Mind-body connection – could this help to reduce endometriosis symptoms?

Good health begins as a thought

Achieving long-term health and energy is a balancing act. Quite simply, what you put into your mind may have as much of an impact as the food and supplements you feed your body.

Many studies have been conducted on the mind-body connection. What we know for sure is that a positive attitude works – when we remember to nurture it.

Wholesome food, avoiding sugar and toxins are obvious tools to manage endometriosis but how should you deal with the consequences of negative thinking and stress?

Experts rate exercise, sufficient sleep, controlling negative thoughts and building a strong social support as some of the best ways to decrease stress and boost immunity – so paying attention to your feelings and needs is as vital as drinking enough water and avoiding junk food.

Winning ways to promote good mind-body health for endometriosis are:

1. Exercise

The release of endorphins during exercise promotes a sense of wellbeing, which has the added benefit of boosting your immune system and reducing our awareness of pain. Remember that Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition which affects our immune system directly. 

During exercise, the lymphatic system – a network of tissues and organs that helps your body to eliminate toxins and waste – is mobilised. Its main role is to transport lymph fluid, which contains white blood cells. Unlike the blood, which is transported by the heart, lymph fluid only moves if you do.

Exercise such as yoga or pilates focus on the full range of motion of muscles of the abdomen, hips and pelvis. This helps relax these muscles reducing the pelvic floor overactivity in endometriosis.

Walking, running or any other muscle-moving activity also dramatically reduces stress by ‘working off steam’ when you are upset or angry. With the release of endorphins, your body receives a natural mood boost, resulting in reduced stress levels, which in turn puts less pressure on your immune system. 

Remember to make sure you do not focus on only high intensity exercises while you are struggling with endometriosis. Exercise can be challenging but it should always be followed by stretching, yoga sessions or good rest to counterbalance it and not overwhelm your nervous system causing you more pain in the long term.

I usually go for pilates and running during my follicular and ovulation phase (between 1st and 16th day in my menstrual cycle) and restorative yoga and lots of walks in my luteal phase (between 16th and 29th day in my menstrual cycle). This way I know I am not overwhelming my body with exercise and additional stress.

I have created a playlist on YouTube with gentle restorative yoga sessions if you need some inspiration for more gentle exercise especially when you are coming up to your period.

Remember that any exercise is good. The most important thing is for you to enjoy it.

2. Get Enough Sleep

According to an American Psychological Association study, stress is what keeps more than 40% of adults awake at night. To aim for the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep per night, avoid caffeine, digital screens and try to turn in at the same time each evening.

More tips to get a better sleep:

  • Go to bed before 10.30 pm.
  • Make sure you sleep in a dark and cool room. Use blackout curtains if possible or use an eye mask.
  • Replace Netflix and Instagram scrolling with a bath or a good book instead. Blue lights emitted from TV’s or your phone can affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Replace a glass of wine to a calming tea instead like Chamomile. Alcohol is actually a stimulant even though it feels like it helps you get to sleep easier. It affects your sleep and does not allow you to get a deep restorative sleep needed for your body to recover.

If you sleep better there is a higher chance for you to reduce negative outcomes related to the inflammatory and pain related symptoms in endometriosis. Good quality sleep also helps with energy levels, better mood and reduces insulin resistance which may contribute to some unwanted hormonal imbalances.

3. Focus On Self-Care

Make an effort to do something nice for yourself every day. Neglecting your own needs adds unnecessary stress to the system, resulting in increased vulnerability to illness and pain.

Women, in particular, tend to put their own needs last, especially if they’re caring for children and/or elderly parents.  If you battle with guilt when you take an hour off to read, go for a manicure or have a coffee with a friend, remind yourself that if your bucket is empty, you’ll have nothing left to give anyone else. Simple, but effective.

4. Mindfulness

A University of Wisconsin study showed that people who practice mindfulness – a type of meditation or mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, while accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations – noted 13 fewer illnesses and took 51 fewer sick days. Researchers concluded that this reduced the physical effects of stress, which is known to worsen endometriosis flare ups like pain. 

I also found meditation helpful in accepting that I have endometriosis. Meditation is a great tool in managing stress and processing our negative emotions, including anger which is so necessary for our healing. I really recommend reading a book by Gabor Mate titled “When The Body Says No” which focuses on mind-body link in different diseases and how inner work and recognising emotions can help us on a journey to healing.

5. It Takes A Village

Building strong social connections has proven psychological and physiological benefits. Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, having a ‘support group’ – no matter how big or small – boosts immunity by creating ‘stress buffers’.

Being able to share stress or concerns with close family or friends provides an opportunity for outside support and advice, which alleviates a sense of being alone in your situation.

There are also plenty of Facebook groups dedicated solely to endometriosis which might be helpful in connecting with women who go through similar struggles like you. I also found Instagram helpful where there are plenty of women sharing their experiences. Finding your tribe is needed to create a support network you deserve.

“When we get too caught up in the busyness of the world, we lose connection with one another – and ourselves.” – Jack Kornfield, American author and Buddhist mindfulness pioneer.


If there is anything that has come up for you as a result of reading this post, I warmly invite you to book in for a free 30-minute discovery call to see if a personalised nutrition and lifestyle plan might help. 

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