When we have poor digestion such as acid, heartburn, reflux, gas, bloating or constipation, the first thing we focus on is our diet. Our diet is linked to the majority of health problems and especially digestive problems. But we should also keep in mind the importance of our emotions which often act as triggers of some of these imbalances.
In this article we will explain the relationship that exists between the digestive system and emotional issues, including natural remedies and some simple tips that will help you to better your digestive health and your quality of life.
A Vicious Cycle
Our brain is connected to our digestive system. They communicate together and the well-being of one depends on the well-being of the other. Thus if the digestive system receives a negative nerve stimulation, the digestion will also be negatively affected. And at the same time, if we have not properly digested our food we could also see our mood affected.
Despite the fact that this appears complicated the solution is easy: a positive mental state will help digestion and good digestion will contribute to a balanced mental state.
Stress and digestion
Who has not felt, at one time or another, their stomach was upset after experiencing something unpleasant? Our body maintains very basic instincts of survival and it is evident that the digestive system is not a priority when faced with a difficult situation. In this way we are like animals and we can say that when confronted with whatever emergency the body prepares to flee and other bodily functions such as digestion are put in second place.
For this reason we also realize that during the period of time that a stressful situation lasts (that in reality is likened to an emergency situation), if we cannot remove the stress it is probable that we will suffer digestive problems because the body will be prioritizing this over other vital functions.
What are the emotions which affect us?
In addition to stress, the emotions which easily affect our digestive system are the following:
- Anger or Rage
Not all people who suffer from these strong emotions will also suffer poor digestion, but those that do should be aware of them in order to treat this imbalance, especially if they have already made changes on a nutritional level but the digestive problems continue.
The most common disorders
The most common digestive problems which have a psychosomatic origin are the following:
Once we have realized that a digestive problem can have many causes we should also treat the emotional part. It is best to consult a holistic therapist who will take into account all the different aspects of any disease (diet, lifestyle, psychology, etc.), but we should also find out all we can and try a few natural remedies:
- Medicinal plants with relaxing properties that can help us regulate our nervous system: the best known are lemon balm, or passionflower, linden or valerian.
- Natural supplements and foods that balance the nervous system: rice and whole grains, brewer’s yeast, nuts, green vegetables, dates, garbanzo beans or chick peas and bananas.
- Avoid foods that stimulate, irritate or alter your nervous or digestive system: roasted coffee, soda, guarana, alcohol, white sugar and food additives (preservatives, colorings and flavorings).
- Get physical exercise at least three times a week. You can do intense sports or even better something less stressful, depending on how you feel.
- Surround yourself with nature at least once a week.
Eat in peace
If you have already noted that you are prone to show your emotional problems via problems of the digestive system, you should look for some tricks, in addition to remedies, that will help you lessen any digestion problems.
It is vital that, when you eat, you meet the following basic requirements:
- Eat alone or with a good friend.
- Do not talk about unpleasant topics or very important ones.
- Avoid eating in places such as your workplace or other places where you do not feel relaxed.
- Do not force yourself to eat if you do not feel relaxed. It is better to wait a little bit.
- Do not eat hurriedly, standing or while doing other activities.
Images courtesy of Alessandra, Marketing Deluxe and Relaxing Music.