The saying ‘sick to your stomach’ is around for a reason. When your body responds to stress in high doses or for continuous periods of time, it can have serious effects on all parts of our body.
Stress in small bursts can help boost the immune system, allowing your body to produce the antibodies and hormones needed to fight infection and promote cellular growth and repair. When the stress continues, your immune system can suffer. Aside from slowing your body’s ability to heal, stress can also aggravate skin conditions like eczema, hives and psoriasis.
Never ending stress can have terrible effects on your digestive system. From indigestion, nausea and gas to diarrhoea and constipation, you can begin to feel very real and very uncomfortable symptoms.
Long-term effects can also heighten your risk of developing irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn and stomach ulcers.
So as the weekend commences, it is important to take time to check in with your body and do everything you can to reset your system – especially after a particularly stressful week at home, or at work.
Here are three ways to soothe your stressed-out stomach and relieve your digestive system:
It may sound simple, but by partaking in just a few minutes of breathing exercises, we can activate our parasympathetic nervous system. This acts to slow the heart-rate, conserve energy and increases intestinal and gland activity. An easy way to do this is to place your index and middle fingers on your ‘third eye’ or just between your eyebrows at the top of your nose. Take a deep breath in and as you breathe out, cover your right nostril with your ring finger. Breathe in through your left nostril and repeat the exercise by covering the other nostril. Once you have gone through process using each nostril a few times, you will notice an increased sense of relaxation all over your body.
If sitting down isn’t for you, then get moving! Take a walk outdoors, practice some of your favourite yoga poses or just shake off some bad energy. Any form of physical movement can help rid your body of the negative energy and overactive adrenaline left over from periods of stress.
After you’ve calmed down and rethought the situation, or situations, that made you stressed it’s time to reflect. Figure out what caused the stress, how your let it get to you and what you could do differently next time. Did you learn anything from the experience? Can you see the positive through the negative? If it was a work issue that was holding you back, are you able to approach it with clear eyes and see the solution?
As always, food plays a very important role in making sure we have the best chance at fighting stress at a cellular level. Instead of reaching for the tub of ice cream or consuming harmful, inflammatory foods when stress takes hold – treat your body with nourishing, healing foods.
Provides a wonderfully anti-inflammatory boost to your digestive enzymes by helping them remain balanced.
Also great for digestive health and reducing inflammation in the gut.
Use spices that warm the body; for example, star anise, basil, bay leaf, pepper, caraway, cardamom, chilli, cloves, dill, fennel, garam masala, ginger, mustard seeds, nutmeg, oregano, paprika, rosemary, tamarind, tarragon and thyme. Whether you use them in calming hot beverages or warming soups, these spices can aid in everything from digestion, to calming the nervous system.