Anxiety is often caused by the fear of the unknown. It makes you question your own truth and can discourage you from believing in yourself, or having the confidence to proceed with clarity.
A huge step in overcoming anxiety is to find and use pattern/feelings of familiarity to create some normalcy into difficult or overwhelming situations.
When anxiety enters our lives, our reactions can cause overwhelming pain to our bodies. Instead, we need to welcome and explore the reasons why we’re feeling anxious and whether those feelings are similar, or can relate to a previous situation we’ve experienced.
Once we acknowledge or consider the patterns, or feelings of familiarity in these anxious situations, we can feel immediately calmer which helps us navigate our way through the trickier thoughts, so that we can find peace in whatever is actually worrying us.
We all know that anxiety is something we cannot run away from, however, if we don’t figure out a way in which we can handle it then those anxious thoughts can be a product of intestinal distress, because of the brain and GI system are intimately connected, also known as the gut-brain axis.
The vagus nerve plays an important role in this process of the gut-brain axis, as it allows you to breathe, swallow and digest without thinking about it. This nerve Is made up of fibers that connect the brainstem to the digestive organs, where they’re embedded in the lining of our digestive organs. This highway allows the brain and gut to communicate with each other, sending messages about what’s going on.
The vagus nerve fibers are connected to the cells in the gut lining. They use these cells to gather information about activities in the gut and also your gut microbiome, then transfer this information to the brain so that it can make a valuable decision about your digestion. So if the information is negative, or harmful then it could begin a cycle of distress between the digestive tract and brain!
If you haven’t realized it yet, there’s a good chance that your digestion may actually be affected if you’re currently living with high functioning anxiety. This is not an uncommon thing, and as mentions when the brain is under stress, the stomach responds in the same manner – so regardless of how good you are at dealing with stress or operating under stress, your body may not be coping at all.
Luckily there are ways to tell whether your anxiety issues are causing digestive health issues and if your anxiety is the cause, then you can find ways to cope with your disorder.
Some digestive health issues to look out for are:
- Acid reflux
- Food sensitivities
- Stomach cramping before certain events, or from thoughts
- Vomiting when stressed
So while you may be playing the chicken or the egg with your anxiety and GI issues, this article is mostly here to help describe ways in which you can deal with your anxious thoughts, in hope that it can alleviate some digestive health distress (because for most parts, we’ve already explained what a healthy diet looks like).
There are many ways in which we can manage anxiety:
First: Welcome it. Don’t fight or ignore it. Distraction only prolongs the problem.
Second: Use patterns or feelings of familiarity to create some normalcy into difficult or overwhelming situations. Have you been in this situation before? What did you do?
Third: Once you identify what it really worrying you (the fear of unknown), practice a breathing technique, meditation, talk to a friend, or exercise to allow room for clarity so that you can find peace with this thought, knowing that everything is going to be okay…
What works for me? I love writing! When I write, it clears my mind, I’m more productive, I can simplify complex thoughts, I learn and understand more, it’s calming and it settles my nerves. Writing helps me speak my truth.
We’ve always thought that what happened to the gut stayed in the gut and vice versa, however, science continues to prove this theory wrong every single day. It’s difficult to fully understand and give advice on neurotransmitters and how to manage them from the gut because they all behave in different ways, but managing stress, anxiety and focusing on a healthy plant variety diet could certainly be the beginning to your anxiety healing journey…