Everyday stress from work and home life is bad enough. But now you have to deal with digestive stress too??
Emotional stress can make a mess of the digestive system. Have you ever noticed “butterflies in your stomach” before going to a big event such as an interview or a first date? A person’s state of mind and the condition of their gastrointestinal tract go hand in hand. But fear not; there are ways to minimize stress and mitigate those tummy troubles.
The first step is to understand how stress affects your body. It all starts in your brain and how it responds to certain situations. Your brain releases the same signals when you are stressed about something such as losing your job as it does when you are in physical danger. These signals interfere with the normal gastrointestinal process, which can in turn can cause stomach pain.
So, what can you do to overcome the mixed signals your body is getting from your brain?
- Exercise: Go outside in the fresh air and do a stress-reducing activity such as yoga or meditation. Exercise is great for the mind and body.
- Eat healthy: A well-balanced diet including plenty of FIBER can give your body the energy it needs to cope with stressful times.
- Talk it out: Expressing what is stressing you out by talking it through with a family member or friend is very therapeutic and can help ease physical tension as well.
- Get plenty of sleep: Events seem to intensify when you are tired. Getting your beauty rest will help you deal with stressful situations in stride.
- Abstain from drugs and alcohol: Although they may seem to relieve stress, these habits actually just mask digestive symptoms.
These are all good tools to use when trying to de-stress and thereby keep your digestive health on track. It’s important to take breaks from our busy lives so we can better handle or even avoid psychologically stressful situations that could result in digestive stress.