According to Dr Michael Gershon:
“there is essentially an independent nervous system in the gut that sends information to, and receives information from, the brain,” explains Dr. Michael D. Gershon, a professor of pathology and cell biology at Columbia University and author of The Second Brain: A Groundbreaking New Understanding of Nervous Disorders of the Stomach and Intestine. This two-way transmission of information occurs via the vagus nerve and is critical for survival. When you eat something that could make you sick or perhaps even kill you, it’s this second brain in the gut that protects you by triggering nausea and making you vomit. But stress and other factors can make this gut-brain communication go awry, triggering symptoms like heartburn or IBS, which serve no useful purpose."
We also know that people with IBS are more sensitive to stress and tension than the general population and that these types of emotions can trigger symptoms.
So what do you do to reduce the stress in your life and calm your gut?
Reduce your "life-load". That term refers to the combination of your work-load and all the everyday things that you need to get done. Over scheduling is a stressor for many of us. Make a list of your "to do's" and prioritize, delegate and out-right eliminate. Very few things are "Do or Die"! Create a reasonable schedule for yourself and stick to it.
Exercise. I know a good walk can go a long way in calming me down. I'm a high energy woman and if left un-released I start to get a tad bit rammy. Go for a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes a day. Take Fido, a friend or the spouse with you. Get moving and release that pent up stress.
Get a good night sleep. When your tired things seem so much more important than when you are rested. Go to bed the same time each night. Keep the room dark and cool. Keep that t.v off. Plug your cell phone in the other room away from your bed. Remember - warm feet - good sleep! Put some socks on you will fall asleep faster.
Stay away from the caffeine, sugar and processed foods. These little brats can make you hyper and jittery. You want to eliminate mood swings, sugar cravings and hyperactivity. Way to stressful.
Find an activity that relaxes you. Join a yoga class, meditate, learn to knit, grab a good book or listen to your favorite music. You should have a stand-by activity that soothes your soul. Feeling stressed - immediately turn to your relaxation place. I like to walk by the water. The ocean calms me!
We can never totally eliminate stress in our lives but we can take simple actions that will reduce it and keep our digestive tract running smooth!