The Gut Brain Connection
What’s the link between IBS and stress? If you have IBS, or any other gut problem, you may have noticed that it always seems worse when you are stressed, or that you seem aggravated / more likely to have a flare following a particularly stressful period. Or maybe your IBS first appeared during a really stressful period of your life. This is so common, we hear it all the time from our customers & it’s also now (finally) well recognised by the scientific & medical community that our gut & brain are intimately connected – just google gut-brain axis, vagus nerve, nervous system and digestion & you will discover endless reading!
Treat Both Together
If something is impacting your gut negatively, your brain & nervous system is also affected & vice versa. This is why some people say they get ‘brain fog’ or feel really tired or irritable when they eat gluten / dairy / sugar / whatever their particular food triggers may be. In small children you can often see huge shifts in behaviour when the gut is ‘out of whack’ vs when it’s happy & healthy. Your microbiome is constantly producing ‘metabolites’ that can affect your brain – so you really cannot seperate the gut & nervous system.
Always keep in mind ‘your food = your mood’, and remember that when it comes to gut treatment – best results are achieved when stress management & mental / emotional work is tackled as a priority along with the diet & supplements. Any results you are getting physically, will be severely limited if there is no nervous system support happening at the same time – stress has a way of undoing much of the benefits of even an amazing diet! And usually, when you are super-stressed – the first thing to go is care factor over your diet! Hello chips & cheesecake! And alcohol / medication…just anything that can give you a temporary high or help numb the yucky stressy feelings!
Tried Every Diet & Supplement? Try Them Again, But With Support.
If you have IBS / gut trouble that seems to not respond to anything you’ve tried in the diet & supplementation area – start working in the mental emotional realm. You can do some really, really valuable but simple things at home yourself without guidance. This list can act as a reminder / help you find ways to spend more time with your nervous system switched to the ‘rest & digest’ mode (rather than fight or flight mode).
- walking / exercising gently in nature
- breathing exercises
- daily gratitude
- life coaching
- holistic counselling
- flower essences
- psychedelic therapy
- self care routines
- prioritising sleep
- minimising stimulants
- relaxing bath in darkness / dim lighting before bed
- massage / acupuncture / body therapy
- art / craft / music / hobbies you enjoy that make time becomes irrelevant, make time for the things that ‘fill your cup’.
- laughing (with friends / funny movies etc)
- avoiding ‘energy suckers’ / people who stress you out & drain you
- spending quality time with loved ones & pets, especially in nature
- holidays / days without lists & schedules
- tidying up your environment, decluttering, making your living, working & sleeping spaces more minimalistic / lowering the entropy of your environment.
- ticking off your to do list & building systems into your life so it becomes easier to manage.
- reach out & make a commitment to devote time & effort to working on & healing relationships that are stressful for you, or to end them as amicably as possible if that is the best viable option.
- moving away from a house / neighbourhood / city / area that feels wrong for you, or making an effort to truly embrace & enjoy where you live if that’s the option you have.
- correcting nutritional deficiencies & removing food intolerances & other environmental triggers (ongoing ‘stress’ can be physical as well).
- give Blend11 a try!
There’s so much more that could go on to this list, but you get the basic idea, there’s a lot we can all do (starting from right now at home today) to help manage our stress levels & therefore support our gut. Just take one small step, & it will lead you to start taking others!
And guess what. It’s not only your gut that is connected to your brain & nervous system – it’s every organ & system in your body, so literally any health concern you have will benefit from this mind-body approach. Try it, you’ll see. From your immune system to your cardiovascular system to your respiratory system to your endocrine system – everything, it’s all you, it’s all connected – your body has no idea there’s any separation, that was our crazy idea!
Some links to help you get started – especially if you’re in lockdown at the moment, it’s the perfect time to work on your mental health / self care / personal growth / stress management strategies. You can go either way – binge eat & binge watch crap & feel increasingly crappy, or you can embrace the seclusion as an awesome opportunity to do things you normally have no time for, that will enhance your life both in stressful times & just in general!
Emily Fletcher – Watch this video of her story if you need some inspo to start getting into meditation. Cannot emphasise enough how valuable this will be if you suffer from anxiety & IBS.
Psychedelic Therapy (yes, it’s a thing, very powerful & safe when assisted by professionals & shows great promise treating depression, PTSD, anxiety & other mental health concerns). Don’t judge, just do your research & find experienced help. Also check out Michael Pollan’s book “How To Change Your Mind”. https://youtu.be/5DrM90dg5t4
PMC6937878 Yoga, Stress & Immunity. Some science to read…
https://www.headspace.com/work/mindful-approach-to-covid-19 Popular App – are you managing a team / could they benefit from some help?
Never have the time to care for a new pet / get them settled into your home? Now could be the perfect window. (Just make sure you can commit to the love, care & time required once lockdown has passed too)!
Kids feel stress too, they may not know what it is – but they still need help to deal with it. Check out our blog on the natural ways to treat teens with anxiety too:
Jour – Journalling app to help you cultivate mindfulness
Drew Ramsay – Recommended resource for helping yourself to better mental health, follow his insta / read books.
Mind Valley – great online learning platform you can start from home today – with many options in areas like health, personal growth, stress management & transformation.
Keep searching yourself…this is just scratching the surface of what’s available to you, if you want to start making a few changes!