Contrary to popular belief, bloating is not necessarily a sign that you have eaten too much – rather, it could be the sign of an underlying physical or mental stressor in your body which causes a reaction in your digestive system, culminating in discomfort and a full-looking belly.
Of course, that’s not to say that a big meal isn’t the culprit in the case of one-off bloating; however, in this article we’re focussing on other potential causes and how stress control in particular can play a major role in the control of the bloat.
But first, why does mental anxiety and stress lead to such a significant physical reaction?
How does stress create physical bloating?
When you feel stressed, your body reacts by directing its energy into the central nervous system to support the ‘fight or flight’ response – thus taking energy away from the digestive system. By redirecting energy away from the integral process of digestion, you will find food is not absorbed or eliminated effectively or efficiently, thus creating the bloat of food and bacteria which sits in the belly.
Essentially, when you heap too much stress onto yourself mentally, you put physical stress on your digestive system and cause it to wreak havoc on your body, your digestive tract, and ultimately your comfort – creating a vicious cycle of unease and discomfort.
Tips to de-stress the digestive system
In order to alleviate bloating, you need to make changes which remove that stress from the digestive system – allowing it to return to normal activity and function.
Perhaps the simplest thing to do is focus on breathing techniques and de-stressing activities which ground your mindset and allow you to find ways of dealing with stress in a more productive way.
Beyond that, a few tips that support the digestive system specifically include:
- Eating more slowly and taking the time to chew your food thoroughly, thus aiding the digestive process by breaking food down before swallowing.
- Making sure that your body and mind are calm before eating, so your energy can be directed into digestion rather than balancing stress.
- Don’t overeat – a tip that should help anyone who suffers from bloating, stressed or otherwise.
With those tips in mind to help balance the bloat caused by digestive stress, keep reading for a few additional lifestyle changes which can further support your body and ensure that bloating does not become a regular occurrence.
Small lifestyle changes that can further help to control bloating
We’ve already talked about the impact of stress on the body and how that manifests itself in a rounder belly than you might like after mealtimes. But what other changes can you make to further support great digestion and to beat the bloat?
One of the easiest changes you can make is to switch your sugary products for a naturally sweet alternative – in the form of Manuka Health Honey. Not only is this honey delicious but it boasts a range of natural properties that can support your health and overall well being.
Another change to make is to limit your alcohol intake, and to focus on eating as many natural and whole foods as possible – including plant-based ingredients where possible.
All of these changes might feel small, but together they can have a huge impact on your overall health and the way you feel after a meal – be it big or small.
Visit our blog post for more useful insights like this and be sure to check out our full range of Manuka Health products.