Do you struggle to lose weight, suffer from stress, anxiety, or a sleep disorder? If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re not alone. In fact, most of us will have suffered from at least one of these problems throughout our lifetime. Did you know however, that several health problems are connected to emotional issues from our past? Studies show that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can be directly linked to illness and health issues later on in life. The greater the number of ACEs the greater the number of health problems. These negative emotional experiences can impact your body in a number of ways:
- By manifesting in various behaviours such as emotional eating, bingeing, alcohol, smoking or drug addiction. These short-term fixes dull the senses, ease the stress and temporarily gratify the body but are usually followed by guilt, pain and remorse. The cycle thus continues.
- By contributing to the cause of illness and chronic disease both physical and mental. Weight gain in particular appears to be a coping mechanism, after childhood sexual abuse, for depression, anxiety or fear. The extra weight acts like a physical buffer that a person can hide behind, so to speak.
As a result of understanding that traumatic events in childhood can disrupt our future health, I will often ask a client if they have been the victim of any trauma. Have they been mugged or raped or suffered domestic violence? Lost a parent at a young age, or even bullied at school. With gentle questioning a client will often open up hidden parts of their lives as it is a safe space to do so. This gives me an insight into some of the possible reasons for their health struggles. Maybe there is an inability to lose weight or a deep-seated anxiety driving IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
What is the solution to deep seated trauma?
By dealing with the ACEs, telling your story to someone, opening up and putting your fears into words can lead to a gain in control and allows you to look at it from a new perspective. This in turn contributes to a desire to fix dietary issues, ultimately leading to an improvement in physical health. Processing difficult experiences can often result in a letting go of excess weight or restored gut health and a freedom to breathe more easily.
Chocolate and wine are some of the most popular stress/ anxiety relievers. They help by giving you a temporary fix of happy hormones known as serotonin. With the added stress of lockdown and missed holidays, many have turned to these ‘happy fixes’ in greater quantities.
Binge watching box sets is also a form of escapism and as a nation our average daily TV viewing time has increased to 7 hours per day since March! As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, getting out into the beautiful Surrey countryside for some contact with nature or forest bathing will reduce stress better than a large bar of chocolate! Go for a lovely long walk, soak up some sunshine to boost your vitamin D and then see if you still want or need a quick fix! Journaling is also a great way to get your feelings down on paper. Maybe write a letter to the person who hurt you telling them how you felt at the time and rather than sending it, burn it.
If you have suffered from any traumatic experiences and believe they could be affecting your health and would like to talk, here are some helpful websites:
- Talking therapies can help all sorts of people in lots of different situations. According to the NHS website they are often more effective than medication. I personally have used the free NHS service when I was suffering from mild depression a few years ago. It was very helpful and gave me coping strategies. You can refer yourself to the service without the need to see a GP first.
- Matrix Re-imprinting is a technique that connects people with their past traumas and core beliefs and enables them to transform them into supportive platforms for their lives. The technique uses EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), a very effective tool for reducing anxiety, helping with sleep, weight loss and many other issues. www.matrixreimprinting.co.uk
- MIND provide advice and support to empower anyone experiencing a mental health problem.
- Solution Focused Clinical Hypnotherapy focuses on solutions to your problems, without dwelling on your past.
Please don’t hesitate to contact any of these sources. Often the hardest part is asking for help but once you have taken that step it will get easier. For help with any other health issues contact me via email:
or phone 07961 990087
In closing, I have now been writing for Cranleigh Magazine for the past 3 years and as I will be moving out of the area in October, it is time for me to put down my pen (laptop actually!). I hope that you have found all the information useful and that it has prompted you to take some steps towards improving your health. It’s never too late to improve your food and lifestyle choices.
Wishing you all a future of vibrant health and joy.
Sue Potgieter, Nutritional Therapist & Naturopath mANP rGNC