If you have irritable bowel syndrome, it is very important to use stress-reducing techniques to deal efficiently with stress because stress affects our IBS and causes our symptoms to get worse. This is as crucial as the diet because, even if we are eating a perfect, tailor-made diet, we will have a return of our issues if we get stressed and do nothing about it.
Stress-Releasing Technique to Ease Your IBS Symptoms
Today, I want to talk about relaxation techniques to reduce your stress so that you don’t get IBS symptoms.
We know that stress affects our gut. We have a faulty message system between our brain and our gut, and our gut overreacts to anything that it feels. So, stress, which for another person might mean a few butterflies in the gut, for us, can cause full-on symptoms. Even if we are eating a low FODMAP diet and doing it perfectly, we will get symptoms if we’re stressed. So, we have to learn how to deal with the stress. We reduce it as much as possible in our lives of course, but we can’t completely eliminate it, and stress can come at us at any time and from anywhere.
We know now how to deal with stress and that’s fantastic. It has been scientifically shown that deep rhythmic breathing will reduce the stress. When we’re stressed, historically, if we, for example, met a bear on the path, then we would go into fight or flight mode. And what happens when we’re in fight to flight mode is that the primitive part of our brain takes over, and the frontal lobe closes down and the frontal lobe of our brain is the analytical, rational part. And we don’t want to be standing there, analyzing the situation while the bear is approaching us, or we are going to be dead. So, the first thing that happens in our body is that our heartbeat increases, our breathing increases and becomes shallow, and adrenaline, of course, floods around our body, and our frontal lobe closes off the brain, so that we are ready to fight or run away.
Today, we’re not that often met by a bear in the street, but we can figuratively be met by a bear in many different forms, and our bodies react in exactly the same way as if we should run away or we should fight. And so, our breathing becomes shallow, and our heartbeat increases. The way to reverse this process is to do the deep rhythmic breathing, because that’s reversing that shallow fast breathing, and that’s something that we’ve got control over, whereas we can’t directly control our heartbeat. When we do that, the heartbeat slows down, the adrenaline ebbs away, our frontal lobe opens up, and we’re able to deal with the situation in a completely different way.
If you get into an argument with a family member or a friend, from now on, remember what is coming out of your mouth is not necessarily very sensible or what you really think, because your frontal lobe is not working and it is something deep and primitive inside you that’s erupting forth from your mouth. So, the best thing in those circumstances is either to back away completely – that’s the flight mode – and say that you’ll talk to them later or start doing the deep rhythmic breathing. They won’t see it happening, and their frontal lobe will still be closed while yours will be opening up and you’ll be able to deal with that person in a completely different, rational way. And that will calm them down, because they won’t see you as so aggressive or perhaps defensive in that situation.
It’s really good news that this very simple technique can control our stress. And for those of us with the Irritable Bowel Syndrome, it is absolutely crucial that we control it. So, the best thing you can do is a 10-minute exercise every day, done in a disciplined way. For 10 minutes do the deep, rhythmic breathing. And what you will be doing is firing up the synapses in the brain and creating new pathways so that it becomes a habit. So then when you feel stressed, you can remember to do this technique. That can be key – that you don’t remember when you’re stressed to do this. If it’s a habit already, it will kick in much faster, it will be much more efficient, and the stress will pass much more quickly. So, do that as a habit 10 minutes every day, over and over for a few months so that the habit has formed, and then you will find you’ll be able to use it at any moment, whenever the need arises.