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How Emotions Affect Your Diastasis Recti

According to Tom Meyers of Anatomy Trains, fibroblasts make new fibers when they are stimulated by mechanics and chemistry. But how do we facilitate new fibers in the linea alba which is the bit of fascia in our abs that must thicken and regain tension to pull our diastasis recti narrow again? And how might our emotional state affect that process?

How do your emotions play a role in your diastasis recti healing faster or slower? -fit2b.com
Emotions read like chemical messengers in the body, and those chemicals affect many other processes. Think about how you “feel sick to your stomach” when you see something that disgusts you. Think of how the hair on your arms stand up in little bumps when something excites or thrills or chills you. Click the image to read my article on “How Chemistry Affects Your Diastasis Recti”

This blog about how your feelings and moods can have a huge affect on the speed of your healing from various injuries and issues – not just DRA – is actually the third installment in a 4-part series I’ve been writing and praying will offer hope to those who are trying to fix their diastasis rectus abdominus (DRA) while dealing with factors beyond fitness and rehab.

  • In the series intro, I talked about how managing our mechanics and chemistry takes time and consistency and we’ve got to have enough grace to give our bodies both of those.
  • In part one, I talked about how there’s hope in the realization that not every gap is a diastasis.
  • In part two, I talked about our general chemistry. How we eat, our hormone balance, what we put on our bodies, all of that has an impact – for good or bad – on a healing core.
  • Today I want to talk about our emotions and how they affect a DRA

 

Here at Fit2B we provide home-fitness exercise routines which specialize in the prevention and minimization of DRA and other core and pelvic floor issues, but how you move is just one piece of the puzzle.

So what’s the emotional connection to the core?

Many of us are very emotional about our bellies, and it’s no wonder! Science is now revealing how our guts act like a second brain. There is literally a “mass of neural tissue” in your midsection where major chemistry happens as food is digested, babies are made and carried, and blood makes its first big stop fresh from your heart’s inferior venae cavae!

At a more conscious level than all that, though, we understand that our feelings affect many things relative to our cores:

  • How we approach exercise
  • How much energy we have
  • How we align our bodies
  • Our desire to be consistent with any given program

 

Impatience with our progress, anger at our abdominals, and situations that are sad and/or stressful can all hinder the amount of time and consistency we give to our healing journey. Please allow me to go into more depth…

Negative Self-Talk

Because feelings are chemicals that rush over and through and around our muscles and fascia every second of every day, I firmly believe that we get in the way of our own healing when we are sending our body parts hate messages and whispering ugly things to ourselves in mirrors.

Just look at my dog here… The same morning I’m hitting publish on this blog, I’m also putting a cone of shame on him. Notice his body language: sad, shamed, hunched, tucked tail, discouraged, toes turned in…

Your emotions affects how you hold yourself up which affects how fast your diastasis recti narrows - fit2b.com
My puppy needed to have a cone for a few days, and this is what he did when I first put it on him. His whole body is radiating his emotions! Click the picture to go to an article about how your alignment affects your abdominals!

I have witnessed client after client hitting a wall, being stuck for months at a plateau as they do all they can physically to correct their core, only to watch them finally close their DRA completely after venting some serious anger from trauma, or serious sadness from loss, or just serious frustration with their life in general. Once they deal with that  toxic, hateful environment where they don’t even want to look, feel, connect, touch, engage, or think about their bellies let alone the real emotional issue that needed their attention, then they get better.

Stress

If you are living in a situation where you are constantly stressed, constantly feeling attacked, constantly dealing with tragedy and loss, then you are bathing in cortisol which is a powerfully bonding and protective hormone, but it’s also a “fight or flight” hormone. It keeps us alert and ready to protect, ready for attack.

Being distressed and “on the edge” all the time creates a constant chemical wash within you which – unlike a hot epsom salt bath full of magnesium which wraps you in rebuilding and restoring ions –  basically says to your whole body, “There’s danger. Be on the alert! Break everything down for energy right now because we might be about to die. Those muscles don’t matter! Those bones don’t matter. Chop them up for fuel because we’re just trying to survive here. We’ll rebuild in a year if she comes out of this alive!”

If you’re doing crazy workouts that create daily adrenaline rushes, here are 50 lashes with a wet noodle and a history lesson: The only time that nomads and cave-dwellers sprinted was when they were in danger, chasing down food {which was dangerous} or perhaps competing in fun play-games. Stressing your body with fast-paced workouts every day when you’re also dealing with a compromised core is not healthy and it will grind you down. If you get too worn down, you could be looking chronic overuse injuries and other problems like adrenal fatigue which can take YEARS to overcome.

Heaven forbid, if you really are constantly fighting for real because you’re in an abusive or dangerous situation, please PLEASE please do all that you can to remove yourself {and your children if you have them} from that place. I know it’s easier said than done, but go to your local church or community center and ask to talk to someone in private, and ask for the help and resources that are available to you.

Anxiety & Depression

Feelings of anxiety and depression are also overwhelming chemical messengers in your body which is why they can be treated with pharmaceuticals and/or herbal medicines. Just like we treat diabetes when insulin is out of whack, we can treat depression and anxiety when cortisol and adrenaline and seratonin are out of whack. There is much I could write about this, especially since I was diagnosed with severe anxiety when my second child was a baby. Part of me fears being judged for sharing my story, but I hope what I’m about to say helps even just one woman…

I was completely overwhelmed by motherhood, and I couldn’t go to the store without falling apart, nor I see a sinkfull of dishes without wanting to clobber someone. Even though I was doing yoga, going to several amazing support groups like a Bible Study and Moms Group, being loved by a wonderfully helpful husband, praying every day, attending and serving at my local church, meditating, taking the St. John’s wort and Vitamin D, and doing ALL THE RIGHT THINGS…sigh…this is really hard to write out loud… I was still feeling like starting up the car in a closed garage.

My chemicals were a mess, and I knew it, so I talked to my OBGYN, and he put me on Zoloft, and I also got some counseling from someone outside my circles. That little pill and that counselor were both the answers to my prayers, and I’m not sure I’d be here without them. Neither would you because Fit2B was dreamed up right as I was weaning off that medication. We began filming these workouts the following year.

Please, get the help you need. Nourish your body. Reach out. Talk to someone. Ask your doctor about which supplements or medicines you might need. Get into a group where you can be real and raw and grow stronger together.

Okay, wait… that last paragraph takes a lot of courage to accomplish when you are truly depressed or severely anxious. It took all my energy to eat on some days, and finding the courage to tell my doctor what I was experiencing? Ha! Just getting into his schedule took a couple weeks, and voicing it to him left me a shaking mess. But I trusted him. He delivered both of my babies naturally with me, and he honored my birth plan. I knew he would honor me again and not just commit me to the looney bin.

While you figure out where to turn and who to talk to {and who to trust} please do one thing for yourself: Start removing things that make your emotional state worse. The big things might be spinning out of control, but you can snatch up the little things and take some power back by tossing them. If you’ve got anything in your life that is filling your mind with thoughts of self-hate, self-destruction, self-abuse THEN YOU NEED TO BANISH THAT YESTERDAY!!

  • What messages are you allowing into your mind?
  • What friends have you chosen, and do they build you up or tear you down?
  • What does your music say about your body, and what does it speak to your soul?
  • What is cluttering your facebook feed these days: positive messages of hope and faith, or depressing drivel that drives you to feel worse?
  • What shows are you watching, and how do they leave you feeling?

 

You have to decide you want to get better, but you also have to acknowledge where you’re at. You have to be ready to ask for help and seek answers. You have to commit to shifting your perspective and lifestyle – your mechanics and chemistry – so that you’re doing your best {whatever that looks like right now in this moment} to foster your own fascial regeneration… recognizing that your emotional healing needs to start happening first. And it will keep happening as your core healing continues.

If you want to effect the biomechanical and chemical changes necessary to narrow your gap, you have to start believing you are worth walking taller, worth nourishing yourself with delicious and nutritious foods, worth getting enough rest, worth exploring your world with gentle movements that leave you feeling restored instead of ruined, and loved enough to be forgiven and set free thanks to Amazing Grace – not just for one day, but for the long haul. Then your fascia will follow suit.

Form follows function. Focus on functioning well, and your form will follow.

Here at Fit2B, we’ve got our members covered when it comes to the gentle movements that turn into bigger movements that turn into lifelong endurance, stamina and strength. On our blog, I’ve written so much to help you learn about your body, and then there are my ecourses which you can take from the privacy of your own home. Learn more about membership access to our workouts here today.

 

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