Everybody deals with stress at some point. Maybe it due to family or money troubles, maybe you’re going through significant changes in your life, or maybe you’re about to face a major fear. Stress can happen for a number of reasons and is the body’s natural way of dealing with possible danger. When you perceive danger, your body releases a small amount of cortisol, the hormone responsible for the “fight or flight” response.
It’s important to understand how stress affects the rest of your body, and the steps you can take to manage stressful periods in your life effectively.
Stress can have a significant impact on your digestive health. When you’re under duress, your body shuts down blood flow to many parts of the body, including your digestive system. Not only does your stomach temporarily lose some essential digestive functionality, but you become more susceptible to inflammation, nausea, and even infection. It doesn’t help that many people cope with stress through consumption of junk food or alcohol, which can have long-term negative effects on your health despite the immediate comfort they might provide.
Taking the time to address the stressors in your life in small ways can prevent it from having long-lasting effects on your physical and mental health alike. Here are four ways to positively cope with stress
Exercise has many proven health benefits, including breaking the negative thought cycle that often accompanies stressful situations. Just going for a walk can do wonders for improving your mood (especially if you sit for long-periods of time). Find an activity like jogging, swimming, or a recreational sport and commit to doing it on a regular basis.
Improve your diet
We’ve said it before on this blog and we’ll say it again – good food can improve your mood! Your digestive health is directly linked to your ability to cope with stressors. Instead of reaching for comfort food in times of trouble, opt for a healthy snack instead.
Oftentimes, neglecting smaller decisions like brushing your teeth or taking a shower can snowball to amplify stress. Be sure to make time for your daily routine, as well as activities that make you feel good.
Get more sleep
Poor sleep habits hinder your body’s ability to handle the day-to-day. A good night’s sleep can be a miracle worker for managing stress, as well as preventing future stress.
Nobody wants to deal with stress, but it’s a common part of life that everyone experiences at some point. Learning to manage your stress sooner rather than later can lead to a happier, healthier life. If you think stress is negatively impacting your digestive health, give us a call to see how we might be of help.