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!
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’. 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.
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. 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:
- 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.
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 . 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.
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.