Stress is something we all experience. For humans, stress is actually good in small doses to stimulate our body in a different way. Unfortunately, many of us face chronic stress leaving us in a fight-or-flight response. The influence of stress not only effects us mentally, but effects our gut!
Something that I have noticed is we are all expected to being on the ball all. the. time. How unrealistic is that? Research is finding that we can only be productive for 4-hours at a time and yet we are expected to work 8+ hours per day consistently. This can also be reflected for those in college as we are supposed to have a full course load, have a job, a social life, be healthy, and pretty much have our sh*t together.
We are all exposed to these standards that no one can achieve. However, most of these standards are ones we create in our heads.
How does all this reflect in our gut health?
Our gut is our second brain and houses a huge chunk of our immune system (I’m talking 80%). This can explain why when our gut is off everything is off. What effects our gut effects our brain and vice versa. Some of the symptoms you can experience is:
- Brain fog
- Stomach upset
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea
- Poor memory
- Bloating and/or gas
This is just a list of the common ones, but I am sure there are a couple that stick out to you. Unfortunately, when it comes to the gut and healing, you must look at all aspects of your life. If you nutrition is on point and you do daily exercise (no chronic cardio here!), but you still feel off? It is time to look at your stress!
As I am on my healing journey (you can check out part 1 here and part 2 here) a major trigger for me was my stress. Ever since high school, I put so much pressure on myself to get all As. I am talking I would have a complete mental down if I got B+. Once I got into college, I began to see that stress was causing negative symptoms for me, but also a grade doesn’t dictate who I am.
If that sounds like you whether it is trying to get acceptance at your job or be the “perfect” mother take a hard look at yourself. I am doing this because I want to and it’ll make me happy or am I doing because that is what is “expected” of me? I recommend writing this out in a journal or talking to someone you trust as you may surprise yourself on what you say!
Before this gets too long, I do want to give you some tips you can start doing now!
- Meditating for at least 5-10 minutes per day (I can already see you rolling your eyes at this one, but trust me it works and I recommend Insight Timer app as it’s the best)!
- Use lavender essential oil as a natural stress reducer and also a great non-toxic perfume! I recommend doterra as they are certified therapeutic grade essential oils, which makes them completely safe for topical use!
- Get outside as much as possible and it can be as simple as eating lunch outside to take short walks throughout the day!
- Focus on deep belly breathing as many of us do the quick short breaths that we feel in our chest. Breathing into our belly puts us in a parasympathetic state aka rest and digest!
- Take deep breathes BEFORE eating so the body know it is safe to eat and sends blood to your digestive system (eating stress is the worst and is often the trigger for gas and bloating afterwards).
- Take an Epsom salt bath, diffuse Serenity from doterra, read a book, drink some chamomile tea, or do anything that will have you sleep liking a baby!
The major takeaway is don’t ignore your stress levels! If you feel yourself tensing up, holding your breathe, your brain going a mile a minute take a moment to slow down. Breathe in for a count of 7 and out for a count of 8 as we all will experience stress, but no one should face chronic stress.
Please share this with anyone struggling with stress and/or their gut health as small changes can lead to big results! Thank you so so much for reading!