How Anxiety Impacts Your Gut Health & What To Do About It

HAS New Yorker cartoon shows a couple at a table. One is reading a science magazine. The caption reads, “It turns out it wasn’t the giant asteroid that killed the dinosaurs. It was stress about the giant asteroid that killed the dinosaurs.”

While we cannot control all the asteroid disasters in life, we can manage our reactions to those stressors. Your body is built to withstand periodic stressful events without suffering long-term damage. The natural calming mechanisms of the body reset the nervous system once the stressor has passed. Practicing intentional behaviors that activate those natural calming mechanisms will strengthen your resilience.

You can think of the relationship between the brain and the gut as a conversation or a musical duet. Like a musical duet, sometimes one person sings, then the other, and then they sing together. Managing stress effectively requires harmonizing the musical conversation between your brain and your gut:

Top-Down (Brain to gut): Your thoughts and actions can decrease stress by activating positive coping strategies that lower the discharge of cortisol and other messengers that cause the stress response.

Bottom-up (Gut to brain): Gut bacteria, inflammation, and other physiological responses affect brain chemistry, mood, and stress responses. Strengthening the diversity of the gut biome improves overall health and wellbeing.

It is best to use both top-down and bottom-up remedies to reduce anxiety and stress and improve physical and mental health.

Excerpted from Frazzlebrain: Break Free from Anxiety, Anger, and Stress, Using Advanced Discoveries in Neuropsychology (c) 2022 by Gina Simmons Schneider. Published by Central Recovery Press. All Rights Reserved.

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