by Megan Caper | Happiness, healing, health, wellness
If you’re someone who struggles with depression, anxiety or mood swings, I’ve got some news for you.
Your struggles aren’t all in your head, in fact they’re most likely in your gut.
Recent research shows that 95% of our serotonin (the happy mood regulating chemical) is made by bacteria in our digestive system. Surprisingly, our gut microbiome is responsible for much of our mood cognition and mental health.
It turns out that the state of our intestines and the health of the critters that live in them (our bacterial and fungal microbiome) can affect everything from hormone regulation to our immune system and most notably, our mood and cognition. Research shows that fluctuations in our microbiome cause changes in all of these systems and severe fluctuations can even cause disease in the long term.
There have been multiple studies that show that chronic depression and anxiety are linked to what’s called “gut dysbiosis” or an imbalance in the type, number, and location of various microbiome species. When researchers provided treatment that balanced the microbiome, levels of anxiety and depression decreased.
What does this mean for you? If you’re someone that tends towards anxiety or depression, the cause may not be all in your head. Of course, our past experiences and daily lives can affect our mental health, but it appears that even those experiences and trauma reactions affect our gut microbiome as well. Our head brains and gut brains work as one system when it comes to mood and cognition. Changes in our mood or stress level alter the makeup of our microbiome, and those alterations can in turn affect our mood and stress levels. Like much of our physiology, it’s not so much cause and effect but rather homeostasis (or balance) that’s important.
How do I keep my gut critters happy?
Here are 4 ways to keep your microbiome’s critters happy and healthy:
- Eat lots of plants. Our gut critters need to eat, too, and their favorite foods are what are called “prebiotics” found in vegetables, grains, and fruits. Make sure you’re eating a variety of these foods so your microbiome will have plenty to chow down on.
- Eat or drink fermented or cultured foods. There are plenty of foods that contain the healthy bacteria and fungi/yeast we need. Things like sauerkraut, pickles, kimchi, kiefer, yogurt and miso are all good sources of bacteria that our guts love.
- Avoid preservatives, artificial sweeteners and food coloring. All of these have been shown to decimate our microbiome. When possible, avoid these additives in your food. Some common food preservatives to look out for on nutrition labels are: nitrates/nitrites, sulfites, parabens, cellulose, and MSG.
- Meditate regularly. The list of health benefits from meditation keeps growing! There’s a study that recently came out which shows that the gut microbiome of Buddhist monks was healthier than that of neighboring residents in the same town. (I want it noted that the study states that, “All samples were collected and measured by professionals,” meaning that someone had the job title of “monk poop collector” for the duration of this study.)
If you suspect that your mood issues are gut related and you’ve tried all of the above without success, you can always reach out to me. I’m always happy to answer questions, and energy healing is another great way to address microbiome issues. I have many happy clients who have balanced their gut health through our sessions.
by Megan Caper | Childhood trauma, illness
I’ve noticed a pattern over the years in many of my clients with chronic illness, especially those with autoimmune diseases like MS, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and IBS. Most of these clients have strong “appease” or people pleasing nervous system responses in times of stress or conflict.
The appease response is about avoiding or defusing a potentially dangerous situation. When you grow up in a household with a lot of unpredictable anger, you develop the appease response as a way to avoid the anger (an attempt to keep the other person happy at all times) or defuse it (calm the person down before the anger reaches the lashing out stage).
When this becomes integrated into our nervous system, we become appeasers all the time, even when we’re no longer in the dangerous situation. In day-to-day life, this looks like making everyday decisions based on what will make others happy, choosing your words and actions to avoid making other people uncomfortable, or making sure everyone is happy and has what they need before you tend to yourself (if you ever even get to yourself!)
This is especially true for women, because a lot of the “appease” response looks a lot like what’s expected of us culturally: be a selfless mom, loving wife, supportive and agreeable employee. We get treated more favorably by society if we do these things and punished if we don’t. (See Kate Manne’s brilliant Down Girl if you want to know more about how this works.)
When the appease response becomes a constant way of being, we’re constantly focused on the needs of others and lose track of what we need, which creates “messy boundaries.” Boundaries are a form of self-care that helps to create clear guidelines, rules, or limits of how we’d like to be treated. But if you don’t ever focus on yourself, how do you even know how you want to be treated? How do you even know what’s truly important for you to be happy? To feel safe? Or fulfilled?
One thing I knew for sure after helping hundreds of clients is this: our physiology mimics our belief systems. If we have messy boundaries in our minds, then we have messy boundaries in our bodies, as well. When we’re in appease mode, we have a hard time knowing where our needs start and others’ needs end. We’ve convinced ourselves that making other people happy IS what we want, even when that leads to self-abandonment of our own needs in small ways, every day.
How does this relate to an autoimmune condition? Autoimmune conditions are where your body gets confused about what is “self” and “non-self” and your immune system starts attacking your own cells rather than invaders like viruses. It’s basically messy boundaries in our body’s physiology. We don’t know where we end and others start, and our immune system starts to develop self-abandonment on a cellular level, attacking ourselves out of confusion and messy boundaries. I see this time and time again in the clients that I treat – the folks that come in with chronic autoimmune issues are almost always the people pleasers. Once we work on releasing that trauma from their nervous system and releasing or replacing the appease-based belief systems, they are finally able to heal.
If you want to start healing this in your own life today, it’s important to start centering yourself and your own needs. This way you’ll start to learn what healthy boundaries look like for you, and your body will learn the same. Asking yourself, “Who am I and what do I want?” can be the most important question on your road to healing your illness.
by Megan Caper | Happiness
It’s that time of year again, when we all decide that we need new year’s resolutions to overhaul our lives, our exercise plans, or our eating habits. I always had a love/hate relationship with new year’s resolutions until I realized why they rub me the wrong way.
New year’s resolutions are positioned as a way to “fix” or “improve” something that you’re not doing well enough. They are rooted in self-improvement, productivity, and perfectionism ideology.
Let me tell you two things:
- You don’t need improving. You shouldn’t be anywhere other than where you are in your life, and you are perfect at every moment, growing and evolving in the perfect way for your unique soul.
- Guilt, shame and perfectionism has never healed or improved anything.
Let’s look at another way to do new years resolutions that isn’t rooted in shame, guilt or compare and despair. I want you to use the following journaling prompts to find out what will truly make you healthy and happy.
- The type of support, love and emotional nutrients I need are … (this could be emotional, practical, spiritual)
- When I think about the good I want to do in the world, I want to (do, start, make, help)….
- When I think of the moments when I feel cared for, safe, resourced and relaxed, I think of…
Once you’ve identified one or more things from these prompts, I want your resolution to be to manifest more of this in your daily life. Manifestation is one part action and one part magic. If you put yourself in situations where you can find those things you identified (or you ask people around you to help) AND you sit in the feelings of how good these things feel to you, then you’ll find the world softens in a way where these show up in your life more and more.
If you try this method, let me know what you think! And as always, reach out if you have any questions or comments, my virtual door is always open for you.
by Megan Caper | Happiness, healing, health, illness, physical, wellness
One of the most common questions I get from potential clients is “Can you help me with X condition?” and the answer is most often, “Yes, I can!” The medical intuitive healing system that I’ve created works with your body’s own healing systems on all three levels of body, mind and soul. I meet you at the healing edge of what you’re ready to balance, release or heal next on any of those three levels, and we move forward from there.
Over the next few months, I want to share some case studies with you so that you can understand the power of medical intuitive healing. I’ve changed the names and identifying details of these clients for privacy purposes, but the symptoms, treatment and results are all directly from my client notes.
Julia came to me with severe food and environmental allergies. For years, she’d become increasingly unable to eat any foods without breaking out in a rash or having shortness of breath. When we first started working together, she was down to only being able to eat 5 foods. She couldn’t eat out or to a friend’s house for dinner without bringing her own food. She also was suffering from environmental allergies and sensitivities that made it difficult to be in many public places without developing shortness of breath and headaches.
When I asked what she most wanted from our sessions, Julia said that she wanted to be able to go to her daughter’s house and babysit her young granddaughter. In the past, Julia had been her granddaughter’s regular afternoon babysitter, picking her up from daycare and spending the afternoons with her while her daughter and son-in-law were still at work. In the last 12 months or so, Julia’s environmental and food allergies had become so severe that she hadn’t been able to be in her daughter’s house or prepare the foods her granddaughter liked to eat for afternoon snacks.
Julia and I worked together for about 4 months, slowly bringing her digestive and immune systems back into balance and addressing trauma held in her body from both her own experience of childhood emotional neglect and her contentious divorce 10 years earlier. We worked on everything from her gut microbiome to past life karma, and even epigenetic changes that were causing her allergies.
Slowly, she began to eat more foods. Slowly, she began to be able to go to shops and restaurants without allergic reactions to the chemicals in the environment.
By the end of four months she was ecstatic — she could order food off of a menu and eat without fear! And she was able to prepare snacks for her granddaughter without getting a rash.
And best of all, Julia was back to babysitting again several times per week. I could hear the absolute joy in her voice when she told me about the games she and her granddaughter had played together that week. Julia was finally able once again to do the thing she loved the most, those things that brought so much meaning and satisfaction to her life.
I’ve had so many clients like this, who have suffered for years with unexplained allergies or sensitivities, which really can keep you from doing the things that bring you meaning and joy. If this sounds like you or someone you know, don’t give up hope! Energy healing can bring about healing that sounds miraculous, but is really just your body tapping into its own natural desire to be balanced and joyfully whole.
by Megan Caper | energetic body, Happiness, healing, life lessons
A few weeks ago I finally got on the bread baking train. I know, I know — I’m late to the game, most people started in mid-2020 at the height of the pandemic, but I was living in a warm climate at the time and the idea of baking bread just wasn’t that appealing. Now that I’m living in the cool Pacific Northwest of the US, the idea of warm bread out of the oven sounds amazing.
I’ve been a baker for most of my life (My chocolate chip cookies will Change. Your. Life.) but I’d never ventured into breads, until now. I found a beginner bread recipe, gathered the ingredients, and found a dutch oven on the clearance shelf at HomeGoods. I was ready to BAKE.
I filled a bowl with water, measured out the yeast, added the four, plunged my hands into the dough, and started to mix.
And then the magic happened.
One of the weird things about being an empath and an intuitive is that I am finely attuned to life forces. I can sense the life force in people, animals, plants and even bacteria and viruses. Over the years as I’ve practiced this skill, I’ve grown to not only sense it but I can communicate with it as well, sending and receiving information and emotions.
You guys, do you know why you love making bread? Do you know why we all started baking bread during the pandemic and not cookies or casseroles or quiches? It’s the YEAST.
As soon as I started mixing the dough with my hands and gave the yeast some water to drink and carbs to munch on, I could feel it — the life force of the yeast coming back “online” after being in dormant form for so long. I could feel that pure joy, excitement and love that is at the core of all of our life force, bubbling up in my hands as I massaged the dough and gave the yeast life, once again.
I’ve felt this before when I’ve leaned against a big tree, or sat in front of another human being looking deeply into their eyes as we traded Tonglen, or freed the roots of a plant as I repotted it. It’s the feeling of the pure joy of life, the bliss of existence. And it’s healing AF.
During the pandemic, we lost so many opportunities for connection. We spent most of our time indoors, without the opportunities for interaction and interdependence that we normally have. No wonder everyone took to baking bread, that resurgence of the life force of yeast was a way to feel connection in a time of great isolation.
Here’s one thing I know, we’re part of a living system and because of that, we’re wired for connection and care on all three levels: physical, emotional and spiritual. When we are connected to people, animals, plants or any other living thing, we are healthier in mind, body and spirit. Numerous studies show that without connection, our physical and mental health starts to deteriorate very quickly. But the opposite is true as well, when we feel connected, we start to heal. In one study, people who had survived a heart attack and owned a dog were 600% more likely to still be alive one year later than non-dog owners, even when other factors like exercise and nutrition were taken into account.
The experience of connection is healing.
Nurturing, compassion, and care are healing.
Helping the little yeasties come alive again is healing.
As I sat and communed with my ball of flour, yeast and water, I knew one thing. This is what healing feels like. When we break down the walls we’ve put up to protect ourselves from being hurt or ashamed, and can simply feel the life force of another being, what we’re left with is connection and compassion. And that’s at the core of healing — feeling connected, loved, whole and worthy.
My first attempt at baking bread