The Million-Dollar Question: ‘What is Stress?’

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The million-dollar question, for a chronic digestive disorder diagnosis with underlying stress, seems so obvious to me… what is stress?

Every client that I work with knows or has been told that stress is the underlying problem, but they do not know how to change the stress in their life at the root cause.

“I try to meditate, it helps a bit. I do yoga, I focus on my breathing. I try to get enough sleep. I am doing everything that I can think of, but I still have symptoms.”

This is the general story that I hear when I work with people with chronic digestive disorders.

Doctors diagnose chronic conditions, then they offer a pill (because this is what they are trained and legally permitted to do).

Doctors don’t tell you how to heal now how to live your life symptom-free.

If you look online at your chronic disease you will find that lifestyle changes and reducing stress ‘may help symptoms’.

Who teaches how to make lifestyle changes and how to reduce stress?

The doctors certainly don’t, and often not because they do not want to help you, but rather because they are not trained in this way.

I know this for a fact, I have picked every doctor\’s brain and it is always the same: they are not trained for this.

What is stress?

Stress is unprocessed emotion.

Stress is the result of avoiding, ignoring, or suppressing emotions.

There is a chronic skill gap when it comes to emotions.

The answer is learning how to process and allow emotions.

What is an emotion?

An emotion is a physical vibration.

An emotion itself cannot harm you, even the worst emotion imaginable can only make you feel extremely uncomfortable.

The harm that happens is in your resistance and avoidance to the emotion; resulting in accumulated and suppressed energies in your physical body.

In chronic digestive disorders, stress shows up in the digestive system.

= Stress is unprocessed emotion.

Emotional eating, comfort eating, over-eating and treating yourself, are all culturally acceptable and even encouraged ways to deal with emotions.

The first layer is learning and practicing how to allow an emotion.

Learning how to Allow an Emotion

The easiest way to begin is to observe it as a physical vibration.

When you have an emotion come up then spend your time and attention in being with it, allowing it and welcoming it.

Refrain from going into your mind about the emotion and thinking a lot of thoughts about the emotion (this will create more emotion).

Simply be with the physical experience of the emotion. Describe the sensation with curiosity and wonder.

Crying can be a form of avoiding the emotion because it is a reaction to the emotion. It is a sign that you think you cannot handle the feeling so instead, you are reacting to the emotion.

The idea is to begin the process of allowing the unprocessed emotions to process through your body.

Of course, you can imagine that as we bring awareness to these spots you may feel a little worse before you feel better.


Begin a journal for your emotions.

Let’s start tracking what are your negative emotions that are arising. Start writing down how they feel as a physical vibration, almost objectively.

Let’s begin the process of learning the skill: how to process emotions by opening towards them, instead of turning away.

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