Stress & your gut: how to switch off the SNS
There’s no doubt about the connection between the brain and the gut – butterflies in the tummy, gut feelings, and the rush-to-the-toilet nerves. What happens is that the stress hormones that our body produces has a massive effect on the microbiome, motility and digestion.
Fun fact: there are more neurons in your gut lining than in your spinal column.
So we can see that if we are in an ultra stressed state then our digestion shuts off. But what about long-term worry and anxiety? We need to switch ourselves out of the Sympathetic Nervous System state and into the Parasympathetic Nervous System. From fight or flight, to rest and digest. Remember, there’s a highway between your brain and gut, and it goes BOTH ways.
Here are a few things you can try at home to make the switch:
- Deep breathing – 3 minutes of deep breathing lowers your cortisol and your blood pressure
- Breath-based movement – Qi gong, yoga and pilates all incorporate deep breathing
- Talk it through – process what you’re going through by jumping on the phone or a video call, sometimes all you need is to talk it out and move the emotion through
- Journaling – penning what’s on your mind is super therapeutic, and you can up your game by including 3 things you are grateful for each day.
Remember, if you’re struggling please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 and/or speak to your GP.