There is no better time to discuss the correlation with anxiety and gastrointestinal symptoms than now. Anxiety can surface in all different forms on the body including the stomach. Did you know that according to Calm Clinic, anxiety is one of the most common causes of gastrointestinal discomfort? It can lead to stomach pain, nausea, gurgling in the stomach, heartburn and diarrhea. The reason for this is thought to be because anxiety causes changes in neurotransmitter function, particularly serotonin. For me, I like to use my medical terminology of a “wobbly” stomach when describing how I feel.
Recently I have had first hand experience with both positive and negative forms of anxiety. When it relates to publishing my first book, I had a ton of anxiety centered around happiness and excitement but it still led to a nervous stomach. This caused me to lose my appetite, experience more gas and general stomach uneasiness than normal. Even though it was all positive, I had to depend on the coping skills mentioned below to help.
On the other end of the spectrum, during the actual storm of Hurricane Harvey we were stuck in Colorado and as the storm and reality of what was going on got worse so did my stomach. By the time we were able to make it back in town, my eating patterns were off and so was my stomach. My parents house had over 2 feet of water, 2 ruined cars and most of all their furniture had to be thrown out. Not surprising but one morning I woke up with terrible bathroom episodes that I knew it was a reaction to of all the stress and sadness that I was feeling.
- Stick to a Bland Diet
- For me that’s a lot of broth based soups and other plain FODMAP safe items like rice, eggs and cereal that won’t leave me feeling heavy for a few days.
- Yoga & Meditation
- I have found a huge help with adding yoga and meditation as a way to calm my nerves and center myself. (Be on the look out as I have a whole yoga post in the works!)
- Deep Breathing
- Sounds stupid easy but when I’m feeling anxious, I start taking a lot more shallow breaths so I have to consciously remember to BREATHE!
- Gratitude Journal
- Especially during the book writing process, I have had difficulty being in the moment. I don’t know if it’s because of my superstition or not liking a ton of attention but being able to write down my achievements is a great way to reflect.
- It also comes in handy when going through a hard time, like the Hurricane aftermath, to be grateful for the little and not so little things in your life.
I know I’m not the only one who has tummy issues during high anxiety times in my lives. How do you cope? Do any of my suggestions resonate with you?
OH and if you haven’t bought my book yet, I highly, HIGHLY recommend it. Not only for people on the FODMAP diet but for anyone wanting super delicious and easy recipes. The best part is that if you purchase the book before October 10th, all pre-sale profits will go to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. You can buy Fodmap for Beginners ⇐ Here!