How To Calm An Anxious Stomach: The Brain
Ever wonder why you get butterflies in your stomach before doing something stressful? Or why you feel like your stomach is tied in knots after an argument? Ever had a meeting with a toilet that went longer than expected and it wasnt caused by anything you ate? Stomach problems are one of the most common symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Researchers have identified a powerful connection between the gut and the brain. Like the brain, the gut is full of nerves. It contains the largest area of nerves outside the brain with the digestive tract and the brain sharing many of the same nerve connections.
Whether its a single nerve-wracking event or chronic worry and stress over time, stress can exact a physical toll on your digestive system. When you are anxious, some of the hormones and chemicals released by your body enter your digestive tract, where they interfere with digestion. They have a negative effect on your gut flora and decrease antibody production. The resulting chemical imbalance can cause a number of gastrointestinal conditions.
Common stress-related gut symptoms and conditions include:
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- and peptic ulcers
Six Tips for Reducing Stress and Anxiety
How Can We Stop Stressing Out Over The News
When Christopher Hebert, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee, decided he needed to reduce the amount of news he absorbed, he cut it out completely. From the night Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Christopher implemented a news blackout and maintained it for a full year.
At the time he said, Ignorance is far easier than I thought. I finished two or three audiobooks a week. I read novels instead of newspapers. Five months into my blackout, I was happier than I ever was back in the days when I was informed.
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It may sound like a charmed life but ultimately, he wasnt sure that a complete blackout over a sustained period of time was the right answer to the stresses of a life in the know. Some news is useful but when it causes you to feel angry, stressed, low or upset, it can damage your wellbeing. Plus, it is useful to bear in mind that just getting upset doesnt change anything.
Suzy Glaskie took a different approach. Rather than cutting out news media entirely, shes become more mindful about what she consumes. She says, I prefer to read a daily newspaper where I can choose which pages to read and which to gloss over. That way, I sit down to read it once rather than constantly getting news updates on my phone which pull on my attention and stoke anxiety.
Tip : Make Quick Stress Relief A Habit
Its not easy to remember to use your senses in the middle of a minior or not so minocrisis. At first, it will feel easier to just give into pressure and tense up. But with time, calling upon your senses will become second nature. Think of the process like learning to drive or play golf. You dont master the skill in one lesson you have to practice until it becomes second nature. Eventually youll feel like youre forgetting something if you dont tune into your body during challenging times. Heres how to make it habit:
Start small. Instead of testing your quick stress relief tools on a source of major stress, start with a predictable low-level source of stress, like cooking dinner at the end of a long day or sitting down to pay bills.
Identify and target. Think of just one low-level stressor that you know will occur several times a week, such as commuting. Vow to target that stressor with quick stress relief every time. After a few weeks, target a second stressor and so on.
Test-drive sensory input. If you are practicing quick stress relief on your commute to work, bring a scented handkerchief with you one day, try music another day, and try a movement the next day. Keep experimenting until you find a clear winner.
Have fun with the process. If something doesnt work, dont force it. Move on until you find what works best for you. It should be pleasurable and noticeably calming.
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Mindfulness And Mantra Meditation
Mindfulness is an ancient form of meditation that promotes awareness of whats happening in the moment.
It encourages you to focus on your body, your thoughts, and whats going on around you.
Mantra meditation, on the other hand, is the opposite of mindfulness. In this practice, you place all your attention on a single target, like a mantra, a candle flame, or a phrase.
In both types of meditations, whenever your mind wanders — and it will Smith says — you simply re-focus.
It’s a brain skill, he says. In that in the first 2 weeks you won’t be able to do it very well. Your mind will constantly chatter and distract, and that’s normal, that happens.
But as you practice, youll get better at it.
One Thing To Remember
This shouldnt be an excuse. Giving in to it every now and again is healthy. Dont feel guilty for watching Netflix when you should be writing. Just make sure that you are still doing some writing and you have some kind of output. Relaxation will stop you stressing, but it shouldnt stop you from reaching your goals.
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Gamma Ray Optics Blue Light Blocking Glasses
- Price: $
- How it may help with anxiety: Blue light can disrupt our brains natural sleep-wake cycles. Blocking this light contributes to a better nights sleep, which may reduce anxiety.
Weve all heard the news that blue light before bed is one of the most common sleep disruptors. While its a nice idea to power down a few hours before bed and pull out a book instead, thats not always possible.
What is possible is reducing the visual strain caused by regular computer and smartphone use. These Gamma Ray Optics glasses were created to block the blue light that could disrupt your sleep patterns and affect your mental health.
Easy Ways To Relax Your Mind And Body
Accepting that you deserve to unwind is the first step.Lisa Kaplindo‘I can relax whenever and however I choose.’Don’t forget to breathe: Meditation really works.Lodro RinzlerMNDFLbest meditation appsTen Percent HappierEven a short yoga session will relax your body and mind.Keri Gans5 Minute YogaSpend time in nature.Oprah wroteO, the Oprah MagazinestudyJournal of Positive PsychologyUBC NewsEat your way to less stress.Try masturbating.toy recommendationsfor beginnersquietest onesOnce you’ve identified your go-to relaxation techniques, honor yourself by actually doing them.
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Avoid Drugs Alcohol And Stimulants
Stimulants are chemicals that excite your nervous system, making it work faster and harder. Using stimulants can worsen your anxiety symptoms, so cutting these out can help you to manage your anxiety. Some of the most common stimulants are:
- caffeine, which is found in coffee and tea
- nicotine, which is found in tobacco products such as cigarettes, chews and vape pens
- drugs such as cocaine.
Its ideal to avoid alcohol and drugs in general when youre experiencing anxiety. If youre using substances to feel better or to relax, you might become dependent on them and they could make you feel worse in the long run.
High Blood Pressure Can Increase Your Risk Of Diabetes Check Now
Because blood pressure tests are so important, and sometimes uncomfortable, they can be stressful. That is a problem because anxiety and nerves while taking these tests can raise your reading so that it is not an accurate indicator of your true heart health.
This fear of having your blood pressure checked may be caused by another factor, white coat syndrome or white coat hypertension as defined by the Mayo Clinic. This is when people in clinical situations, such as a clinic or doctors office, can experience stress from the surrounding environment. Environmental stress in turn can cause a spike in blood pressure, which can cause falsely inflate readings.
There are ways to relax during a home or even in-office blood pressure test so you can get a good reading.
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Guided Imagery Or Visualization
Imagine yourself lying on a sandy beach with a soft breeze gently stirring the warm air. Use your senses to smell the saltwater and feel the sun as you transport yourself there. Thats guided imagery or visualization.
It uses the power of your mind to change your focus to a peaceful time or event.
If were in a stressful situation, you know, just shifting our mind and focusing on a time when we were really, really relaxed is an effective way to calm down, Brown says.
Smile Like You Mean It
Dont roll your eyes the next time someone advises you to grin and bear it. In times of tension, keeping a smile on your face especially a genuine smile thats formed by the muscles around your eyes as well as your mouth reduces your bodys stress responses, even if you dont feel happy. Smiling also helps lower heart rates faster once your stressful situation ends.
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Bonus Tip Get A Weighted Blanket
I know I said that was the last tip, but I just have a quick bonus tip, and that can be summed up in two words weighted blanket.
There are incredible and I recommend everyone has one! I hate sleeping without mine now.
My own one was a gift so Im not sure where its from, .
So, hopefully those calming tips will really help you when youre feeling super anxious or super stressed. They definitely, definitely help me!
I do want to offer you something else though, I have a free checklist about the self-care routine I used to get over depression.
Now I know this post wasnt specific to depression, but this self-care routine is so so good for improving your mental health in anyway so I just wanted to offer it to you as if youve been feeling really stressed for quite a while, whilst these tips in the post will definitely help, you also obviously need to work on your mental health as a whole so you dont have that feeling of stress all the time and thus this self-care routine can really help!
GRAB YOUR FREE DAILY SELF-CARE CHECKLIST HERE
Understanding The Natural Stress Response
Some of the symptoms that we experience from stress are natural reactions that originally meant to protect us. Some of the physical responses that we have when we feel stress coming on are part of the fight or flight response. This can be an essential reaction to have if youre in a life-threatening situation. And its a response that many credits with the survival of the human race throughout history. For example, if you come face-to-face with a wild animal, your fight-or-flight reaction could be what leads to you staying alive.
However, most of us arent coming face-to-face with wild animals that are trying to kill us regularly. Instead, were facing daily stresses such as financial burden, overwhelm schedules, coworkers that try to take the credit for the work that we do, and notifications dinging on our phones regularly. These situations are not life-threatening. So instead of our fight-or-flight response kicking into gear and saving us, the stress can continue to build, causing us long-term physical and mental health challenges.
This is why its important that we learned how to reduce stress and anxiety in our life.
Stress Management Tips For Finding Balance
The following strategies can help you learn how to manage your stress and anxiety in your life.
Still, Struggling With Stress Relief?
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Understanding Anxiety And Insomnia
Whats behind the more stress, less sleep connection? If youre frequently triggering your stress response, your body never gets back to its baseline, says Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.
Stress and sleepless nights are closely linked, Buenaver says. If youre in pain, tend to worry, or are coping with a difficult situation in your life, you may have more stress hormones than usual circulating in your body. A poor nights sleep adds even more. And those hormones may never be fully broken down. Its like running an engine in fifth gear all the time.
How Can You Stop Worrying
Chronic worry can quickly start to negatively impact your day-to-day life and overall mental health. Thankfully, with a little practice, you can make excessive worry a thing of the past.
Here are our best strategies for how to stop worrying and finally start living:
This list could go on forever, but lets take a deeper dive into our favorite methods for how to stop worrying, manage stress, and take back your life.
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What Causes Anxiety Twitching
Anxiety causes your nervous system to release neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that your body uses to send messages between neurons, or between neurons and muscles.
Some types of neurotransmitters will tell your muscles to move. When you have anxiety, neurotransmitters may be released even when theres no clear reason for them to be released. This is what can cause anxiety twitching.
Another reason anxiety can cause muscle twitching is because it can cause you to hyperventilate. Muscle twitching is one symptom of hyperventilation.
If your twitching happens long-term or interferes with your daily life, your doctor may be able to help. To diagnose your condition, theyll first take a medical history, which will include:
- questions about your symptoms
- when symptoms started
- details about the twitching
If youre also experiencing anxiety with the twitching, be sure to tell your doctor. That might be enough for them to diagnose you with twitching related to anxiety. However, they might still do tests to rule out other conditions.
These tests may include:
- blood tests to look for electrolyte problems or thyroid issues
- an electromyogram , which looks at how well your muscles work
- a CT scan or MRI of your brain or spine
- a nerve conduction test, to see if your nerves are working correctly
If you have anxiety and other potential causes of twitching can be ruled out, your doctor will likely be able to diagnose you with anxiety twitching.
Relaxation Techniques For Stress Relief
Any long-term behavioral change can be very challenging. One of the easiest ways to increase our stress management skills is to start with the small stuff: intentionally engage brief relaxation techniques on a regular basis. Returning to a state of relaxation is the process of homeostasis, and because of the chemical reactions and hormones involved in stress, reaching homeostasis is slower and more difficult than getting stressed out, to begin with.
Every time we convince our minds and bodies to relax during the good times, we train ourselves how to return to that state of relaxation faster and more efficiently the next time. Here are a few common examples of relaxation techniques that you can tailor to your daily routine, and we will look at easy ways to approach each one, in turn:
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Talk To Someone You Trust About How You’re Feeling
Just talking to someone about how youre feeling can take a weight off your shoulders. Make sure you trust the person, work out what you want to say to them, and then just go for it. If youre finding it tricky, weve got four more steps for talking to someone you trust here.
The Importance Of Managing Stress
If youre living with high levels of stress, youre putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like theres nothing you can do about stress. The bills wont stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and funand the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. Thats why its important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
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Have A Relaxing Cup Of Tea
Have a hot cup of tea, preferably with no caffeine, Wei said. And put the smart phone away and just spend a few minutes focusing on the flavor of tea, the temperature, noticing everything about the cup.
This mindfulness practice helps you tune out other thoughts, helping you focus on something thats calming. This can be a great tactic to reduce stress at work while you can’t necessarily step away from the stressors completely, you can use a cup of tea as a signal to press pause for a moment.