Are your chronic stress levels derailing your digestive health and causing sub-optimal nutrient absorption? Stress is something we all deal with, but if we don’t manage stress properly, we run the risk of sabotaging our health. From poor digestive function to inflammation, stress can be at the root of it all.
We’re covering the connection between chronic stress and poor digestion, and some tips you can use to manage stress ASAP.
How Stress Affects Digestion & Nutrient Absorption
If you’ve ever experienced “butterflies” when feeling stressed or anxious, then you’ve experienced how stress affects digestion.
Stress is notoriously known for affecting the communication between the gut and the brain. Research shows that the gut and the brain are in constant communication with one another and that stress can interfere with this brain-gut communication, known as the gut-brain axis. This can lead to symptoms such as bloating and digestive discomfort.
Stress has also been found to affect gut bacteria, and imbalanced gut bacteria can negatively affect our physical as well as mental health.
Stress can also affect how quickly or how slowly food moves through the digestive tract, which can result in one of two things—constipation or diarrhea. Ultimately, the effect chronic stress has on our digestion can affect what nutrients we absorb as well.
When there’s chronic stress, there’s often digestive issues, and letting those go on for too long is not a good thing.
The good news? We all have the power to manage our stress, even just a little bit better each day.
We’re sharing seven hacks that help make managing stress that much easier, including some tips that may directly boost the health of your gut.
Manage Stress With These Seven Tips
#1 Meditate For One Minute Per Day
Hold up—just one minute? Yep, we’re challenging you to pause and just take one minute to meditate each day. While we’ve all heard how amazing meditation can be for managing stress, trying to squeeze a ten-minute meditation practice into our day to day can seem impossible.
Instead, just focus on one minute. Not only will this make the act of meditation seem way less daunting, but you’ll actually find the time to do it!
And, once you find time for one minute, you’ll find the time for two. Before you know it, you’ll be squeezing in five minutes of blissful meditation into your day, and learning how to use this tool as a powerful way to manage stress.
#2 Nourish Your Body With One Gut-Boosting Food Per Day
Now that you know that there’s a big connection between chronic stress and poor gut health strive to add just one gut-boosting food into your diet each day. Not only will this help support better gut health, but eating clean is an amazing way to show yourself some love.
Some great gut-boosting foods include:
- Unsweetened coconut milk yogurt
#3 Rate Your Stress
Stop and think about where your stress levels sit today on a scale of 1-10. Have you reached your max, or are your stress levels on the lower side today? Actually stopping and thinking about where your stress levels are at is a great intentional way to think about what you need to bring your stress levels down.
If you’re at a ten, what can you do to bring it down to a seven?
Using this as a tool to manage stress may be what ultimately makes you start to prioritize self-care.
Laughing is truly the best medicine. Research shows that laughing actually helps calm down your body’s stress response, while also lowering heart rate and blood pressure.
So, go out of your way to do something that brings you joy and makes you laugh every single day—it will do you a ton of good.
#5 Use Visualization When Needed
Picture your ultimate vacay when things in your day get cray. Taking yourself on a visual vacation may do more to help you manage stress than you may think. Why? Because as the chaos continues around you, you’ll allow yourself to re-center, even if it’s just for a moment or two.
#6 Slow Down
It’s time for all of us to slow down and smell the roses. We are all stuck in the rat race of day to day life that it’s too easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out.
When you feel your stress levels bubbling at a level ten, slow down and be mindful for just a moment. Breathe as you notice your surroundings. Just take the moment in, no matter where you are.
Practicing this daily is an amazing way to add mindfulness into your day to day life, which is another great way to reign in the stress and help you feel more centered.
#7 Move Daily
We love us a good daily sweat sesh. Not only does it do a body good, but it does the mind good too. Regular exercise has been found to relieve stress, symptoms of depression, and even help boost cognitive function.
Make it a goal to get some movement into your day, even if it’s just for ten minutes. We promise, no one ever regrets a workout!
Take Control of Your Stress to Optimize Your Health
It’s so easy to let stress spiral out of control. From crazy work schedules to a hectic work-life balance, stress really does get the best of us. But, not doing anything to manage stress can really do a number on our digestive health, nutrient absorption, and how we feel on a day to day basis.
Use these hacks to finally take control of your stress levels. Chances are, you’ll find that it doesn’t take much to feel just a little less frazzled.
When we start to become intentional about how we manage our stress, it becomes easier to support health and reach our overall health goals.
Here’s your invitation to make stress management a priority, starting today—your wellbeing is counting on it.