While doctors aren't totally certain exactly what causes IBS, most agree that stress is a major factor. If you've got stress induced IBS, you can greatly improve your symptoms by simply learning how to unwind. Relaxing is no easy thing to do when your digestive system is acting up and you're in unfathomable pain. But with these relaxation tips, you'll be able to distract yourself from your symptoms long enough to relax and feel better.
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What is stress induced IBS?
Medically speaking, "stress" is your body's normal reactions that are needed for your health and survival. When someone has stress induced IBS, their digestive system reacts more aggressively to stressful situations, like losing a job or going through a breakup.
It's not just big events like the above that cause stress induced IBS. Things like changes in diet, hormones and physical activity can put just as much strain on the gut, resulting in IBS symptoms. Stress is something we deal with every day, whether we like it or not. So it's important to learn how to cope and develop relaxation skills to overcome stressful situations and avoid IBS flareups.
8 Relaxation tips to relieve stress induced IBS
- Practise yoga
Loads of people with stress induced IBS find that practising yoga (even if it's just for 10 minutes each day or only when you're stressed) really helps. Give my 30-day yoga challenge for beginners a try and see how you feel.
If you don't feel flexible enough to try yoga or you're just not into it, give meditation a shot. Here are 20 practical meditation tips for beginners to get you started.
- Take a bath
Okay, so this one isn't the most practical, but it works for me every single time. It's also a wonderful way to relieve stomach cramps. Get yourself an awesome bath caddie to hold all your stuff and some wonderful bath fizzies for a spa experience.
- Nap or sleep in
If you're stressed because you're feeling over-worked or just overwhelmed by life, pamper yourself with a mid-afternoon nap or a lie-in on your day off. An eye mask will help you block out light and nap at any time of day.
- Walk with your favourite music
I do this at the end of every work day. It really helps me distinguish between work time and home time (something really hard when you work from home!) and gives me a chance to forget about anything worrying me.
- Colour in
Adult colouring books have become hugely popular over the last couple of years for a good reason. They're excellent at reducing stress!
- Have a drink
I don't think think you'll hear many medical experts suggesting you have a cocktail or a glass of wine, but I am. Primarily because I'm not a medical expert and secondly because this is one of the most effective ways I've found to relieve my stress induced IBS. A glass of white or rose wine really helps me relax and alleviates IBS stomach cramps.
- Step back
Whenever I get really stressed and think there's no way a situation can be improved or resolved, I take a step back and take a new perspective. I imagine what I would say if a friend came to me with the same problem looking for advice. It's so much easier to give helpful advice to others than it is to yourself. Give it a try!
Other ways to relieve stress induced IBS
The above suggestions are effective ways to relieve stress induced IBS naturally, quickly and affordably. If you've tried all the above and are still struggling with stress, consider talking with your doctor about managing stress through medication. If you're a very vocal person and have a lot to get off your chest, you could also see some real progress by talking to a therapist.