Feel It In Your Belly
One way to change our reaction to modern stress is to learn how to belly breathe instead of chest breathe. Belly breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, which runs from the head down the neck, through the chest, and to the colon. This activates your relaxation response, reducing your heart rate and blood pressure and lowering stress levels.
If you are not familiar with belly breathing, try this exercise: sit in a chair, lean forward, and place your elbows on your knees. Then breathe naturally. This position forces you to breathe from the belly, so you know what the sensation feels like, says Dr. Rosa.
The Enteric Nervous System
The enteric nervous system refers to the neurons controlling the digestive system. This âsecond brainâ is connected to the central nervous system â the brain and spinal cord. This system relies on neurotransmitters to communicate with the central nervous system and may affect mood.
After sensing food, the nerves of the enteric nervous system communicate with muscle cells to initiate contraction, moving food along the intestines.
In response to stress and in disorders such as IBS, the enteric nervous system may function abnormally. For instance, levels of neurotransmitters such as serotonin may be altered, or nerves may become hypersensitive. This may lead to gut symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping, or constipation.
You Can Get A Lump In The Throat Even When You Dont Think Youre Anxious
When you suffer from anxiety, your body sometimes reacts in unusual ways. Some people experience some of the physical symptoms of anxiety even when theyre not feeling anxious. That means that you can suffer from a lump in your throat even if your thoughts are completely relaxed, and it may still be anxiety-related.
Thats why its so important to take long-term steps towards reducing your anxiety once and for all.
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How Do I Know If I Need Help
Fear and anxiety can affect all of us every now and then. It is only when it is severe and long-lasting that doctors class it as a mental health problem. If you feel anxious all the time for several weeks, or if it feels like your fears are taking over your life, then its a good idea to ask your doctor for help, or try one of the websites or numbers listed at the back of this booklet. The same is true if a phobia is causing problems in your daily life, or if you are experiencing panic attacks.
Symptoms Of Anxiety In Men
Anxiety is more than having sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach. Symptoms of anxiety can include ongoing feelings of worry, fear and impending doom that are so severe they interfere with your ability to work, maintain relationships and get a decent nights sleep. Physical signs of anxiety may include:
- pounding or racing heart
- thinking about death or suicide.
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Techniques For Calming Down
Here are some of the techniques clinicians teach anxious children, adapted from CBT and mindfulness training:
Deep breathing: Drawing in air by expanding the belly, sometimes called belly breathing, helps kids relax by slowing breathing, and reducing the heart rate, blood pressure and stress hormones. It can also help relax tense stomach muscles.Mindfulness exercises: Techniques such as focusing on whats around them, what they see and hear, can help pull children away from the anxiety and ground them in the moment.Coping statements: Children are taught to talk back to their worries, Ms. Greenspan explains. They can say, Im feeling scared and I can handle it. Or something along the lines of, Im bigger than my anxiety.Coping ahead: Children are taught that when you have to do something that makes you nervous, it helps to anticipate that you might have some discomfort, and plan what you can do to counteract it, knowing that if you can push through it, it will get easier.Acceptance: This involves acknowledging the discomfort without fighting it. Instead of trying to push the feeling away and get rid of it, Dr. Domingues explains, we ask you to hold onto it and tolerate it and get through it.
For Serious Constipation There Are Options
If your constipation is severe and does not improve withchanges to your diet and lifestyle, there may be other options that you candiscuss with your doctor. Surgery is the very last option.
A wide range of laxatives are available, plus there arepro-motility drugs that a doctor can prescribe. Sometimes at-home remedies canbring relief, too, like dietary vegetable or mineral oil to lubricate thebowels.
Heres the bottom line: Try simple fixes first, but if theyfail, dont suffer needlessly. If you think your bowel movements are not whatyou would consider normal, discuss it first with your primary care physician, whocan talk with you about treatments or refer you to a specialist who can helpget your bowels moving again.
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Be Confident In Yourself
If your nervous stomach is because you have a very important presentation ahead of you, it is important that you work on your confidence first.
Having confidence in yourself and your work can easily impact the way you are feeling, sorting out the constant churning of stomach that you might have been experiencing. Lack of confidence results in anxious feelings, further making the condition worse.
If required, you can even rehearse thoroughly for better results because that further helps promote the functions of your mind better.
Make up a situation in your mind depicting the said hurdle and the rest will become a lot easier to tackle. If it is a presentation that you have to give in front of people, be prepared and have proper knowledge of the subject so you dont fumble around the topic.
- Research around the topic
Brew Some Cinnamon Tea
Cinnamon boosts your digestive power and cuts down on bloating and flatulence, making it a good choice when youre looking for relief from stomach pain.
You can add ground cinnamon to your food, but for the strongest effect, make tea with whole cinnamon sticks instead. To make one cup of tea, pour boiling water over one or two cinnamon sticks and cover for ten minutes.
If youre feeling creative, honey and ginger both make good additions to cinnamon tea.
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How To Cure Nausea Due To Anxiety
In the case of nausea due to anxiety, the nausea itself isnt dangerous. As long as you have ruled out other health problems and your doctor or therapist has confirmed that anxiety is causing your nausea, it is helpful to know that your body is not in any serious danger. Instead, to control your nausea, you need to manage your anxiety. Chances are your body is experiencing a great deal of stress related to persistent anxiety.
Several strategies for fighting anxiety include the following:
These are all quick strategies for reducing anxiety nausea. However, fighting anxiety is a long-term issue. If you experience a great deal of anxiety at home, at work, at school, or in social situations, then you need to learn effective ways of controlling it. Once your anxiety is managed, the likelihood of nausea will decrease.
Nausea can be caused by multiple issues that may or may not be related to anxiety, including changes in neurotransmitter levels, stress to the gut, blurry eyes, and more. Anxiety can also make a person more sensitive to feelings of nausea, so mild nausea feels more intense. Walking, drinking water, and light eating can be helpful, but anxiety reduction will be the only way to stop anxiety-related nausea.
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Tips For Helping Someone With An Anxiety Disorder:
- Make no assumptionsask the person what they need.
- Be predictabledon’t surprise the person.
- Let the person with the disorder set the pace for recovery.
- Find something positive in every small step towards recovery.
- Don’t help the person avoid their fears.
- Maintain your own life so you don’t resent the person with the disorder.
- Don’t panic when the person with the disorder panics, but realize it’s natural to be concerned with them.
- Be patient and accepting, but don’t settle for the affected person being permanently disabled.
- Say encouraging words such as: “You can do it no matter how you feel. I am proud of you. Tell me what you need now. Breathe slow and low. Stay in the present. It’s not the place that’s bothering you, it’s the thought. I know that what you are feeling is painful, but it’s not dangerous. You are courageous.”
- Avoid saying things like: “Don’t be anxious. Let’s see if you can do this. You can fight this. What should we do next? Don’t be ridculous. You have to stay. Don’t be a coward.” These phrases tend to blame the individual for the anxiety.
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Make A Drink With Apple Cider Vinegar
When your stomach is aching, a shot of acidic apple cider vinegar might be the last thing you want to put in it, but it could actually make you feel better. There are two reasons for this.
First, apple cider vinegar kills bacteria, so if youve got a bacterial infection in your stomach, the vinegar can help clear it out. Second, apple cider vinegar balances your stomach acid, which can help with acid reflux issues. Dont ever drink apple cider vinegar on its own its too strong, and it could damage your teeth. Instead, mix it with something else. Try stirring a tablespoon of vinegar into a cup of warm water or fruit juice.
Add some honey to improve the taste if you want.
How Do I Know If Its Anxiety And Not An Ulcer
Its not uncommon to find yourself concerned that your struggle with stomach pain is not from anxiety or stress at all. For example, you may find yourself concerned that instead of anxiety, what you are really struggling with is an ulcer.
Only a doctor can diagnose whether or not your pain is from an ulcer, but there are some clues. The clearest signal is if you have any blood in your stool or acid burps . Thats often a clear sign of an ulcer. Also, if the pain or discomfort tends to occur after eating and isnt related to a similar condition, GERD , its possible you may have an ulcer.
However, this is complicated by the fact that ulcers can be caused by long-term stress and anxiety, as they stimulate the production of extra stomach acid. This excess acid in the stomach breaks down the gastric or intestinal lining and cause open wounds that may harm your health.
Stress Anxiety Vomiting And Stomachache: What You Can Do
If you or your child suffers frequent stomachaches or nausea, first see a doctor to rule out any physical cause. Physical causes bacteria, a virus, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, constipation are usually behind the stomachaches and vomiting of younger children.
Its beyond toddlerhood when you tend to get into the stress-triggered abdominal complaints, says Chris Tolcher, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.
Once youve ruled out physical causes, take a close look at how you or your child react to stressful situations.
We all know that our mind influences our body, and vice versa. The science of emotion and stress is starting to catch up with our intuitive understanding of this, Dennis says.
Therapy can help children and adults. But, often theres no need for a therapist. Learning how to regulate emotions more effectively also helps.
The key may be to learn how to look for the silver lining in each emotionally challenging situation before we have an emotional reaction, Dennis says.
For example, perhaps an upcoming job interview or school test would normally make you or your child anxiously fear failure. This fear leads to a cascade of negative emotions, stress, and physical distress. Instead, try to see the situation in a more positive light: An opportunity to share your expertise or enthusiasm, or to learn.
What About Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a stress-sensitive gut disorder that affects 10-15% of adults. It is a functional disorder, which means tests of the intestinal tract look normal and healthy, yet the bodily processes are irregular or different to usual. Having a nervous belly is different to IBS. A nervous belly occurs only when you anticipate a nerve wracking event, but IBS is chronic and occurs for 3 months or longer.
IBS can create terrible abdominal discomfort such as cramping, diarrhea or constipation that interferes with normal daily activities. Although there is no clear cause, the symptoms are very real. These symptoms can come and go, flare up or become chronic causing great distress because you never know when they will arrive and ruin a day.
Irritable bowel syndrome is tightly associated with stress and anxiety with greater psychological distress resulting in greater symptoms. The stress doesnt cause IBS, but rather aggravates the symptoms.
It is now thought that continual distress or chronic stress activates the immune system. The body thinks the stress is a real threat and prepares to fight it. This ongoing immune activation affects the gut. Having the immune system activated for so long can change the composition of the gut microbiome, which may then create further physical symptoms.
Many people with IBS are prescribed medications, that ironically enough, further inflame the gut. But a study on a new psychological treatment has found some promising results.
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Strategies To Calm Your Anxiety
- Practice slow and deep breathing.
- Talk to yourself out loud about how you feel: Im angry because of this
- Go for a walk every day for half an hour.
- Paint mandalas.
- Get a massage.
- Walk through a forest.
- Ask yourself: What is the worst that could happen? Then, answer How should I act if that happens?
- Take some time to actively work on solving a problem and let your mind come to a solution calmly and without pressure.
- Take a relaxing bath.
- Forgive yourself for not foreseeing a problem that has happened again.
- Clean up your room, throw away things that you dont use or dont need.
- Turn off your cell phone and the television, let the silence embrace you.
- Meet up with someone with whom you feel good.
- Do that thing that you have been putting off for some time.
- Hug your pet.
- If you have made a mistake, create an action plan so that it does not happen again in the future.
- Ask yourself if you are jumping to conclusions that are too negative.
- Ask yourself if you are engaging in catastrophic thinking.
- Make a list of the things that you like about yourself.
- If there is someone who confuses you with their behavior, analyze why it happens and what you could do about it.
Relaxation For Anxiety In The Stomach
This relaxation script focuses on relieving the symptoms of anxiety in the stomach. Anxiety symptoms in the belly can include nausea, butterflies, pain, tightness, digestive problems, and a general feeling of unease. This script will help to reduce anxiety and relieve these uncomfortable symptoms.
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Begin by getting into a comfortable position. You may want to sit or lie down, with your hands resting in your lap or at your sides.
It is very uncomfortable to experience anxiety in the stomach. The feeling will pass, and soon you will be feeling calm and relaxed. Trust that the discomfort you are experiencing right now is not going to last long.
Anxiety in the stomach can feel uncomfortable…even painful. Some people report a feeling of dread or unease, or feel like their stomachs are jumping.
These symptoms arise because of the fight-or-flight response. Your body is reacting with anxiety and getting ready to fight or run away…but right now, you are not in danger. You are safe, and you will soon feel better.
During this relaxation exercise, I’ll describe focusing on the anxiety, and then focusing on relaxation and distracting yourself from the anxiety. You will alternate between these two areas of focus and find that the anxiety in the stomach goes away.
Breathe in slowly…and out slowly.
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Sometimes Abdominal Pain Is Physical And Mental
If you have a gastrointestinal condition such as IBS, Crohns disease, or ulcerative colitis, stress or anxiety can exacerbate your symptoms. This can make your physical and mental health even more inextricably linked.
This relationship can be cyclical, Sperling says: Stress or anxiety can prompt gut inflammation and intestinal spasms, leading to more GI symptoms, which can just translate to more stress or anxiety. Its pretty unfair. If you have a GI condition and feel like youre stuck in this rhythm, talk to your doctor to see if theres a way to make your gut and your brain get along a little better so that you dont have to suffer.
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Working With The School
The school plays an important role when kids develop physical symptoms of anxiety. Clinicians work with the school nurse and sometimes the psychologist or school counselor to set up a protocol for keeping the childs absences from class as short as possible. For instance, the recommended amount of time to wait before encouraging the child to go back to class might be as short as five minutes.
As much as we can, we urge them not to contact the parent or send the child home if theyre saying that theyre nauseous, adds Dr. Domingues, if we know that they are feeling this way because theyre anxious. The shorter the break can be, the better it is, because the longer theyre out of the thing thats making them feel anxious, she says, the harder it will be to get them back in.
This sort of symptoms can appear in a wide-range of children, but theyre most common in the grade-school years, notes Ms. Greenspan. As kids get older and transition into adolescence and adulthood, they are more likely to manifest their anxiety symptoms in other ways.
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