The way we eat has a direct impact on how we feel, and it has been shown that the trillions of bacteria which line our gut can play a huge role in mediating our mood too.The close connections between the gut and brain are described as the imaginary gut-skin-brain axis, as they share multiple signalling pathways, including the way we perceive stress. Meaning, when we are stressed, our guts can often be impacted.
What symptoms might I notice?
For most people, bloating can be one of the first signs of gastrointestinal symptoms that they have which may cause discomfort. Bloating is the build-up of excess gas that can be caused by many factors, from constipation, adverse reactions to food, or simply a response to increasing dietary fibre in the gut. So it is important to identify the root causes in order to treat any gut issues
However you may also notice signs of heartburn and other digestion issues. Because the gut microbiota have an important role in maintaining skin homeostasis and its normal functioning, disturbances in the gut as a result of stress can sometimes manifest themselves in skin conditions such as eczema and acne too.
If you find it challenging to find the balance in your daily life, here are five balancing habits that almost everyone can practice in order to alleviate stress levels. Together, they should help you feel more at ease, energised and clear minded, better handling the stresses you may be facing.
Make time to meditate. Based on multiple studies, meditation has been shown to benefit your mind and body in a range of ways. This simple practice has been suggested to enable more control over the mind and how it processes emotions, improve memory, and even enhance overall performance.
Eating abundantly. When regularly consuming a variety of fresh produce, particularly fibre-filled fruits and vegetables, this has the potential to support the correct functioning of the gut. There has been a surge in research within the past few years with regards to how maintaining a healthy gut can contribute to a healthy mind. Harvard Health has studied the ways in which the brain and the gastrointestinal tract are intimately connected.
Go for a walk. Taking a stress-relieving stroll can potentially help relieve you of any anxious thoughts that may leave you feeling restricted or “trapped". This form of physical movement can increase the production of endorphins, enable you to let go of any physical tension, and break you free of any negative thought patterns that may be weighing you down.
Do what makes you happiest. If you currently feel that you are in a state of overwhelm due to work, stress, or experiencing any change, prioritise practicing what makes you happiest. Take the time to do what makes your soul sing; whether it be through reading, dancing, cooking, or painting. When we are at our happiest, we are at our healthiest.
- Learn to process your emotions. When feeling negative emotions such as worry, sadness, or self doubt, we often tend to suppress these feelings as, unsurprisingly, recognising and analysing these emotions can be an uncomfortable experience. One study exercised on students transitioning into college—a prime period where-in emotional suppression can occur, had displayed how emotional suppression had led to predicted lower social support, less closeness to others, and lower social satisfaction. It has also shown that suppressing emotions can lead to a decrease in positive emotion, and an increase in negative emotion.
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