IBS and stress - 3 ways you can improve your digestion
Do you suffer from IBS and other digestive complaints?
Did you know that your digestive system is another part of the body that can be easily affected by stress?
What can you do about it?
A healthy digestive system is essential for good long term health, through proper nutrient absorption and delivering energy to the cells of the body, among other things (Better Health Channel, 2014).
This article in The Express, UK (Lerche, 2016), describes a survey of 2000 UK adults aged 25 to 65 in which 70% of respondents reported moderate to extreme levels of stress. Survey participants also reported physical complaints from stress, such as headaches, exhaustion, and digestive complaints.
There are many causes and triggers for IBS and other digestive complaints and I don't purport to know all about IBS. However, my quick bout of research indicates that identifying and controlling life stressors can be used in conjunction with other treatment to help reduce the symptoms of IBS.
The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) states that a person with IBS [and, presumably, others with digestive issues] should identify the stressors in their life that are associated with IBS and work on addressing and reducing those issues (IFFGD, 2016).
A few things you can do that may help:
1. Focus on relieving emotional stress in your life - take up exercise, drop an activity if you're over-doing it, work on relationship issues - you be the judge on what you need to do to relieve emotional stress.
2. Take some time before your meal to sit calmly and focus on breathing - eliciting the relaxation response before you eat will help move your body out of flight-or-flight mode into the rest-digest mode you need.
3. Eat slowly and mindfully - slow it down! Take your time to chew the food and savour the taste. Allot sufficient time to eat and don't just squeeze it in between 'important tasks'. Give your eating and digestion the priority it deserves. After all, this is how you fuel your body and give it the energy it needs to get you through the day!
If you are seeing that stress is overtaking important parts of your life, like your eating habits, routines, or health, it might be time to take things down a notch in a more permanent way - I can work with you to design a coaching program based around your individual needs and challenges. Three months of your time and you'll be hitting stress on the head - you'll be a new, calmer, healthier version of yourself with your life under control.
Send me a message using one of the booking forms online here and I'll be in touch to set up a free 15 minute Discovery call with you to see whether stress management coaching is the right fit for you.
It's your health - it's so worth it.
Better Health Channel, 2016, Digestive System, August 2014, accessed 22 June 2016, <https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/digestive-system>
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders, 2016, Stress and IBS, 15 June 2016, accessed 22 June 2016, <http://www.aboutibs.org/what-is-ibs-sidenav/stress-and-ibs.html>
Lerche, O. 2016, 'Stomach ache? One in THREE Brits say stress gives them bouts of irritable bowel syndrome', UK Express, 21 June, 2016, accessed 22 June 2016, <http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/681846/irritable-bowel-syndrome-stress-bloating-one-in-three-herbal-remedy>