How Stress Effects the Gut

When you’re in the stressed ‘Flight and Fright’ response or ‘Sympathetically Dominant’,
you automatically switch off stomach acid (hydrochloric acid) secretion, digestive enzymes
and the activity of the intestines. This means you are not effectively digesting the foods you
put into your mouth at this time. This can lead to food intolerances and uncomfortable gut
symptoms.
Before eating, do these 5 easy things to bring your body back towards the ‘Rest and Digest’
state, triggering the parasympathetic nervous system, and thereby strengthening your
digestive functions ready for food.

1. Stop what you are doing and only focus on eating.
2. Smell, touch and taste your food during the preparation and whilst eating.
3. Chew your food thoroughly and slowly so it’s mushy before swallowing.
4. Sit down and roll your shoulders back, opening up your chest to stimulate the
correct nerve pathways.
5. Take 3 deep slow belly breaths with a long slow breath out.
6. Visualise your gut preparing itself ready for food.
This visualization is really effective. You may visualize a golden ball of light moving
downward through your digestive tract or digestive juices squirting into the
stomach. You may visualise a relaxed place of calm such as a beach or forest.

All these techniques can help stimulate the parasympathetic nerves for more powerful ‘Rest
and Digest’ functions.

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