Have you ever been scared, worried, or looking back on something in the past and started to feel queasy or worse, have to head for the bathroom? It’s amazing how our bodies can be triggered by our thoughts isn’t it? Research shows that four out of ten people suffer from some sort of gastrointestinal issues including everything from lactose intolerance, to IBS. Anxiety and digestive issues are commonly linked. If a person has stress and digestive issues, they will often suffer from anxiety.
Your Anxiety and Digestive Issues May be Caused by What You’re Eating
Everyone experiences digestive issues from time to time. Eating the wrong thing can cause momentary distress and for some, allergies can cause chronic illnesses that must be managed for a lifetime. Some of the common digestive disorders include
Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD
Over 73,000 people seek attention from their physician every year to manage these and other digestive issues. For many, changing their diet can reduce or eliminate the symptoms or presence of certain diseases, but what happens when diet changes don’t help? Often times unfortunately stress and digestive issues are often interrelated as people who experience stress either eat unhealthy things or they stop eating which can slow their metabolism.
Your Stress and Digestive Issues May NOT be Caused by What You’re Eating
People who have suffered, or are living with trauma, often experience the same digestive issues, but their diet isn’t the culprit. That’s because some physical issues aren’t the result of a medical condition. They may be caused by tension in the body. Most often, the gut.
Our gut and our brain are connected. The gut includes the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines. When we are nervous, upset, or experiencing stress, our digestive system is often triggered by the brain and begins to experience dis-ease. This can be as mild as feeling sick to our stomach or as intense as cramping. Over time, it can also lead to a host of digestive illnesses. When a person has anxiety and digestive system we often have to deconstruct the stress as well as previous traumas that the person may have experienced. As these can be clues as to how a person copes with trauma as well as stress.
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You Can Help Tame Your Stress and Digestive Issues By Using these Tips
If you have no medical reason for digestive issues it may mean your body is reacting to stress and trauma. The good news is there are many things you can do within your control that tame your digestive system. Try these out-
Use Your Breath: Breathing is a powerful way to regulate your mind and body. You can help relax your mind and nervous system and allow your body to settle through deep breathing. You can accomplish this by taking a walk, lying down and meditating, or closing your eyes for a few minutes which can help with stress and digestive issues.
Change the Scenery: One of the easiest ways to disrupt nervousness is to change the scenery. If you are inside, get outside. If you are in the car, stop and take a brisk walk. Breaking up the scenery can help distract the mind and the body’s reaction to traumatic thoughts. This can allow for the mind and the body to rest.
Choose Foods Wisely: Even if there is no medical explanation for your stress and digestive issues, what you eat still matters. Choosing healthy foods that promote gut health is an extra layer of protection against pain and upset. Eat a fiber rich diet with plenty of hydrating fruits and vegetables for a stable gut.
Anxiety and digestion issues are incredibly common and it’s possible you are suffering because of what you eat, or it could be what’s eating you. Recognizing the role trauma plays in our bodies can help reduce many digestive issues you may have thought were medical. If you would like to determine the root causes of trauma please reach out to our practice.