Eleventh Post – Series ‘Reloading Mental Health’ – November 2020
Ayurveda says that there is an intrinsic intelligence in every organ and every cell of the body, that includes the stomach and intestine as well. Mental strength and metabolism are strongly interconnected. They have a direct impact on each other. Gastrointestinal immunity plays a major role in strengthening the physical as well as mental immunity. A strong GI immunity boosts a positive mental health and vice versa.
Ayurveda does not demarcate a separation between mind and body. There is constant communication between mind and gut through the nervous system. When the mind is balanced and relaxed, the GI system receives healthy messages from brain and is able to extract the required nutrients for strength and energy, the appetite becomes perfect, and the metabolism works efficiently. When the mind is disturbed, the GI system loses its efficiency. There are significant case records of heartburn when people are under stress and of diarrhoea when they appear for exams. Change in appetite is another expression of mental health. We tend to lose/increase appetite when sad.
Ayurveda considers human body as inseparable from the environment and is called ‘Anna-Maya Kosha’, which means ‘the layer made out of food’. Through the gut we ingest energy from the environment to create our physical form (Anna-Maya Kosha) and sustain it’s functioning. Eating with awareness creates a cellular and mental connection with the food and surroundings. Silencing the mind while eating enhances emotional health. A supportive psychological therapy can alleviate both digestive and psychological disorders. Emotional and psychological healing leads to a healed gut. Addressing the real areas of stress in life and making meaningful changes increases GI immunity.