If you’ve been having indigestion recently and can’t figure out why, you are certainly not alone. It’s a stressful time of year, and that pressure has interesting ways of manifesting itself.
There’s a lot going on right now. The pandemic is impacting people in countless ways, little of which are good. Toss in the holidays and life in general, and stress levels may be at all-time highs.
Over 60% of people report feeling stressed during the holidays, and that’s without a pandemic.
It might seem strange, but you can feel that stress in your gut and colon. Stress can lead to pain, bloating, and discomfort in the bowels. It can influence motility—how quickly foods travels through you—to contribute to constipation or diarrhea.
Stress may also lead to painful bowel spasms or put you at risk for nutrient deficiencies. By affecting digestion, stress may make it harder to absorb nutrients that your body would otherwise easily utilize. Stress can even contribute to a leaky gut, which can tax your immune system.
Your gut is very closely related to your brain and emotional state. The two react closely to each other, and periods of mental strife can lead to gut troubles that persist regardless of your overall diet. It can make life very frustrating, but also provide some comfort.
It might be reassuring to know that you may not have a physical ailment in your gut or colon. Rather, improving your condition may be accomplished by finding ways to get a better handle on stress.
There are several ways to practice stress management this holiday season and throughout the year. If you’re struggling with stress and a volatile gut, here are some things to try:
- Take 15 minutes. If you can give yourself 15 minutes per day to be alone and clear your head, it may help settle your gut.
- Boost activity: Exercise or aerobic activity can help reduce stress levels.
- Try homeopathy: Some homeopathic remedies may help target specific stress symptoms.
- Tai chi, yoga, qigong, or other meditative activities can help.
- Mindfulness meditation