Your body reacts to everyday stress in the same way it reacts to the stress of being chased by a bear.
What is even more important is if you are plagued by constant stress your body will start to show the wear and tear of being on alert too much of the time.
Here are some signs that your digestion is being affected by stress:
· Bloating: When you are under stress you are more likely to swallow air, which can cause bloating.
· Flare-ups with Inflammatory Bowel Disease or Irritable Bowel Syndrome – Studies suggest that stress will make flare-ups more frequent.
· Diarrhea: Stress can trigger diarrhea.
· Ulcers: Stress may not cause ulcers but they sure do aggravate them and can even increase the chance you will develop one.
· Constipation: If you suffer from this condition you know that if you add a little stress to the mix your balanced system goes way out of whack.
· Acid reflux and indigestion: These conditions are aggravated by stress and can lead to more damage in the esophagus.
So, in anticipation of future stress here’s what you can do to protect your digestion:
· Walk it off: This is an aerobic exercise that not only lets you burn off the stress but produces brain chemicals that perk up your mood.
· Let it out: Okay so at the Thanksgiving dinner table you may not want to break down into an sobbing heap but if you feel emotional, the best thing to do is privately let it out. Holding in emotions makes them more intense and creates a situation that affects your body.
· Laugh it off: Hunt for the humor. I like this one the best. I am really good at looking at even the most stressful situation and finding something funny in it. If you struggle with this, watch a comedy, read a funny book or watch your favorite comedian.
· Revamp your to-do list: Having too much to do really creates a lot of stress. Rate the importance of each task and start shuffling the less important to another time.
· Write in a journal or diary: This ties into expressing your emotions. Write it down and get it out. Make sure that you don’t keep re-reading if it makes you anxious.
· Listen to relaxing music: For some of us music can make all the difference in our mood and outlook! Find music that lifts and inspires you and play it loud.
· Breathe: I know when I am under stress, I hold my breath. Not good! Breathe in through your nose for a count of four; hold it for four, breath out through your mouth for a count of four. Do this four times each day or when you feel stress. It really works for me.
· Catch those ZZZ’s: We are better able to handle stress when we are well rested.
· Put down the bottle: Alcohol can really bring out the emotions and not always in a good way. Alcohol also dehydrates us and makes us tired and irritable. Definitely not a de-stressor.
· Eat foods that support you! Avoid sugar and process foods that will cause mood swings, cravings and a lack of energy. Vegetables (mainly leafy greens) and small quantities of fruit with lean, clean protein will keep you operating at your peak, maintaining mental clarity and boosting your immune system.
So go out and enjoy life with friends and family. Pay attention to how you are feeling and follow these 10 suggestions for beating stress and you should feel better soon!
You Deserve to be Healthy and Stress-Free!
Bear Image courtesy of Hal Brindley / FreeDigitalPhotos.net