Stress Bloat.

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You’ve probably experienced in the last few months. I know I have at least once or twice for an extended period of time. Between work changes, my classes being postponed, scheduled, and rescheduled, finances, car issues, travel plans, and the normal everyday woes, life has been pretty darn stressful lately!

Stress can put a lot of pressure on your stomach and abdomen, and also upset your hormone balance. This stress can also cause digestion issues for food your body normally does not have a problem digesting, leading to discomfort, pain, gas, and bloating. Which gives us that uncomfortably large belly section.

It is first important to determine if your bloating and discomfort is truly from stress or if it is possibly from your diet. If you are aware that your irritable digestive tract and bloating are caused by your diet, then it is important to familiarize yourself and pontentially avoid FODMAPs. If it is not food-related, then it is time to evaluate your daily stress level and what is causing it.

Stress bloating is not as widely discussed and therefore many people have never heard of it. It can be a surprise to some that stress can trigger a physiological reaction. But if you’re under chronic stress, cortisol hormones are constantly dominant and the result is bloating and gas and because the body is not seeing digestion as a priority, the sympathetic system redirects blood flow away from the intestine area and to other parts of the body that seem to “need it more”.

Okay, so now we get it that we’re bloated and gassy. How do we resolve this? Stress management and digestive support.

  1. Stress Analysis
    • First determine what is causing you to stress. Is it work-related, money issues, relationship problems, or is simply just watching the daily news. Once you’ve determined the source, assess if you can change anything to reduce your stress. (i.e. Maybe you’re taking on too much responsibility at work)
  2. Meditation
    • Check out my post on How To Start Meditating. Stress management definitely starts with our mind set and how we’re choosing to show up to each individual situation in our lives.
  3. Probiotic
    • When the gut becomes unbalanced with unhealthy levels of certain bacteria, probiotics can help restore the balance. They’ve been shown to secrete protective substances, which may turn on the immune system and prevent pathogens from taking hold and creating major disease.
  4. Water consumption
    • It might sound counterintuitive to drink more water when retaining water, but drinking water can actually help reduce bloat. Drinking plenty of water helps to naturally flush our systems of excess water and sodium that we might retain
  5. Diet
    • It is important that you are monitoring what you are eating and maintaining a healthy gut.
  6. Movement
    • Physical activity can get the bowels moving more regularly, which can help to release excess gas and stool. Getting the bowels to move is especially important if a person is feeling constipated. A walk around the block can provide fast relief from gas pressure.

Bloat is never fun, but if it is stress bloat start at the source of the stress to reduce the consequences and then add activities and habits into your daily routine to reduce bloating and gas.

Benefits of Backbends.

Life has been pretty crazy these last couple weeks, as you might have been able to tell from the lack of noise you’ve all received from me on here. Endless to-do lists and tasks normally tend to lead me towards stress and anxiety.

Backbends can be one of the best cures for acute of even chronic anxiety. Which you may not believe me right off the bat when I say that. Do you ever feel anxious, nervous, or worrisome when in a backbend? But the short term feeling right after is relief and calmness. A consistent yoga practice that contains backbends can also reap long term benefits of helping to not only relieve anxiety but also increase the body’s resilience to it. The consistent practice can also potentially eliminate chronic back pain.

We bend forward all day long, as we’re sitting at our desk, driving in our cars, or even walking down the street. Our spines have a complete range of motion, so we should be able to bend forward comfortably but we need to make sure we’re balancing that consistent forward bending with back bending to restore the spines natural flexibly and reduce injury.

Aside from balancing the spine, backbends can also help to improve breathing, open up and stretch the front body, abdominal muscles, and internal organs, build strength and trust, compress and flush the kidneys, and even relieve insomnia and restlessness.

In the above photo, I am practicing Wheel pose but there are multiple other poses that help to incorporate back bending into your practice:

  • Bridge
  • Bow Pose
  • Camel
  • Cow Pose
  • Fish
  • Upward Facing Dog
  • Cobra
  • Reverse Tabletop
  • King Pigeon Pose
  • Dancer
  • Sphinx Pose
  • Wild Thing

Try out a few of these consistently and let me know what benefits you start to experience!

Namaste, loves.

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