Do you find yourself too stressed to eat? Or do you overeat when stressed?
The gut is often called the “second brain” of the body. When we are stressed, it not only affects our minds but our bodies. One of the most common side effects of stress in our lives are changes to our digestive system.
Understand The Difference Between Positive Stress & Negative Stress
To begin to understand stress and your digestive system health, you need to understand what stress is. Some stress in life is good and healthy, while other forms of stress is not.
For example, learning a new skill, watching a horror movie, or completing an assignment at work or school are all examples of good stress, or “eustress”. In these cases, you get excited or rewarded at the end. Positive stress pushes you to reach your goals.
Negative stress, or “distress”, can increase your risk of developing anxiety and/or depression. Factors like an abusive relationship, a toxic work environment, or the loss of a loved one all contribute to distress.
Too Much Stress Negatively Impacts Our Bodies
When we are stressed, our brains release hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline boosts your body’s energy supply and makes your heart rate increase. Cortisol, the main stress hormone, increases glucose in the bloodstream while also suppressing “unneeded” functions such as the digestive system.
When faced with too much stress in life, you may experience symptoms such as:
- Inability to concentrate or complete tasks
- Changes in appetite and digestion
- Mood changes, irritability, and anxiety
When it comes to your digestive system, you can experience symptoms such as diarrhea, constipation, indigestion, and an upset stomach. Stress can also cause you to overeat or not eat at all.
Manage Any GI Disorders Or Dysfunctions
If you already have a GI disorder or dysfunction, like IBS or Crohn’s disease, managing them early on will help mitigate the negative side effects when stress strikes. Eating healthy, exercising, and using good bathroom habits such as not straining, avoiding sitting longer than 5 minutes, and going as soon as you feel the need.
Not only will managing any GI disorders/dysfunctions, and stress keep you healthier, but managing these will also prevent the development of hemorrhoids.