Is the lack of mindfulness killing your gut health.

So what does mindfulness and your gut got to do with each other? Research has shown psychological or social stress can contribute to digestive issues.
When you become stressed enough to trigger the flight or fight response, your body will start triggering a series of biological reactions. One of these is the slowing of your metabolism.

This might give us an understanding of why many people struggle to lose weight. The trigger of the flight and fight response requires the body to rest after the ironic stressor has subsided. Instead, in our society, we keep going about our day until another stressful event occurs and then your body goes into the stress reaction again. The issue with this is your bodies Immune response is affected by the stress decreasing its Lymphocytes that are designed to destroy foreign body / germs which then leads to physical sickness.

The impact of stress.

So you can understand why stress and social issues can all contribute to gut problems.
I know for myself most on my life I have experienced some form of stress. Be it needing to find somewhere to live and a job to pay for life in my youth or working that high profile role that runs you off your feet. All of these events are chronic stressors, and when theses stressors are constant, it can effect you as a whole person.

Looking at the big picture.

When I was diagnosed with FODMAP’s intolerance six years ago, I didn’t think that my stress levels or social issues had anything to do with it. As time progressed, I noticed there were a few things that would impact on my gut. It would be the difference between being able to eat lots of Garlic or no garlic. The factors for me usually involved. How much sleep I was getting per night, how much stress I was managing daily, What foods I was eating, How much exercises I was participating in.
I didn’t look at the whole picture as the pain and uncomfortable “issues” that arose from my gut issues consumed me.

Two years ago I started the journey of personal development, and I decided to quit that high-level finance job and pursue a job that was what I thought as being less stressful.
Little did I realise I still have the same gut issues as I always had.

I hadn’t realised that my stress behaviours or the way I responded to stressful situations hadn’t changed. Still, I worried about my stomach, what I could and couldn’t eat, where the bathroom was when I was out. There would also be the normal stress about my family, money, and work.
What I didn’t realise is there was a stress pattern that I couldn’t break. I was functioning within this pattern that I did not know how to operate any other way.

The journey to mindfulness.

Over the past 12 months, I have been on a journey of developing my mindfulness skills. When we talk about mindfulness, I know most of you would have a vision of a monk on a hill. I sure did. I thought It was this weird state of being that I could not achieve quickly. Little did I realise this state of being was a tool that would change my life.
Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment. It doesn’t mean there is an absence of thought, but there is acceptance of thought.

Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment. It doesn’t mean there is an absence of thought, but there is acceptance of thought.

The skill of accepting your thoughts as thoughts and understanding they will come and go.
I easily get wrapped up in my mind and struggle to be in the moment. The lack of presence is usually a result of stress, busyness, worry or grief.

Mindfulness can help your brain develop and grow. Neuroplasticity is a form of rewiring; research shows that mindfulness practiced over a period will make changes that allow you to function better, listen more clearly and manage stress effectively. It can also decrease the stress hormones which cause your metabolism to shut down and slow digestion.

How?

How does this apply to your dietary issues? The brain and the gut are connected like a super highway of information being exchanged. How can your gut be in pain and your brain not react and vice versa?

I have found the more calm I became and the less stress I feel or absorb, the more settled my gut is.
If we are to strive for a healthy body and mind then why would we not develop key tools in managing the information we absorb, just like the way we manage what foods go into our stomach.

Some excellent apps that help you with guided mediation are:
http://www.smilingmind.com.au/
https://www.calm.com/
http://www.actcompanion.com/

My favourite is ACT companion as you can set hourly reminders to complete a mindfulness exercise. I find the simple breathing exercises helpful; you are to breathe in deeply and exhale all the air out of your lungs, noticing how your lungs automatically fill again with air.
This is a great exercise for those moments when you feel overwhelmed and frustrated.

 

LSB

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