What is stress and where does it come from?
To be clear, let’s take a look at what stress is and how may it be showing up in your life. Simply put, stress is a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. It can come from a near-miss with a reckless driver on the freeway, an angry boss who is never satisfied with your work, or a friend who thinks it’s his or her job to constantly point out your shortcomings.
If these examples are regular occurrences in your life, you may be dealing with more stress than you realize. Stress can become so normalized that its no longer seen as out of place. And while a certain amount of stress is normal, the danger is in becoming numb to it. Over time, even minor stressors can build and have a significant negative impact on your health.
How does stress affect your digestive system?
Now that we’re clear on the sources of stress, let’s look at its effect on your digestive system. Common recognizable symptoms include the following:
- Spasms in your esophagus
- Indigestion due to increased stomach acid
- Nausea, queasiness, and general abdominal uneasiness
- Diarrhea or constipation from a hyperactive or stalled colon
- Gas and bloating, belching and flatulence
What this means is that stress and consistent pressure make digestion more difficult. It decreases the ability to properly break down food, lowers nutritional absorption, and disrupts the elimination process. When stressed we tend to crave comfort foods that offer little nutritional value but are high in fat, grease, butter, and sugar. Comfort foods are challenging to digest under the best circumstances. Under stress, the challenge grows exponentially.
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to your digestive tract
What can you do?
If you’re already experiencing symptoms, consult your physician to ensure that your immediate health is not in danger. Once you're cleared by your doctor, here are a few steps you can take to manage stress and stress related symptoms in your life.
- Get some exercise. Physical activity increases circulation and oxygen flow, naturally releasing endorphins which make us feel good. Try brisk walks, tai chi or yoga, swimming, cycling, kick-boxing or hiking nature trails.
- Eat healthier. Cravings for sugar and comfort foods may be stronger during times of stress, so it’s especially important to eat organic, minimally-processed, nutrient-dense foods instead. Occasional treats are fine, just don’t overdo it.
- Take time to relax. Deep breathing, meditation, positive visualization, prayer, and even laughter are very effective at reducing stress. Learning to slow down and turn off electronics are very important in today’s media age.
- Bathe regularly. Soaking in a warm tub of water can be quite theraputic. Add a cup of sea salt and you have a mineral bath rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, iodine, zinc and other elements vital to overall health.
- Cleanse your colon. For an internal bath, colon hydrotherapy provides a stress-relieving soak for your colon. An infusion of life-affirming minerals or probiotics will enhance your session and multiply long-term benefits.
- Edit your life. At times, we must go through the closet and donate items no longer in use. The same is true for everything else in our lives. As we grow and expand, we may outgrow relationships, jobs, habits, and thought patterns. Not all friendships are meant to last a lifetime; some are just for a season. Letting go of pumps and people that no longer fit is necessary in order to free up space and allow in those who support you now and can contribute to your future highest good.