Right now stress is more relevant and prevalent than ever. Normally the circumstances occurring in your life are pretty predictable...
A few things a day pop up like someone cutting you off in traffic, your partner eating food you had saved for yourself or the dog chewing up the toilet paper. Working on mindfulness didn’t seem like a huge mountain to climb.
Currently, there is more stress coming your way than ever before - and let’s be honest, most of us are wishing for the problems we once had.
Every day you wake up there is a new article with statistics about the Coronavirus, predictions about the way it will impact us, new regulations impacting businesses and home life. Not to mention earthquakes in Salt Lake City or hail storms in Santa Cruz, CA. How can we possibly manage?
We cannot control the effect of COVID-19 on the world, we cannot control what other people do or what the government does and of course, Mother Nature has her own plans as well. It is normal for all of these things to lead to stress, anxiety, and fear. This is why it is our time to put mindfulness practices to the test and double down on what we can control.
Today’s lesson is about training our minds so that we can cope with the stressors we are all encountering. We're going to give you a bit of background about the role stress plays in your body so you can learn to recognize when you're feeling stressed.
How stress impacts your body
Stress is so prevalent in our lives that it’s essentially become the “norm” for most people.
Even though stress has a significant impact on our emotions, minds, and bodies, those who take the time to mindfully manage stress are in the minority.
The stress response has an effect on every system of the body, including your digestive system. Let’s learn more about it!
The impact of stress on metabolism and digestion
Stress sends your body into the “fight or flight state,” and during that process, the digestive process is essentially put on ‘hold’.
You may notice short term symptoms like...
- The feeling of food sitting in your stomach
- Overall stomach pain.
When your digestive system is not functioning optimally, its ability to absorb nutrients diminishes.
This basically decreases the nutritional value of the food you're eating since your body can't properly absorb the vitamins and minerals in your food.
Stress and Appetite
Stress can also affect your appetite, although not everyone experiences a decrease in appetite in response to stress.
About 40% of people increase their food intake under stress, while 40% decrease their food intake in response to stress.
Some symptoms of stress can be confused with hunger symptoms. This is why “stress eating” can become a hard habit to break.
Symptoms of stress are caused by feelings and thoughts, and symptoms of hunger are caused by not having been fed for a while.
Continued intentional mindfulness practices can enhance the ability to recognize the difference between the two.
Stress and your gastrointestinal tract
Stress also negatively affects the normal function of your GI tract by decreasing absorption, affecting intestinal permeability and decreasing mucus and stomach acid secretion.
It increases the GI system’s response to inflammation. Inflammatory diseases in the GI tract, including Crohn’s, other ulcerative diseases and IBS are all associated with stress.
Stress and energy
It takes work for your body to be in a stressed state. So, when your overall stress level is higher (like it likely is right now), this can cause major dips in mood and energy.
Now that we've learned a little bit about how stress effects the body...join us next week for our first tip on how to overcome it!
If you feel like you need support handling your stress, especially when it comes to fitness and nutrition don't hesitate to give us a call at 302-689-3489!