The Mind-Body Connection: the effect of stress on our bodies

by Sue Kira, Naturopath, Gold Coast, Australia

Stress appears to be part of our normal lives, but does it have to be this way? What is stressful to one person can often have no affect on another. Stress occurs as a result of the way we think and react to life.

If we change the way we respond to stress then it doesn’t have to affect us harmfully. And that has to be good for us because science is now validating what we have intuitively known for years: stress can have a destructive effect on our bodies.

For example, you have probably been told not to go swimming directly after eating. This is not an old wives’ tale. It has more to do with a scientific reason that relates to our nervous and vascular systems.

The body’s parasympathetic nervous system governs the digestive systems. When we eat a meal our nervous system shunts a large volume of blood via the vascular system to the organs of digestion, assimilation and elimination. If we go for a swim or run while digesting food, there is less blood supply available for the heart, lungs, arm and leg muscles. As a result we can suffer from cramps. Not so good if we are in the water, as this can lead to drowning.

A similar thing happens in reverse if we eat when we are stressed. In a state of stress, the nervous system automatically shunts a large volume of blood via the vascular system to the heart, lungs and limbs as a protective measure. This is known as the ‘flight or fight’ response, to help us to escape danger. As a result, blood vessels in other parts of the body are constricted and blood flow reduced. Not only is the digestive system affected, other problems may occur such as high blood pressure and migraine headaches because the blood vessels to the brain are constricted.

Do you see the mind body connection?

As a holistic practitioner I often help clients realise that there is more to their state of health than the obvious virus, deficiency, parasite, fungus etc. Sometimes it is necessary to dig deeper to show them what message their body is trying to convey.

Because it appears we lack a clear form of communication between the mind and the body, the body has to give us signals to help us work out what to do. It’s a bit like playing charades or looking at the symbology of dreams.

Many of us are aware that stress lowers our immune defences and know that if we are run down and stressed, that is when we are more prone to getting sick. But many still have very little understanding of the ‘why’ behind it all.

There is the scientific view that explains how there is a change of chemicals and hormones in our body stimulated by stressful situations. However, this doesn’t account for how we can get different disorders in different people, even though their stress factors may appear to be the same.

The answer is related to energy and the quality of our energy is affected by how we feel. I’ll explain…

Everything on this earth whether dead or alive, metal, wood or flesh is made up of trillions of vibrating atoms. Prior to working in naturopathy I worked in science labs using electron microscopes that could magnify thousands of times and go deeper and deeper into an object. It became clear to me that eventually you get to only vibrating atoms and empty spaces between atoms.

The rate at which atoms vibrate determines what an object actually is. Similarly, every organ and body part vibrates at different frequencies. This is the basis for energy medicine, which aims to restore harmony to the vibrations of the atoms that make up our body.

The thoughts we have can change the pattern of the vibration of our atoms. Consequently the way we react to stress in our life, whether emotional or physical, can have an impact on our health.

Many technological devices around us have the potential to affect us. It is easy to blame technology for our ailments, but the way we let emotions affect us has much more impact on our health than all of these devices.

We also blame our genes (genetics) but science has also shown through ‘epigenetics’ that we can ‘switch off’ or ‘switch on’ gene expressions depending on our emotional environment and how we look after ourselves. Identical twin studies have shown that if one twin is stressed more than the other, then the stressed twin has more health problems than the less stressed twin.

So we can change our vibrations quite easily by the way we think, feel and deal with life. Taking time to stop and be still and learning to breathe gently through our nose is something that can help us, along with eating wholesome fresh unprocessed foods, drinking clean fresh water, breathing clean air, doing regular gentle exercise and truly nurturing ourselves.

However, it is very important to consider how our emotional life is affecting us.

Have you ever seen someone turn ‘white as a sheet’ or ‘as red as a beetroot’? This is a direct result of the responsiveness of our internal system to various emotions. These emotions affect our cardiovascular system and can affect blood flow to different organs and can disrupt the harmony of the mind-body connection.

If ‘trapped’ emotions within our body are not released, the effect over time will invariably show up in our health. Consider how long you can endure a stressful situation before it starts to affect your body. Buried past experiences and hurts can be trapped in the body and sometimes we need the help of an experienced practitioner to resolve these, to help bring them to our awareness and release them.

My preferred and recommended form of energy healing is the esoteric healing modalities taught by Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine, of which I am a perpetual student.


358 thoughts on “The Mind-Body Connection: the effect of stress on our bodies

  1. I agree with you Sue Kira and Serge Benhayon and Albert Einstein: studying physics at University also allowed me the opportunity to learn about atoms and energy. What Serge is presenting is real, it has been proven by science – however it is yet to be further adopted by the world. For why are we ignoring learning more about energy, atoms and living? It is all here – we are living proof.

    1. Ariana so true, we are all taught it at school in physics, it is the basics of science. What Einsten has shared and what Serge Benhayon is sharing has been proven in science, we need to go deep into understanding energy, atoms and living to truly understand the magic of energy. We are living proofs of this energy.

  2. What a different world we will all be living in when this knowledge is taught in schools.
    Thanks for sharing Sue.

    1. Ah yes Julie, and what a different world and approach to health and well-being we will have when this type of education becomes the basis of all health and medical education – and what a different way to approach illness and disease.

  3. Dear Sue,
    Thank you for your article, the practical way that you have described how stress affects our bodies is great. Connecting me back to the simplicity of there being a harmonious steady flow in our bodies, and how the harmony is disrupted when we allow the stress of living to impact us.

  4. A very interesting article Sue, thank you. I enjoyed reading this and was a lovely reminder that all is energy and therefore all is because of energy and that we have a choice.

  5. Your explanations and examples are very clear and informative Sue, thank you.
    I enjoyed reading, thus gaining a greater insight, about holding on to emotions and how stress affects our bodies.

  6. Thank you for this very informative explanation of how stress affects the body Sue. I never studied biology, and only in the last few years have I realised how important it is to look after my physical and emotional well-being. I was inspired to read about how the particles vibrate at different frequencies, and how we can reconfigure our bodies when we are aware of how our thoughts and behaviour affects all parts of the body.

  7. Sue, I have learnt so much from reading your blog. I had come to believe that not eating before swimming was an old wives tale but from reading your article it makes so much sense why it is important not to. Your scientific background is fascinating and I would love to read more from you with your understanding of science and the human body.

  8. Dear Sue this is a really clear down to earth and very explained medical blog including the whole picture and the core roots. This blog makes it possible to understand our bodies and how our system made out of energy is working and what is affecting it. For me the experience of the stored hurts and trapped emotions, to feel it and be able to release and heal, and all just through connecting and feeling them, was really impressive and helped me understand even more how important it is to fully come back and enhouse and embrace this body I am living in. Now I am on the journey of building every day and step by step a more loving relationship with my body, as it is truly the best guide through life. Thank You for making this knowing accessible to all. With love Nadine

  9. I love how your article shows how the objectified view of stress as a “thing” or an “objective condition” is quite false and that it is our emotions, perceptions and lifestyle choices that facilitate us in experiencing stress.
    In my work, I have found that beliefs are a high contributing factor also: when we believe that a certain situation is going to be stressful, especially when there is a whole group believing this together, we may end up approaching this situation in stress before anything has occurred at all. That’s a cycle I completely reject!
    I love how you describe also, Sue, the way in which blood flow is diverted differentially to parts of the body, like in digestion, or in fight or flight situations: it makes me wonder what would the body’s preferred blood flow be like?

  10. it is simple really… The way we think, in the energy within which we think, has a direct effect upon the way we feel, it has direct physiological effects upon everybody, which have direct links to our physical, mental, and energetic health. It behoves to understand that everything is connected, there are no little cul-de-sacs with things that don’t matter… Everything is important – everything we think do and say.

  11. Thanks Sue. There is something about the approach of Esoteric Modalities that cares for a person as a whole. There really is something in this. I really enjoyed reading about your experience working as a scientist and that you saw the atoms vibrating and can relate this to esoteric healing.

  12. I think it’s an area that we need to pay much more attention to, looking at how we deal with stress and emotions, and the impact that these can have on the body.

  13. Awesome article and thank you Sue for providing a deeper understanding of how our thoughts and emotions truly impact our bodies. If we take heed from what you’ve presented in your blog we can be truly empowered in knowing that we are not at the mercy of anything external and that in truth our health and wellbeing are determined by how we live and respond in life. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and love your explanation of the vibration of atoms.

  14. This is fascinating Sue – to understand more fully how our atoms vibrate according to our disposition and health is a total game changer. It is easy then to connect to the understanding that a certain emotion will cause a patter of vibration in different organs, leading to particular dis-ease or dis-harmony. Really great read; thank you.

  15. As a Physiotherapist of some 18 years experience, I have witnessed countless times patients coming into my clinic with a physical ailment such as back or neck pain and when I have interviewed them about the history of the complaint, so often they report a recent stressful event or ongoing stress in their lives. Coincidence? Maybe, but I am convinced the anecdotal evidence is there for a link between stress and physical dysfunction.

  16. I know for a fact that stress impacts on my health and that the more I allow stress to be in my life it does eventually catch up with me with a big whack of ill health. Only through Universal Medicine have I found a form of healing stress and emotions that rather than approaches it head on, seeks to look behind the stress and pull the carpet out from under it so to speak. For example if I walk in a certain way that is tight and on alert I am much more prone to feeling or reacting in a stress-full way, however if I walk openly and freer there is space to not instantly jump into a reaction or stress. And this way of being open and freer I have found to be achieved by not holding onto ill energy within the body.

  17. Thank you for this very informative article, Sue. I have often used the word ‘stress’ to blame it as THE reason for being grumpy or exhausted or some medical condition, and your article has inspired me to consider it as the consequence of my choices.

  18. great to read about energy in a scientific way and get to explore how we can influence our quality of life on a very powerful level in a very simple way.

  19. There is so much in your blog here Sue, thank you for sharing about epigenetics, impact of emotions on our health, the stress response and physiology of digestion. It certainly shows how we do have a choice here in regards to our health, the choice to either let the body be governed by emotions or not. Taking time to stop and reconnect to ourselves using our breath is a great self care tool to re establish that quality and sense of ourselves which halts emotional reactions affecting our body. This reconnection to ourselves using the breath is the foundation of self care, and in my opinion, this is true medicine.

  20. I concur with your words in your comment Gilesch, I too have learned much about listening to the body since attending the presentations of Serge Benhayon at Universal Medicine. I am constantly learning to appreciate the amazingness of this vehicle and all that it has to reflect to me and to teach me in this life.

  21. Great blog Sue. It makes a lot of sense that loading the body up with emotional baggage takes up space which then makes the body have to work harder to compensate. Reading this blog I came to a deeper appreciation of just how important it is to make sure I take moments throughout my day to slow my body down. I notice that when I do this and my body relaxes back to its normal state that I can feel more ‘space’ inside of me.

  22. Such a great way, in which you have explained the connection between stress and its impact on our bodies. This was a wonderful learning for me this morning. I loved reading your article from the first to the last line, understanding now much deeper the relationship between choosing energy and the physical impact this has to my body. This gives me more insight and awareness with the fact as well as more understanding and acceptance. Thank you Sue.

  23. Loved reading this Sue. This is true science – it amazes me that when we relate science and biology back to the body it suddenly feels alive and makes so much more sense! I am feeling a bit anxious the last couple of days and find my digestion is also going strange. The explanation you gave about the nervous system and that when you are stressed more energy goes to your heart and muscles etc. to ‘fight or flight’ really made me aware of that this is what is happening in my body at the moment. Thank you.

  24. I am very much enjoying the beauty of how you describe the human body and its response to our choices. This is actually a truly empowering discovery if not a very exposing one as it does always come back to our choices and way of living.

  25. Gosh Sue, I wish someone had explained this with such clarity. I would have even liked subjects I always felt a clear aversion towards. It makes so much sense when we factor in the whole picture.

  26. Thank you Sue for reminding me of the mind-body connection and that energy is everywhere and in everything and that my state of mind can greatly influence my health.

  27. It is quite common to blame technological devices for our problems without stopping to consider how we relate to them – often choosing to react in an emotional way, this then causing our dis-ease not the devices themselves.

  28. Thanks Sue for a very insightful blog on our bodies and the multiple effects of stress from our choices and lifestyles. The energetic connection and science of atoms and particles is the missing link. The understanding that everything is energy and because of energy bridges it back to us through responsibility and choices.

  29. Thank you Sue for this very informative article. I particularly enjoyed the explanation that it all comes down to atoms and the space around them and the vibrations that affect whether our atoms are in harmony or not. This explains to me why sometimes we know something just doesn’t feel right.

    1. Yes, Mary, I find that description beautiful too and have a lovely visual feel for how the particles are constantly re arranging themselves in response to our thoughts and feelings: it feels exquisite, and even the notion of such bodily responsiveness, and the natural harmony is so inspiring of deep appreciation for the physical body. Beautiful – divine, actually.

  30. Beautifully written blog sue, understanding that everything has an effect on our body is such an important fact – everything we think, everything we do or say and nothing is nothing because everything is everything. We rarely stop and consider this and what it means for our well-being.

  31. If ‘trapped’ emotions within our body are not released, the effect over time will invariably show up in our health. Spot on Sue, and this has been my own experience as I took on many emotions that were not mine, and over the years, they become toxic, which led to my ill health, but at the same time, I understood my body was also clearing so much as my ill health brought me to a stop and then I changed my ways.

  32. When I was reading your article Sue I was reflecting back on how quickly I would scoff down my food as a habit… because I was living with so much anxiety and I would rush my food down as if someone was going to take it from me! It didn’t matter how healthy I ate, I would still feel bloated afterwards. It was only when I started to work on what was causing this anxiety and creating space and time in my day not to rush my meals that how I would feel in my body would change. And it’s now a great reference point for me if I do start to rush how I’m eating, because I feel how uncomfortable this is in my body very quickly…. and so I stop and consider why I may be anxious or rushing. It’s fun having this relationship with food and with my body 🙂

    1. I know this feeling too Katerina, eating while in anxiousness. Sometimes I am in a self created stressful situation in which I quickly want to eat without having enough time to eat. And when I try, my body is physically not able to take the food, my oesophagus is rejecting the food and I end up with a painful oesophagus and throat. This simply does not work and I have to admit that my body is much wiser than my mind.

    2. This is good to point out Katerina. I can relate to eating in this anxious way and I love how Sue takes it back to the energetic level and how we affect every cell through stress and anxiety. I found the Gentle Breath Meditation a great way to stay connected to how my body truly feels.

  33. Wow that is such a simple straightforward understanding of why our thoughts and emotions affect our bodies, for better or worse. Thanks Sue.

  34. This is a brilliant article Sue. I love how you have outlined what happens physically in the body when we allow our emotions to run us. It makes so much sense as I now have a deeper understanding on how emotions have a harmful effect and disrupt the harmony of our entire well-being. Thank you.

  35. Thank you for making it very clear how stress and emotions affect our bodies and health. It makes perfect sense that if we have negative thoughts over a long period it has to have an impact on our physiology.

  36. Sue you explain how our bodies work so clearly. I’ve always known if I am stressed then I’ll get a cold sore on my mouth; you have given a clue to how we can avoid stress in the first place.

  37. When I was at school the idea of biology, chemistry and physics were all separate subjects whereas what you’ve shared here Sue is that they are all connected. This is definitely something worth teaching, not just at school but in all education and even work places and homes, because emotions are in every aspect of human life, and with this understanding that they do have an effect on our health is worth considering.

    1. Great call Leigh, for having this taught as something to be commonly known in all aspects of our lives. We are living in a world where everything is energy and where everything is because of energy.

    2. I know Leigh and I wrote them all off as boring…. now I am fascinated by us and the universe and how we all work within that, how it can be taught so it seems dull and cumbersome is beyond me!

  38. Sue, I absolutely loved your blog. Felt like I had a science and anatomy lesson at the same time. Thoroughly enjoyable.

  39. You talk about stress and the trapped emotions in the body which all affect our health negatively – doesn’t it make sense that they would clutter the space between the atoms and lead to a very contracted and tightly held body and therefore a joyless existence?

    1. It makes a lot of sense Gabriele… most of us don’t like to see things cluttered around our home for too long because it can feel stifling. Just imagine how our physiology feels with all these emotions and stress welled up inside cramming up space. Not pretty, but then somehow we find it easy to blame everything apart from the energy we’ve chosen to take on.

      1. Great point, when you are stressed its like you don’t have space, things become hectic, you can feel dizzy or have lots of chaotic thoughts, I have also noticed that the body becomes more tight, muscles contracted, hardened etc- just an overall lack of space in everything.

    2. Whoa! I seriously feel you are onto something here, Gabriele, that toxic emotions clutter up the spaciousness between our atoms / cells and cause us to Iive contractedly and not who we spaciously are: you have joined the body, intuition and science in one sentence!

  40. Sue, you have explained energy and the impact of illness and disease in our body very clearly. It is so easy to blame external things for our state of health but this is just a way for us to avoid self responsibility for our choices. I appreciate the wonderful esoteric practitioner I see regularly who helps me to understand my body better and to take responsibility for my health issues.

  41. ‘If ‘trapped’ emotions within our body are not released, the effect over time will invariably show up in our health. Consider how long you can endure a stressful situation before it starts to affect your body’ – so true, if more people were aware the consequences stress can play out in our bodies. I am so glad I have an esoteric practitioner assisting me in my wellbeing.

  42. Because we are atoms, it feels like energetic configurations and pathways characterize our responses to stimuli. This is the basis of habits and the reason why we repeat the same choices over and over again, sometimes defying sense and logic.

    1. It does explain a lot Matthew that currently science struggles to explain, and it is fascinating to think that all of medicine could be boiled down to how ‘healthily’ our particles are vibrating and in which order or configuration and how much space there is between those particles. Maybe one day someone will invent a machine to measure the ‘health’ of our particles but I reckon we can do it instantly right now by becoming consciously aware of our bodies and being completely honest about how our bodies feel.

  43. So true that “Because it appears we lack a clear form of communication between the mind and the body, the body has to give us signals to help us work out what to do. It’s a bit like playing charades or looking at the symbology of dreams.” May there be more clarity for everyone, because it’s inevitable we’re given signs to learn from throughout life and ignoring them hurts, literally.

  44. This is a wonderfully clear informative blog Sue, I wish all humanity could read how devastating stress can be on our bodies. Thanks to Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine practitioners like you, this wise knowledge is spreading.

  45. I love the explanation you gave about how stress affects the blood flow to certain organs, which changes our physiology. We don’t understand the signals our body is communicating to us with, thus the need for mind body connection to understand them. Thank you Sue.

  46. Thanks Sue, what has been shared here is easily understood and makes so much sense. It is empowering to understand how our body works physically, and also more importantly. how what we are feeling and the situations we find ourselves in can alter our physical state. We are responding energetically every moment of every day.

  47. I really relate to the concept that my body is filled with countless vibrating atoms and that how vibrant I am will be determined by the lifestyle choices I make. It would therefore make sense that being stressed or emotional would lower my vibrational output and thus make me less well, in fact out of balance and sync. It is quite an awesome and tangible quality to feel that I can affect the level of vibration and thus vital wellness that I can achieve. I love what you have written here Sue and how accessible you have made this topic.

    1. Agree Stephen, it’s great information and I love how the article invited me to connect to my countless vibrating atoms. I can feel now my body from a different perspective, it’s more spacious and does not feel so limited, feels very open. It’s amazing how it challenges this perception of individual bodies and opens it up to how we affect each other by our high or dense vibrational output. It’s like the bodies can melt into each other and form unity or get dense and separate. Very awesome, Sue.

      1. Beautifully expressed Rachel, to feel that level of connection to our bodies does give us the opportunity to feel the vastness of who we truly are.

  48. ‘Many technological devices around us have the potential to affect us. It is easy to blame technology for our ailments, but the way we let emotions affect us has much more impact on our health than all of these devices.” So true Sue, I can remember how I used to blame technology as having an affect on my wellbeing and refused to have a microwave for a long time. Knowing that my emotional state, especially stress has a huge impact on my health and is far more harming than any technological device has given me a greater understanding of how we can get sick.

    1. It was amusing and a profound insight when I realised not only were my emotions and the way I reacted to life far more damaging to my health than the external sources I was blaming, but the blame game itself was significantly boosting the level of emotions and reactions in my body! Double whammy.

  49. Sue I found your blog to be very interesting in its explanation of how stress affects our health from a scientific point of view. Thank you so much.

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