Have you ever felt overwhelmed? Like you had too much to do and not enough time, or had too much to buy and not enough money or maybe you were just overloaded. Well, that’s a redundant question, because with today’s standard life many of us have this feeling on a daily basis. We call it stress.
You’ve likely heard a lot about stress and the impact it has on your life, both good and bad. Stress is a normal part of the human’s fight or flight response, in fact, it’s what pushes us to make a decision. We need stress–it to give us a push when we face a difficult situation or are forced out of our comfort zone. BUT when stress is ongoing, it can cause a variety of health problems.
With that, it’s important to destress on a daily basis and there are many benefits of doing so. However, one very important benefit oftentimes gets overlooked and it has to do with the Gut-Brain Axis. Stress dwells in the nervous system but manifests its scary face in different bodily functions, the intimate relationship between the gut and the brain provides a direct line for stress and anxiety and can wreak havoc on the gut.
The Gut-Brain Axis is an important two-way relationship between the gut and the brain. Simply put, a healthy gut fosters a healthy mind and vice versa. When it comes to stress, the brain tells the adrenal glands to release stress hormones, including cortisol. This release of cortisol has an impact on both your digestive system and your immune system (over 70% resides in the gut). It’s actually beneficial in short bursts. In a short term situation such as catching a cold or being in a car accident, this response boosts the immune system to deal with the problem at hand. The issues arise when it comes to the chronic stress that we face today.
When it comes to chronic stress, such as working two jobs or struggling with family, this unhealthy response doesn’t stop and the body never gets time to recover. Rather, it’s continuously in a fighting state that can do great damage to your gut lining, thus suppressing the immune system and leaving you vulnerable to illness. The stressed body is designed to send blood to the arms and legs for protection and when that happens the digestive system slows.
It’s easy to see how chronic stress can wreak havoc on your gut, your body and your overall wellness, making it of the utmost importance to take time to destress daily.
Unfortunately, daily stress management is oftentimes overlooked and the results are less than desirable. We see it in uncomfortable gut-related issues like heartburn, abdominal cramps, a weakened immune system, a compromised microbiome, and so on. We see it in the rise of chronic conditions that can be avoided with prevention. We see it in many aspects of life today. The good news, we have the power to make changes and it starts with managing stress. The first step to managing stress is learning how your stress works.
Ask yourself these questions…
- Rate your stress level, 1-10 (1: often relaxed, stress is healthy. 10: Never relaxed, can feel body react poorly to high levels of stress.)
- At what point in the day do I feel the most stress?
- At what point of the day do I feel the most relaxed?
- Is there a certain person or group of people that induce stress?
- Is there a certain duty or action that induces stress?
- Is there any person, group, or activity that relaxes you?
- Do you take advantage of each opportunity in your day to relax?
Understanding your daily stress triggers will allow you to better prepare for and combat them while identifying your sources of relaxation and stress relief will help you take advantage of and focus on the things that are helping you destress each day.
Stress management comes in all shapes and sizes and doesn’t take a whole lot of time. Think of it like brushing your teeth. Twice a day you polish your pearly whites for at least three minutes. Well, what if you took three minutes twice each day to focus on you and shake off the stress? We are talking about a little stretching, maybe some yoga, meditating and so on. Depending on your current stress levels and stress management routine, it could have a tremendous impact on both your gut health and overall health.
Here are a few other ideas to help kick the stress, nourish your gut and jumpstart your health…
Make Time for Family and Friends
Life doesn’t always supply ample time to socialize with those you love. Sometimes you have to go out of your way to connect. Take some time for fun with family and friends. You can invite someone over for dinner, make time for a phone call, meet for coffee…whatever works best for you. Investing in the people who matter can lift your spirits, boost your energy and push you forward.
Homecook Gut-Friendly Meals
Supporting your microbiome with nourishing whole food meals can improve your mood and your wellness. When you eat correctly, your body has the ability to prosper.
Make time for you, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. Push the worries of the day aside and allow your mind to rest. Me Time can come in many forms including reading your favorite book, going to the gym, letting your partner take the kids for an hour, or engaging in a hobby you love. Spending time with yourself can help you to reflect and moderate stressors in your life.
Join the 30 Day Gut Reboot on Facebook
At New Earth, we know the importance of the microbiome, and maintaining a healthy Gut-Brain Axis, that’s why we created the 30 Day Gut Reboot, a family of techniques designed to support a healthy gut and a healthy you. It’s about sustainable daily habits that support a healthy gut, a healthy mind and a healthy life. Join the challenge today!
The key to building healthy stress management skills and supporting your gut is building a plan that works for you.