Many IBS patients want to know, “What is the secret to healing IBS?” As a psychologist specializing in IBS, my aim is to help patients heal and recover from IBS or whatever functional GI problem they have. I’d love to be able to offer my patients a cure-all secret that would heal all of their IBS symptoms. But, the honest truth is that there actually is no secret.
IBS is a complex problem.
As I explain in my Stop Seeking, Start Healing blog, IBS is a physiological problem, digestive in nature, for which there is no clear-cut medical or physiological cause. That means there’s no sure-fire cure — no drug, surgery, or protocol that will definitively stop your IBS symptoms. If resolving your IBS were an easy, quick fix, you would have done it by now. That’s the bad news. The good news is that you can heal from your IBS, and I would like to help you do that.
Albert Einstein once said that problems cannot be solved on the level on which they were created. Likewise, your IBS cannot be healed on the level at which it was created. Healing from IBS, in this case, is less a function of leveling up and more a function of leveling over.
IBS and the Left and Right Brains
The way we typically problem solve is by thinking through problems with the part of our brain that is logical and analytical. We often refer to that part of our brain as our left brain. Unfortunately, solving your IBS using left-brain processing, which you may already be trying to do, will not likely lead to healing. Rather, healing the body from IBS is much more a function of leveling over to right-brain processing.
What exactly is right-brain processing? Processing with the right brain is about being with feelings and sensations, rather than trying to do something about those feelings. Right-brain processing asks us to experience what’s happening in our bodies with our senses, our emotions, and our awareness. For many people, this does not feel like a natural way to operate. To exacerbate many people’s discomfort with right-brain processing, our modern culture is much more likely to reinforce a left-brained, analytical approach than a right-brained approach that values slowing down, being fully present in one’s body, and tuning into what arises organically from within–emotions, sensations, images, movement, intuition, and deeper levels of knowing.
This could be a big shift for you. But by developing the capacities and skills of right-brain processing, you will find that you are able to connect more intimately and deeply both with yourself and others. This greater sense of presence is a big step towards healing your body.
IBS and the Mind-Body Connection
So, how the heck is this right-brain processing going to fix your IBS? Well, that’s a great question, and it’s hard to explain in a quick snippet of text (which is why I’ve developed an entire series to dig deep into these questions!). The quick answer, though, is that everything is connected. Your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, needs, urges, wishes, reactions, impulses, and behavior are all interconnected. All of these things happen within your mind and body which are one. Mind and body operate together as part of a whole person, you.
From that perspective, healing from IBS is about getting more connected with yourself and your body so that you can discover what your body needs in order to heal. This means using right-brain processing to listen in on parts of yourself that may have been ignored or silenced, or parts of yourself that haven’t had the time or space to let you know what’s going on with them. This kind of listening and awareness can create powerful change, change that can help you learn how to heal your body.
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Watch this week’s video just below.
Don’t hate your guts. Instead, discover how to heal your body.