Why I Believe in the Mind-Body Connection (and Probiotics)

I’ll try not to make this too hippy-dippy, but the past few months have made me a really strong believer in the mind-body connection.

My stomach problems came back with a vengeance this summer…just after I got laid off.

I hadn’t changed anything in my diet, and nothing else had seemed to change except for the huge amount of stress that was added to my life being unemployed. I cut out coffee and started training for the marathon, and my stomach started to feel a bit better. The tons of exercising I was doing–since I was being careful to eat the right things–seemed to actually help my stomach and certainly helped my mind because it was really hard to stress out about anything when I was riding a runners’ high and exhausted after a 20-mile run.

But then I stopped training for the marathon and got a new job. I tried the first few days without coffee and felt like I was going to fall asleep at my desk. I decided that the potential stomach upset was worth it if I could be alert.


Starbucks was always the roughest on my stomach, but I jumped back into my coffee habit with my old lover because there is a Starbucks in my office building, and, really, I’m a bit lazy.

Miraculously, it didn’t bother my stomach. I should note that I started with soy lattes because I figured they’d bother my stomach a bit less since there’s less actual coffee/espresso in there. I’ve since downgraded to soy mistos since they’re cheaper and have less calories. I don’t know if I’ll ever go back to my favorite Pike Place, since I think it might have just ripped a hole in my stomach, but I’ve been able to drink Dunkin’ Donuts and other coffee without a problem.

What does this have to do with the mind-body connection? I’m so happy to be working again, and I’m pretty sure that’s making my stomach happier, too. Any stress about getting back on a normal schedule and getting adjusted to work is seriously dwarfed by my relief to not be unemployed any more.


But I also think these probiotics are helping. I’d never taken probiotics before, because I never believed they work. I started taking these right around when I started my job because I knew I’d start drinking coffee again. I think it’s a combination of the reduction in extreme stress and these probiotics that have really helped me. My mom’s friend bought them for me because she read my blog and saw my stomach had been bothering me, but I am definitely going to order these every single month for as long as I need to.

I know that a reduction in stress and a supplement doesn’t work for everyone for every ailment, but I think that reducing–or at least managing–stress can have a tremendous effect on your body.

How has reducing or managing stress helped you physically?

22 comments on “Why I Believe in the Mind-Body Connection (and Probiotics)

  1. Dori

    I absolutely believe in the mind-body connection, especially because the brain has been so tied to the gut in pretty much every study ever. I’ve seen it in action in my own life. Also, probiotics are awesome. When I forget to take them for awhile, I notice a few differences.

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Dori: I thought you might comment on this one 🙂 My mind and my probiotics have done more for my stomach than any gastro or prescription ever did.

  2. Jess

    I started taking probiotics this past summer and now swear by them. I don’t think I had the same issues you were having, but they’ve def made a difference.

  3. Kaelin

    I totally agree with you! I have had serious stomach issues my whole life, especially in high school. No stress there…. Once I was in college I started working out consistently and noticed that seemed to regulate my stomach problems. I rarely have stomach “attacks” anymore where it would happen 2 or 3 times a week when I was younger. It seems exercise is the cure all for me.

    1. Theodora Post author

      Oh man. Having stomach issues in high sounds so incredibly stressful. I’m lucky-ish that mine didn’t start until the very end of college (although not being able to go to any Senior Week stuff cause I was so sick did suck.)

  4. Irina G (Fit Flexitarian)

    I’ve never had probiotics but I 100% believe in the mind/body connection. Stress, in particular, causes a lot of wonky things to happen to our bodies. I’m really glad that you’ve seen a big change in your stomach issues as you’ve gotten less stressed thanks to a new job. It’s SO important. I actually probably have the opposite problem: December has been CRAZY stressful for me. But I’m going home to FL to visit my parents for a week tomorrow night and I cannot WAIT! I know that the week off work will get my body back to its regular not-too-stressed groove.

  5. Allison

    I totes believe in a mind-body connection… And have experienced it through the up’s and down’s [flare-ups and remission cycles] of Lupus. Whenever I start becoming overwhelmed or stressed my immune system goes completely whack!

  6. Christine @ Oatmeal in my bowl

    Oh, stress always wrecks havoc on my stomach or stresses on my lower back or my neck. But have definitely found that working out (which increases the endorphins) and downing a green smoothie totally helps in syncing my health and riding of stomach issues.

  7. Sarah (I Dream of Beets)

    I COMPLETELY agree. I went to a naturopath this fall who found a bunch of undiagnosed allergies. I cleaned out my system of gluten and dairy and was GREAT for a month or so. Then, I became completely stressed out my work situation, and my stomach problems came back with a vengeance. Now, I’ve found that best thing that works for me is having a yogurt for lunch, running a lot, and trying to get enough sleep. I’ve still eliminated gluten; now I’m working on the stress aspect:)

  8. Jen @ Such a Funny Fat

    I definitely agree with the connection between mind and body. After trying to figure out what triggers my Crohn’s flares and one of the most obvious ones is stress. It’s so hard to control it but I have to agree that I think my increase in work outs has definitely helped reduce the stress, at least for awhile, during and after the run/walk. I’ve been very lucky to avoid major Crohn’s flares for awhile … thank goodness!

  9. janet scudieri

    So glad the probiotics are working for you. New Chapter is
    a great brand. If you have trouble getting them in the city,
    let me know and I will give you a number where to order them from. I also use their vitamins because they are made
    from whole foods. I take their ginger tablets also, because
    Ginger will help an upset stomach.


    1. Theodora Post author

      Thanks, Janet! They’ve really helped a ton. I forgot them at home when I came back yesterday and was able to pick up a bottle at the Vitamin Shoppe–they’re really easy to find.

  10. Sana

    I am sure that not having a job made you super anxious! And when ever I am anxious, I can’t eat anything without feeling super sick.
    I am happy that you have a job and can drink coffee!

  11. KymberlyFUnFit

    So much interesting science about the brain, body, and neuroplasticity coming out these days that totally solidifies the mind/ body link. Fascinating stuff for sure. Have you read Spark? All about brain and exercise. Anyway, I am glad you are back on track!

  12. Ari @ Ari's Menu

    I completely agree about the mind body connection! I always notice that people who just seem really unhappy are always getting sick and not feeling well, and when I’m super stressed, even if I don’t get sick, I feel it in my body. I also kind of believe that positivity can make a huge difference in terms of your body feeling better and overcoming illness.


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