Do you know that your gut health is affected by stress and anxiety and similarly your gut issues can exacerbate anxiety? The nausea one feels in a stressful situation and the sensation of butterflies fluttering in the stomach when excited and stressed out at the same time, are well known expressions for these situations. They are, however, true expressions as our gut is sensitive to our feelings. The emotions of fear, anger, anxiety, sadness, and excitement trigger symptoms in our gastrointestinal tract.
Our gut is called a mini or second brain, because it is supplied by a rich neural network named the Enteric Nervous System, which allows it to work independent of the brain (Central Nervous System) as well in sync with the brain. Millions of nerves connect the gut to the brain, most importantly our vagus nerve. The brain has great influence on the activity of the gut and vice versa. The very thought of food causes salivation in the mouth as well as acid release in the stomach due to this effect of the brain on gut actions. Similarly, gastrointestinal issues can send signals to the brain and cause stress, depression, or anxiety. Therefore, it is important to take into consideration stress and emotional health when trying to treat gut problems especially those which have no obvious physical cause. If your child is suffering from IBS or functional bowel problems, he or she can develop depression and anxiety.
Luckily, we can make our gut health better and improve our emotional state through it. Want to know how? Stay tuned for more information.