Your Mind, Body & Spirit - The Most Important Team You Will Ever Be On

What is the relationship between and among mind, body, spirit, food, inflammation and anxiety? This article will attempt to address that question, beginning with anxiety, what contributes to it and what may dissolve it. If you have “anxiety” it is likely not in your head; that is, while it does involve your brain, it may have origins in your gut. The good news: It is 100% curable. But first, let’s deal with the role played by your mind – because that is very real. We will focus here on mixed messages we give ourselves as well as those offered by something as seemingly innocuous as television commercials. Specifically, if you have “anxiety” about the content and delivery of commercials or other messages, you are among the thinking people who suffer with “logical anxiety.”

What Is Logical Anxiety?

In the context of this article, logical anxiety is what we experience when bombarded by information that is disconnected from itself, both internally as well as externally. An example of an internal disconnection would be when one states, “I have a goal,” then fails to meet it. The internal frustration felt may spin out of control resulting in anxiety rooted in logic. That is, breaking a promise to oneself shakes self-trust. How, then, can one whose self-trust has been shaken logically depend on the “self” to take care of personal health and wellness? Until self-trust is rebuilt, one has anxiety about that issue.

Any “disconnect” offered by the external environment takes a toll as well – particularly when it involves health information. For example, consider commercials about “cures” for illnesses that advertise medications – overloading listeners with lists of all the dangers of the pharmaceuticals while showing pictures of people smiling, laughing, flying kites and sitting at picnic tables. Conventional medicine tells you to “follow orders” while advertisements tell you to “inform your doctor” and “don’t take this if . . .” all of which is compounded by conventional medicine’s change in position on treatments, pills, foods and liquids every two to five years.

Ever notice that five years after a new medication or surgical procedure “comes out” there are attorneys advertising lawsuits, beginning with: “If you’ve been injured by . . . “ and concluding with “Call us at . . .” And yet, the exponential growth in the number of people diagnosed with mental health issues (including depression and anxiety) over the past two decades is attributed to more than just logical anxiety (over which the control we have involves sharpening coping mechanisms and may include a mental health provider on our team). In fact, stress hormones related to that type of anxiety do indeed cause inflammation – which is the underlying cause of anxiety. Research shows that meditation, tapping into intellect, and embracing other relaxation techniques can dissolve those hormones and calm inflammation from logical anxiety. But what else can we do?

Can You Eat Your Way Back to Balance of Mind, Body and Spirit?

Yes. You may begin by tapping into a prediction you already have about your body regarding a cup of coffee to help get you going in the morning or over the mid-day slump. Did you know that this recognition can be used by you to help your body heal? It can. If you’ve you ever eaten a small bowl of spaghetti and discovered that 20 minutes later you felt either very tired or angry, or agitated, happy, relaxed, or depressed – you’re well on your way to healing. That is because this type of “reaction” (any of the signals listed) indicates a sensitivity to the food that triggered the reaction – and you made the connection.

Your digestive system and brain are connected by a high-speed network used as their private communication system every single second over the course of your lifetime. What do they talk about? What interferes with their transmission? What helps them relay messages? Answering these important questions is the key to your health, wellness, and longevity.

They talk about how to keep you functioning optimally. They team up to keep you mentally sharp, as well as physically safe and comfortable. They also have a mission: to help you feel joyful. What interferes with their communication? Inflammation. There are certain foods that trigger inflammation. If you have joint pain, an auto-immune diagnosis, brain fog, sinusitis, or environmental allergies, there are things you can do to reduce (sometimes eliminate) symptoms. The first step is to cut out sugar, flour, grains and dairy. Then speak with your functional medicine provider to guide you as to what else your body might need. What helps relay messages? Adding foods and supplements that reduce inflammation, such as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including wild caught salmon, dark leafy greens, almonds and walnuts. Remember to speak with your healthcare provider because, though the human body can be generalized in some respects, your body is unique.

As frightening as it may be to “take control” of our own wellness, we need to recognize that, while genetic makeup provides notes, lifestyle choices and environment arrange the music. This empowers us to choose our own destiny. Again: You are unique. Your chemistry is specific to you. A team approach that includes a wide range of thinking professionals is valuable and important. You deserve nothing less. If you are frustrated with the conventional “name it, blame it, and tame it” approach that pushes pills, then more pills to deal with the unwelcome “side effects” on your mind and/or body, there is another approach: “SOC-it” which focuses on “symptom, origin, and correction.” This term, coined by Daniel Cohen, Ph.D., is a functional approach to systems-based medicine. Instead of the conventional focus on masking “what,” you and your functional medicine provider can begin asking “why?” Once the question is answered, you can regain the balance and joy that your mind, body and spirit crave by appropriately addressing the issue at the source.

Dr. Nancy Iankowitz is a board certified family nurse practitioner and Director of Holistic and Integrative Healing LLC. She is also host of “Marcy’s World”on Pawling Public Radio. Email your questions to: For more information, call (917) 716-6802, or visit online.