When I am super stressed or anxious one of the first symptoms I experience is digestive issues. It seems to be one of the ways that my body physically manifests the emotional stress of anything from a job interview to an argument to receiving really bad news.
I have had this post in the “to write” list for over a year because I have a feeling that I’m not alone in this. I was getting my hair done last summer and flipping through Real Simple magazine. There was an article about the digestive system that called it your body’s “second brain.” I was nodding my head in agreement the whole time I read it because my stomach definitely feels like a second brain sometimes! I did a little more reading on the digestive system and our emotions and was blown away to learn that over 90% of the serotonin found in our body is produced by the gut? I’m sure most of you, like me, associate serotonin as a happy hormone that regulates mood, sex drive, sleep patterns, etc. but it also plays a huge part in the regulation of intestinal functions. So it totally makes sense that when you get stressed and anxious, things can get a little out of whack.
I wanted to share some of the ways that I manage my “stress and the stomach” issues and got the push I needed to finally write this post when I was recently approved to write a sponsored post for Primadophilus Probiotic Pearls.
Strategies for dealing with stress and the stomach.
1. A Tough Workout
Sometimes the last thing I want to do when I’m in the midst of emotional upheaval and stress is exercise but I usually find that when I do muster up the energy to do it I feel about a million times better. A long run or a high intensity workout not only helps to get my body moving and blood circulating but also gives me a mental break from whatever I’m dealing and allows me to let go.
My yoga practice is one of the things that can put me back together when I feel broken in pieces. There is so much power behind linking breath with movement and the energy it creates in the body. It has the ability to ground me like nothing else can. I know I can go to my mat with the weight of the world and feel it drop off with every inhale and exhale.
3. Opening Up
I’ve talked at length about how I’m pretty bad at opening up, asking for help and talking when I’m struggling but when I do it I feel less alone and more at ease. I don’t think I’ve ever had a friend say no when I’ve asked for a coffee, wine or walk date to talk.
4. Keeping Food Simple
When my digestive system is going crazy due to emotional stress, it feels physically impossible for me to eat and digest food. (I am definitely the opposite of an emotional eater.) I turn to easy to stomach, comforting foods like soup, peanut butter, banana and honey sandwiches and smoothies.
Next on my list for keeping a calm tummy is adding probiotics to my daily routine. My pharmacist keeps encouraging me to add a probiotic because they release live probiotics (which are the “good” bacteria into your intestine to support digestive and immune health. I like these Probiotic Pearls because they do not have to be refrigerated. I am always on the go and don’t have a good track record for keeping up with supplements that require refrigeration because I do better when I keep something in my purse. I have been so lucky that I haven’t experienced problems with digestion outside of the stress issues that I talk about in this post. I want to keep it that way and adding a probiotic seems like a great way to help the longevity and ideal functioning of my digestive system.