You’re officially over halfway through the 12-week programme and adapting your lifestyle to support a healthier gut and as a result, a happier you!
This week we’re looking at stress, how it impacts our gut and what we can do to keep us feeling relaxed, or ‘zen’ as the millennials seem to be calling it… so take a seat, light a scented candle (or incense if you’re really getting in the zone) and remove any distractions, as this is something that impacts all of us – and if it doesn’t impact you, then please do get in touch with us and tell us how, we’re all ears!
Stress plays an important role in our lives. Despite it’s more commonly understood negative impacts, low levels of stress actually help to improve cognitive function, increase productivity and boost our immune system.
It’s a physiological reaction (fight or flight response) to a potentially dangerous situation – one that you can imagine has been crucial in our evolution and development, but its function is somewhat warped in our 21st-century lifestyles.
Stress becomes a problem when we experience high levels of it and over sustained periods, causing us to experience anything from fatigue and tiredness to mental and physical burnout. It can also wreak havoc with our gut and digestion, which is why we wanted to touch on the topic this week…
Before looking at what can be done to manage stress and move us towards a state of relaxation, here’s a very brief overview of how stress can impact our gut health;
Short term stress – you could experience a reduction in your appetite as well as your digestion to slow down.
Long term stress – Sustained periods of stress can cause gastrointestinal issues like constipation, diarrhoea and indigestion.
Chronic stress – Prolonged and constant feelings of stress have been linked to more serious issues like IBS.
It’s important therefore to manage stress levels and use relaxation techniques to reduce stress. Not only will this contribute to peace of mind, but it will also help to lower inflammation in the gut, ease GI issues and support your body by keeping you well-nourished.
So… below we’ve listed 3 simple lifestyle techniques you can introduce to reduce stress, increase relaxation and leave you thinking and feeling good;
- Hopefully you had a read of our exercise post last week, which is great because that’s exactly where we’re going to start! To boost and support digestion, make sure you’re active on a consistent basis. If you missed it, then here’s a link to everything you need to know
- Deep breathing techniques can also help to reduce stress and lower inflammation. This can help to relieve an overstressed digestive system. We’d recommend giving headspace a try – a mindfulness app that walks you through some very simple and effective breathing techniques.
- Meditation is our final recommendation for this week. It encompasses the breathing techniques above, and you can start by doing just 10 minutes every day.
So that’s it, 3 extremely simple and effective ways to switch off from your day to day worries and start your day feeling good!
We say it every week, but don’t forget to have a look back through your food diary, because next week we’re going to be looking at how (and why) you can reintroduce the foods that you’ve been removing from your diet over the last 6 weeks.