Irritable bowel syndrome symptoms can be caused by stress even if you are eating a perfect low Fodmap diet so you need to take steps to reduce that stress. Watch my video for 5 ways to do that. This is not a simple topic, and everyone’s life is different, but you have to start somewhere or nothing will change. Small steps forward will eventually add up to a large change, so get moving.
Today I want to give you five tips for cutting back on the stress in your life. Stress affects IBS negatively, so we have to get it under control.
The first one is about clutter. We’ve heard a lot about minimalism. A cluttered house, a cluttered desk is going to be a cluttered mind, and that’s going to create overwhelm. And while that clutter remains, that overwhelm will remain. This is a big task that it’s good for you to consider. Start to declutter your home, and once you’ve done that, keep it decluttered to reduce your overwhelm.
Number two is that you have to learn to say “no.” Some people are not programmed to say “no” when they’re asked to help. But if you don’t want to be overwhelmed, you do have to say “no” to that committee, say “no” to the school asking you to be on yet another fund raiser. Say “no” to family and friends if you’re sure they can cope without you. Learn to say “no” and you’ll feel empowered by that.
Now the third is the flip side – it’s to ask for help. You don’t have to do everything yourself, so ask your family and friends for help. If they say “no” understand that and respect that, but you can still ask, but also ask for professional help. You want to paint your study in new bright color? You don’t have to do it yourself – you can get a professional in. Also here’s a radical thought, how about just not painting your study? Cross that off your list.
Number four is to clear out the clutter in your life from the point of view of committees, meetings, commitments of that kind. You’re on the tennis executive for the tennis club and you have to rush in from work and rush the kids so that you can get away to that meeting at 7:00 in the evening, and then it drags on and on and nothing is concluded. You really don’t enjoy it, but you feel obliged to be a part of the executive. What I do in cases like this, I think to ten years ahead and I think, “Will I feel guilty or bad about having made that decision in ten years’ time?” If not, then that’s the correct thing to do.
The last one is, and this is a rather strange one, it’s to scrap your to-do list. If you’re one of those people like me who makes a long list of things that you need to do, you cross them out, you keep adding on at the bottom, and the list is never ending. How about scrapping the list? Throw it away. Start a new list and the things that were important you’ll remember and will go down on the new list. You’ll be very surprised at how much shorter it is because some of those things were just not essential for your life or for your family.
Those are the five points for you to think about and to action if you need to reduce the stress in your life and the overwhelm. If you can do this, if you’re successful at reducing the stress, you’ll be surprised how that helps your IBS because, even if you’re on a perfect low FODMAP diet and your symptoms have been eliminated, stress will make them return, so work on those five points.