You are not going crazy !! – Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Anxiety
Are you aware of the role the health of your gut plays in your overall mental wellbeing?
There is a growing body of research looking at the link between the gut and mental health. But it can seem a bit chicken and egg. Which comes first, health gut = healthy mind or healthy mind = healthy gut.
Stress and Anxiety
The role of stress and anxiety and the impact on the delicate balance of bacteria in our gut is still up for debate. If you are living with irritable bowel syndrome (could you have it?) then you know the stress that goes with needing to know where the nearest toilet is every where you go. Needing to know what you are going to eat and when and the thought of going out can leave you filled with dread. This all creates additional stress and a sense of isolation and loneliness that can make your symptoms even worse.
It can be hard to pin point which comes first. We all lead fast paced lives filled with long, multiple and often competing to do lists. There are big demands on our time and energy with work, family and financial pressures. If you do manage to take some time for yourself, there is often a huge amount of guilt that goes with that. This level of stress and anxiety can often lead to the embarrassing tummy troubles you may be suffering. And research is now showing that this level of constant, high stress can upset the bacteria in our gut. Is that because when we are stressed all our bad habits come to the fore. We reach for convenience foods, alcohol or other enablers (even excessive exercise can cause increased stress and gut issues)?
Or does the bacterial imbalance lead to high levels of anxiety?
Wouldn’t it be great if you had a series of healthy habits that carried you through in times of stress – routines you can follow that you don’t have to think about, you just do them? Taking time to just breathe – for 1 minute every hour of your day (apps and smart watches are a great tool to help with this), having a glass of water every hour, hugging your kids and partner each morning and night. Even simple things like Facebook Founder, Mark Zukerberg’s habit of wearing a jeans and t-shirt each day so he doesn’t have to decide what to wear in the morning.
I like to build habits that minimise the amount of decisions I have to make each day so I have more space and energy to make decisions around the things that matter to me.
What are the habits that you wish you had?
Whether you believe the link or not, a healthy, well balanced diet filled with vegetables, fruit, proteins and fats (for more info about what to eat click here) and living with the right level of stress for you, the outcome is clear. When we steer clear of foods from a packet, live a life grateful for what we have, make time for what is important to us, when we feel like we are in the driving seat of our life, we start feeling well, in control, more confident and happier.
If you want to get that good gut feeling each and every day, sign up to our mailing list to receive more hints, tips and tricks on beating the overwhelm and sense of isolation that goes with living with irritable bowel syndrome. So you can get your basics organised, start feeling better, more confident with more energy and happier.