The digestive system sounds bells and whistles as alarms to tell us that something is not right. Unfortunately, they are typically suppressed with a hectic schedule or discomfort becomes the "norm" not remembering what feel good feels like.
It is not normal:
to feel gassy or bloated
to feel nauseous
to feel like there is a brick sitting in your lower abdomen
to frequently get belly aches or stomach cramps
for it to hurt to poop
to not poop for a couple of days (constipation)
for the body to process food too quickly (diarrhea)
Stress & Digestion
When the body goes into fight or flight mode, digestion stops since it is not required when cortisol surges to increase heart rate and focus for running from a bear. If we are in a space of constant stress then we are not giving the body time to "rest and digest", therefore food goes not get properly broken down, inhibiting the absorption and elimination processes.
Related article: Recognize Your Stress Response
If the list of "It is not normal" resonates with you for alarms that the body is sounding, it is time to start to create some awareness and connect with your digestive system. Here are a few ways how to pay attention to the guts:
Check in before eating. Pause before digging in to take a few deep breaths, consciously softening the belly to notice how it feels.
Take time to enjoy every bite while eating by eliminating distractions (screens), actually taste each bite and watch for signals of feeling full.
Notice ques or red flags the body might be sending after a meal by checking in with a few soft, deep belly breaths.
Four Ways To Comfort Digestive Discomforts
By drinking water and staying hydrated it helps breakdown food, facilitate absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins.
Both peppermint and ginger are known for supporting indigestion and alleviating symptoms of nausea.
Tea is great keep on-hand and offer support when alarm bells scream. There are lots of options including peppermint, ginger and smooth move for those who experience constipation.
Use these ingredients in cooking such as a Carrot Ginger soup or Mint Chimichurri
Ginger or mint chews for on-the-go
Through diaphragmatic breathing the digestive organs receive a gentle massage, helping to alleviate discomforts and decrease stress caused. Pause in those moments when feeling the alarms to soften through the belly and take deep, steady breaths. By doing so the movement of the diaphragm offers a gentle massage on the digestive organs and can help ease discomforts.
Try this: Lay face down with a rolled up towel under your belly, between the lower ribs and hip bones. Soften the stomach and breath deeply into the belly, expanding into the towel. The pressure on the stomach will give a massage to the digestive organs.
Gentle physical activity and exercise supports digestion by increasing blood flow to the digestive system and by helping to move food through the digestive tract. When feeling less than ideal, there is an emphasis on the word gentle. A light walk or mild stretching will help to promote blood flow.