women, I can always relate to them on a personal level.  For years, I also experienced many of the physical and emotional symptoms I mentioned above. I didn’t know it was possible for me to have healthy digestion or to feel confident within myself. And I definitely didn't know the two were connected.

It might be strange to think that our ability to digest food might be connected to how we see ourselves. But it is actually an ancient way of approaching digestive and emotional healing.

In yoga, the abdominal region contains our third chakra or solar plexus. It is an energy center (stay with me here) located between our navel and our ribs and is associated with our sense of confidence, power and self worth. It governs our digestive organs and our ability to break down food effectively.

When the third chakra is balanced, our abdominal region is a fiery, active and highly productive area of our body. We feel confident, ambitious and connected to who we are and our purpose in life. We know how to get the job done. Our focus and clarity is strong and we are able to make decisions on what is best for us. Our level of energy is plentiful and consistent.

When this area is weak or imbalanced, we regularly experience doubt about ourselves and our direction in life. We question our actions – what we do and say, as well as how we act, especially around others. We worry a lot. We feel worthless and hesitant, often priortizing other people’s happiness over our own. Our anxiety levels are high and nervousness is prominent.

In terms of digestion, an imbalanced third chakra can lead to numerous digestive problems, such as upset stomach, bloating, low stomach acid (which can lead to acid reflux), allergies, food sensitivities and an inability to break down food into nutrients.

So how can you bring your solar plexus into balance to support digestive health? Here are three simple ways that, when practiced regularly, can be very effective. Try not to discount these techniques just because they are simple; they might be just what your body and soul need.

Breathe

Placing our hands on our bodies is an effective way to draw attention and energy to a place that needs some love. If placing hands on your stomach is too confrontational for you, place them an inch or so away from your belly. Let them hover in this space. Begin to breathe long, slow deep breaths as you keep your focus on your hands. You can imagine a powerful light radiating out of your hands into your belly. Try this two times daily for a few minutes each time.

Solitude

Spending time alone helps us to develop a stronger sense of who we are. Giving ourselves time to unwind and allow built-up anxiety from our day to settle and release. Find something you love to do, journal, write, colour, dance, move, or anything else, as it helps you to find clarity on your own desires.

Core Work

Physically strengthening this part of our bodies will help us become stronger and more confident. It helps to bring energy and fire back into our digestive system, making the process of digesting easier and more efficient. Pilates, core classes or online videos focusing on core work can give great guidance on how to tone and strengthen this area.

How has your digestive health had an effect on your emotional health or vice versa?

25 Comments
Aubrey   •   January 16, 2016

Very interesting and helpful post!

Reply
Susanne   •   January 24, 2016

Thanks Aubrey :)


Laura   •   January 20, 2016

Wow. This really resonated with me... in fact, it brought tears to my eyes as I felt comforted by the fact that I'm not alone in my struggles with confidence, body image issues and related tummy troubles. Thank you for posting this and helping women like me connect the dots! It's so helpful to know that all of this is connected :-) With gratitude, Laura

Reply
Susanne   •   January 24, 2016

Laura, your response brought tears to MY eyes. You are definitely not alone and am glad this offered some relief for you xo


Mindy Biggar   •   January 21, 2016

This is s a terrific article. Thank you for the tips on balancing the third chakra and its connection to digestive upset, feelings of self worth and anxiety. I will be implementing all of the above in hopes to alleviate some of the symptoms above. Thank you for taking the time to share your knowledge.

Reply
Susanne   •   January 24, 2016

Thank you Mindy, good luck xo


Natalie   •   January 23, 2016

Great Article. Thank you for sharing. Natalie

Reply
Susanne   •   January 27, 2016

Thanks Natalie xo


Adam Antao   •   February 16, 2016

Thanks Susanne for sharing this, I didn't know digestion & confidence has a connection ....

Reply
Susanne   •   February 18, 2016

Thanks Adam :)


Leona Kealty   •   March 1, 2016

Thank you so much! What a wonderful read and it certainly brings much to light!

Reply
Susanne   •   March 3, 2016

Thanks Leona, glad you got something from it!


Sheda Lotie   •   March 24, 2016

yes, my digestion sometimes is affected with my mental stability :p I miss my flat tummy and regular visits to the toilet.. after some sad episodes in my life, I went into stress eating... fortunately i have means and methods to cleanse my digestive system :)

Reply
Heather Allen   •   March 24, 2016

The gut brain connection is so powerful! I'm glad to hear you've found some methods that work for you :) All the best, Heather- Joyous Health Team


Marianela   •   May 19, 2016

It's true and one of the leading factors to digestive disorders is poor nutrition. Loads of dietary fiber and avoiding too much caffeine and artificial sweeteners will help a great deal. Such a lovely article! Thanks for sharing this =)

Reply

Marianne Greer   •   June 27, 2016

Great Piece! I never thought about the third chakra being out of balance.

Reply
Walker Jordan   •   January 7, 2017

Walker test?


Scarlet   •   July 29, 2016

Informative and a helpful post! Thanks!

Reply
Heather Allen   •   August 1, 2016

Thanks, Scarlet! Heather- Joyous Health Team


Healthcare Process Outsourcing   •   October 4, 2016

Thank you for sharing a very useful article.

Reply
Walker Jordan   •   January 7, 2017

Test


Walker Jordan   •   January 7, 2017

I agree!

Reply
Walker Jordan   •   January 7, 2017

Me too!


Jessica   •   February 15, 2017

Hi Susanne, I'm so happy I stumbled upon this post! I'm in grad school working on my thesis which is all about the guy brain connection and blockages in the third chakra! Do you have any books or articles you would recommend? Thanks!

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Rachel   •   February 16, 2017

Hey Jessica! Joy actually has a really great article on the gut brain which you can find over here: https://www.joyoushealth.com/blogdetail.php?blogid=24685 I don't have any specific chakra-related books in mind, but there's a wealth of them out there (specifically for the third chakra) which would be worth looking into as well :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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