Have you ever had a gut feeling or felt butterflies in your stomach? We experience these sensations when we have a big decision to make or are stuck in an anxious situation. Although the butterflies may feel cute when you are falling in love, a rumbling tummy may be a sign of more trouble than just a bad burrito. Your brain and stomach are connected, so if you listen to the grumbling in your gut carefully, you may hear a call for help coming from upstairs.
Stomach Problems May be a Sign of Anxiety
Between growing stress at work, trying to stay fit, and keeping up with your family, it’s easy to see why anxiety diagnoses are climbing. To keep your busy life up to speed, you may try to ignore your anxiety altogether. Even though your mind may be able to push the feeling aside, your body refuses to ignore the problem. That’s where your stomach comes into play. Because your mind and stomach are so connected, your gut will not refuse the foul feelings. Instead, it will manifest the feelings into physical pain. So, if you are randomly nauseous, have intense stomach pain for seemingly no reason, or inexplicably throw up, you may want to book an appointment with a therapist. By talking through your anxiety, you should be able to overcome your stomach problems.
Digestive Issues Can Make You Depressed
Just as anxiety can cause stomach problems, digestive issues can affect your mood. In our guts, there are millions of healthy bacteria that help us digest food; however, disease and poor diet can change our bacterial makeup. When your colony of bacteria, also known as probiotics, changes for the worse, it can affect your mood. If the probiotics deplete, you can have a difficult time digesting food properly. Studies have shown this can increase symptoms of depression, anxiety, and stress. If you haven’t had any major changes in your life (i.e. job, kids, or relationship changes) but you are feeling more depressed than normal, you may want to contact your doctor. They can run tests to see if you have any stomach issues.
Working Both Your Body and Brain
If you suffer from anxiety or depression, you’ve probably been told by a friend of family member that working out can boost your mood. Turns out they are right, especially if your gut is the problem. According to researchers, working out just 30 to 60 minutes a day can change your probiotic make up for the better. If your digestive system is working at a top-notch capacity, you are less likely to suffer symptom of depression and anxiety. Researchers found this only works for people who exercise regularly, so listen to your gut and get some form of exercise in every day.
Get Picky With Your Brain Food
Since the brain and stomach are so connected, it is important to be picky about what you are eating. Fries and a burger may taste delicious, but those greasy foods are ruining your stomach’s biome, and ultimately may be negatively affecting your mind. If you want to keep your gut and brain happy, you should look for healthier alternatives. However keep in mind, healthy does not mean bland. Foods high in omega-3s like fish are a versatile dinner option, that can be flavoured with delicious spices. Also, look for fermented foods. Kimchi, yoghurt, and cheese all contain live bacteria that will keep your stomach healthy but are extremely appetizing when prepared correctly.
When it comes to trusting your gut, it is a balancing act. If you keep your stomach healthy with fresh foods and daily exercise, you will likely be less stressed and anxious. Follow the same principle for the other way around. If you take care of your mind through meditation and talking with professionals, your gut will relax and feel less tense.