Your Guts Don’t Lie. Your Emotions Affect Your Digestion.

In Ayurveda, we see the first stages of imbalance or disease in the emotional body and the mind. With time, if the excess of vata, pitta, or kapha (or a combination) isn’t addressed, the imbalance will progress into our physical body. The entry point into the body is the digestive system. This is why we all have a clear gut response to stress, and even particular gut responses to particular situations.

Since our brains are so preoccupied with the text-messaging and face-booking and all sorts of other wonderful stimuli processing, we sometimes don’t really assess how we feel. Many of us become habituated to feeling a baseline level of anxiety, or pressure to get things done, and we actually recalibrate our interpretation of that experience to be normal. Luckily, (even though it may not feel lucky at the time) our guts don’t play these kinds of mind games.

Emotions and Digestion

If there is too much anxiety, stimulation, or overwhelm in your life, you will be gassy or irregular (tending towards constipation or incomplete feeling bowel movements at varying times).

If you have a great deal of internal conflict about your life situation (trouble digesting where you are in any facet of your life), you will have low digestive capacity. This means that even though you may be eating “healthy” or organic, your body isn’t able to effectively harness all the goodness and energy from your food. You may show up as vitamin D deficient even with a good deal of vitamin D in your diet (or B12, or iron).

Too much criticism (even self imposed), perfectionism, and being stuck on the “shoulds?” Well, that usually shows up as loose stool with a pungent odor.

Of course, there are many various ways we can see the emotions affect the guts, and these are just a few examples. Furthermore, you can have combinations of recurrent emotions show up as varying digestive symptoms (as in irritable bowel syndrome).

I don’t want to overwhelm anyone with a gigantic list of every possible digestive symptom here. Rather, I hope that after reading this post, you can spend some time just paying attention to how your digestive system is responding to certain people, situations, foods–and then see if you can identify some of the feelings associated with that response.

I promise you will find patterns.

These patterns are a communication from your body, and are a functional message: something needs to change.

If you have optimal digestions (1-2 well-formed and easy bowel movements at the same time each day; one in the morning upon waking; no gas or bloating; healthy appetite), you are in a good place emotionally.


With an MD (focus in psychiatry) and a Masters in Public Health, Siva brings a unique and integrative perspective to ayurveda. This, combined with her studies in Vedic wisdom, have nurtured her niche: expanding ayurveda with psychospiritual healing. Dr. Mohan’s perspectives have been featured globally in print magazines, online health portals, and TV. Siva teaches at festivals, conferences, yoga TT programs, online summits, and is faculty at Loyola Marymount University. Find her articles, videos, online courses, events, and more about her private practice at


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