Stress and anxiety cause a fight or flight response, meaning digestion shuts down and all the bodies energy goes into the limbs and other bodily functions required to flee to safety. The trouble with stress and anxiety is it can often linger throughout the day, even during meal time. When digestion is "shut off" or hindered during meal time, foods remain undigested, creating digestive troubles such as gas, bloating, burps, acid reflux and even pain.
Interestingly, studies have shown that stress will reduce you digestive enzymes (these guys are responsible for breaking down your foods) by up to 40% and can in turn lead to an imbalance in your good bacteria. On the otherhand, mindfulness while eating will increase your digestion by up to 80%.
It is clear that stress affects your digestive health, but did you also know that 90% of your serotonin (your happy neurotransmitter) is produced in the gut? So an underactive stomach, will lower your serotonin production and contribute to your ability to feel balanced and happy, in turn increasing your stress and anxiety.
This is HUGE!
What this means is...
an unhappy gut = an unhappy you &
an unhappy you = an unhappy gut.
You might be thinking, well what came first, the chicken or the egg... or in this case an unhappy gut (underactive stomach) or an unhappy you (stress and anxiety)?
If you plan on beating the bloating and gas, and banishing the diarrhea and constipation so you can feel normal, fit in your clothes and start living your life again, then addressing your mental health is just as important as supporting your gut health.
Move Your Booty
One of the favourite ways to support both my gut health and mental health in one simple step is through MOVEMENT.
This doesn't mean you need to take up High Intensity Interval Training, or run out and buy a gym membership (although neither of these are discouraged). Movement can be from walking, stretching and yoga to running, lifting weights and training. Any and all movement counts.
Here is why you want to move your booty:
It increase your serotonin levels (that happy feeling)
It get thing moving... *ahem* your poop (bye bye constipation)
It balances the bacteria in your gut
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