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Time To Take Care Of Your Stress Level If You Want A Healthier Digestion

Time To Take Care Of Your Stress Level If You Want A Healthier Digestion

So, have you reduced the number of small meals? Please do so, it really is for the best of you!

I’m here to accompany you through this challenging journey!

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Let’s look at what you SHOULD do this time–enjoy your meals in a relaxed mode.

Emotions and Your Gut

The digestive system walls are linked to health, mood, and even thoughts. This link is known as the ENS (Enteric Nervous System) and has earned the term ‘the second brain’.[1] Thin layers of over one hundred million nerve cells line the gastrointestinal tract. Unlike the main brain in your skull, the ENS cannot think. Its main role is keeping digestion on track, from the initial swallowing to the releasing of enzymes and breakdown of the food, while controlling the flow of blood to help with absorbing nutrients.

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According to John Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology director, Jay Pasricha, M.D., the Enteric Nervous System sends signals to the main brain and suggests that the digestive system may affect cognition too.[2] It can actually trigger off emotional shifts (i.e. anxiety and depression) that are thought to link to conditions like IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.

How To Cope With Stress

If you’re experiencing high levels of mental stress, here are a few quick fixes to calm you down:

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  • Traditional Siesta: Many traditions follow a siesta. A nap after a big meal. Metabolic forces are highest at midday during lunch. A midday break will flow with the natural body rhythm. A siesta does not have to be a nap. Relaxing and resting suffices after a good midday meal helping with digestion and leaving you flowing with energy and vitality for the rest of the day.
  • Breathe and eat: A calm sense of deep relaxed breathing rather than a shallow and infrequent stress linked breaths that bring out an anxious state is recommended. When stressed, adopt a breathing pattern to relax. Conscious breathing techniques relate the rhythmic breathing flow to the brain. This will facilitate a smooth flow of the digestion journey. And here’s a video showing you how to deep breathe to relieve stress in 1 minute:
  • Body posture: If you tend to eat hunched when stressed, take note that the digestion process needs gravity. Be seated upright for meals with relaxed shoulders and feet flat down on the ground. When the spine is erect, it gives way for the lungs to be operational at the best level. Breathing will help digest the food. By sitting up straight, while eating you have a raised consciousness and are more aware of what is on the plate you are devouring. This, in turn, will make digestion easier.

For longer-term emotional support, however, try making these activities below a daily habit:

1. Track your emotions by writing them down

To deal with stress take the time to keep a daily journal. Write down your emotions and keep track of them. Writing heals emotionally, psychologically and physically. In Writing to Heal, author Dr. James Pennebaker describes how writing leads to improved immune functioning.[3]

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Journaling and keeping track of your mood swings is a great way to increase self-awareness and to express your emotions. This familiarity of yourself is crucial for understanding your life experiences.

2. Record your achievements

Note down every achievement ever though it might be minor, as noting down all achievements boost confidence [4]. Journalling achievements may help you relive them in your mind. This reaffirms your abilities even when self-doubt intervenes. With a boost of self-esteem, journaled reflections become personal achievements that will keep you moving forward.

3. Color!

Get a coloring book. Coloring helps to minimize stress. Coloring was reserved as an activity for children and occasionally adults when babysitting. Recently, it has become an international trend for adults to buy coloring books making them bestsellers worldwide. Coloring has been proven to be very therapeutic and has been referenced as almost a type of meditation.[5]

Reference

[1] https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gut-second-brain/
[2] http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/profiles/results/directory/profile/8897935/pankaj-pasricha
[3] https://www.utexas.edu/features/2005/writing/
[4] http://www.lifehack.org/398112/science-explains-how-writing-down-tiny-achievements-every-day-changes-our-brains?ref=fbp&n=1
[5] http://www.lifehack.org/303032/heres-why-colouring-book-the-best-gift-for-stressed-adult

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Nena Tenacity

Nena is passionate about writing. She shares her everyday health and lifestyle tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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