Self Trust and the Gut

Elyse Shafarman

Been observing the effects of emotional anxiety on my digestive system. Guts tangling like snakes. High fear alert system from my body and difficulty distinguishing what is present time threat, and what is historical. Current commitment is to trust the sensations of my body, with the caveat that the interpretation of the meaning of these sensations may not be accurate. In other words, yes, my nervous system is accurately reading danger, but the meaning of this is nuanced in a way that my gut level thinking can’t access.

It’s the same issue when we work with movement. How do we recalibrate a nervous system highly attuned to the threat of pain? Yes, you will get accurate readings that something is wrong, but the most skillful response is not necessarily to arm yourself with muscular tension and get defensive in your behaviors. It’s essential that we heed our body sensations, but sometimes, they are calling us to pause for reflection versus jump to reaction. If we can re-establish a baseline of safety, our responses and our movement become freer.

In both circumstances, getting to a truth of how things are, even if very difficult, is less anxiety provoking then anxious speculation. Then, a reliable predictive model for how optimal movement occurs, or a narrative process of self-reflection and reframing, can provide a pathway out of primal fear.

This is what’s on my mind.