Breaking the stress-of-IBS cycle
Does this sound like you? “I always have to plan – thinking about it too much causes me stress”. “Ugh – another thing to put on the long list of things I can’t have”. “When I get stressed or feel anxious my IBS flares up”.
You are probably aware now that your digestive system and mind are intrinsically linked. Stress and anxiety can therefore affect your gut health, creating an IBS-stress cycle and potentially triggering a flare up.
We’ve teamed up with meditation expert Emma Mills for some stress busting ‘gutfulness’ tips. “Stress can be detrimental to your mental and physical wellbeing and for many IBS sufferers it can be a key trigger of their symptoms. Taking time out for a few minutes a day for medication and mindfulness helps ease emotional tension which can help to re-balance the digestive system”
Top 5 tips IBS stress busting tips
- Belly breathing
Lie down for five minutes with both hands on your tummy covering your belly button, focusing on your breathing. When you breath in, imagine there is a little balloon inside your tummy. As it expands, lift your hands as you breath in, lower as you breathe out.
Picture your digestive tract as a long, calm river that flows gently, passing through into the tummy. Feel the ‘river’ gently cooling the soft walls of your tummy, working to cleanse and heal your body.
Sit comfortably and on your next out breath, close your mouth and make a little yummy sound. This can be very relaxing on the digestive system and restore a sense of harmony.
- Focus in
Take three minutes to focus on a flower. Put all your attention on this; its petals, fragrance, shape etc. Notice how it feels to be engaged and ask yourself what starts to feel different.
Gently tap using your knuckles around the rib cage, across the back of the ribs and around the hips, use 20 per cent of your effort while you say, “I can trust my body, I can feel relaxed.”