Hello again beautiful people, it has been some time since I have uploaded. My life has been busy with college classes, dance, and juggling my health. None the less, I appreciate being a blogger for talkhealth. I am grateful for this platform that I can share my advice for everything IBS and mental health. Let’s get into today’s topic, shall we?
Our body is our brain and our brain is our body. This is something I try my best to live by. Saying this, our mental health and physical health are connected. Have you ever been sad or anxious and felt like you had a cold? This is called the mind-body connection. Several studies have proven this theory which is more of a fact now. I recommend googling videos and articles if interested or skeptical about so.
Like a lot of chronic illnesses, IBS falls under the category of a mind-body condition. Most commonly it is called brain-gut connection to describe IBS. This term means that it is thought that depression and anxiety make IBS symptoms worse. This does not mean that mental illnesses cause IBS in the patient. The brain is the master of the body. If someone has poor mental health, their brain will reduce the efficiency of sending out signals to the gut to digest. This may cause classic IBS symptoms such as constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating etc. But, correlation does not prove causation.
Since IBS can worsen due to mental stressors, here is my take on how to relax when your gut is grumpy. Note: I am no doctor or therapist. If you need serious help, please contact your doctor, consoler, or your country’s emergency number.
Advice #1: If you are currently in a health flare, remember to put yourself first. I know this is difficult for busy people. Having too much on your plate causes bad stressors which may lead to worsening IBS symptoms.
Advice #2: Piggybacking off of point #1, learn to say no. Yes, the feared word “no,” to all people pleasers and perfectionist. If you are not feeling well and someone asks you to do something or go somewhere, ask yourself this. “Am I feeling healthy enough to perform this task 100%, and will it cause me to be anxious?”
Advice #3: You should know what your triggers are. No, not food triggers, those are equally important though! I am highlighting IBS connected mental triggers. An example of those are being depressed during a flare when you are stuck in bed. Or maybe, anxiety because you can’t find a bathroom near you. Also, low self-esteem thoughts due to IBS bloating/gas. Your feelings are completely valid, but it will not help your situation. It could possibly make it worse.
Advice #4: Keep a thought journal. This is a type of cognitive therapy. I use this to manage flare induced depressive episodes and other IBS flare triggers. You could write about how you felt that day and why. Then write how you can avoid or make the next flare more comfortable, mentally.
Advice #5: Be kind to yourself. I know, cliche. But this concept is important for your own sake. Letting yourself cry or being distant for a while is okay. It is the first step of feeling better. Letting yourself feel sorry for yourself for too long is not ideal. Finding a balance in yourself through time, relaxation, kindness, will help you get through mental slumps when in a flare.
Advice #6: When in doubt, seek it out! Taking to others about what you feel mentally and physically is always a great idea. IBS is a full body disorder and needs proper attention. People usually think of doctors as only being there for you physically. But the truth is, they want to hear about your mental health. If you do not feel comfortable with your doctor about these topics seek a therapist, close friends/family, or support group members.
In conclusion, I hope you gained knowledge into how IBS is influenced by your mental state as well as taking away some of my helpful tips to manage IBS related mental struggles
Much love as always, Laura
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