Linking Severe Stress, Stomach Issues and Colon Cancer
When I received the email with this month’s topic, I literally laughed out loud. I thought, “Well, God, aren’t You funny today?” The topic is stress and stomach issues. This is a subject that I know all too well. Actually, I was well versed in this area before Chris was even diagnosed with colon cancer. Many of us may not consider that stress can lead to severe stomach issues and possibly forge a path to colon cancer.
So why am I a self-proclaimed expert in stress? Well, let’s start with the fact that I work in a newsroom and my husband, Chris, is in law enforcement. That equals job stress. Then there is the factor of raising kids. That equals family stress. And finally – in an effort to be totally transparent – we had serious marital issues. That equals marriage stress. Add on outside community commitments, financial pressures and an attempt to try and start a new business on the side. When it’s all said and done, we had stress. Wait, I take that back. We have STRESS!
I tend to carry my stress in my belly. When I am upset, I lose my appetite. Or when I am overwhelmed, I actually vomit. (Is that TMI?) Chris on the other hand seemed to handle stress with less physical manifestations, or so we thought until his diagnosis. While the oncologist can’t just point to a stressful life and say “Boom! That is what caused your colon cancer,” we do know that there is a link between stress and digestive issues. The gut is also known at the little brain, being the largest area of nerves outside the brain.
Notice that I didn’t say, “eliminate” stress. I really don’t believe stress can be eliminated. I do believe that we can learn strategies to effectively manage our stress and help keep it from affecting us physically.
RECOMMENDED ARTICLE: 7 Digestion-Friendly Teas: A Natural Cure for Your Stomach Woes
Let’s be honest: most of us can’t call a “time-out” when life get’s tough. We can’t just tap out and go on an “Eat/Pray/Love” excursion. But we can use techniques to keep the stress lower. Here are a few things we can do to help minimize stress. It’s a good thing that we follow some of these steps, which seems to be right on track with EverydayHealth.com and what they say about minimizing stress.
1. Think Positively – Lot’s of studies have been done on the connection between mind and body. I don’t go so far to say that if you think you can fly that one day you will sprout wings. But I do believe that how you think (and speak) about a situation changes your perception of the situation and your reaction to the situation.
2. Get Some Physical Exercise – Sounds simple doesn’t it? But taking a break to go on a 15-minute walk in the fresh air can help you clear your mind and bring your anxiety level down. Is that too slow for you? Then try kickboxing or dancing around your living room to your favorite song. Do something that you like to do to clear your head.
3. Learn to Say “No” – I have the most trouble with this one! Sometimes you really have to say no to folks. Not because it isn’t a great opportunity. Not because you don’t want to help someone out. But sometimes it’s because you literally can’t take on anything else.
4. Keep a Gratitude Journal – Write down a few things that you are grateful for everyday. This not only helps to put your life in perspective, but it also gives you something to refer to when life is crappy. This can give you a place to write down what stresses you out and how to solve the problem. Just by writing these things down you can see how blessed you are and how to minimize future stress.
5. Connect with a Higher Power – If you believe in a higher power, take a moment and connect with your beliefs. If you need to pray, then pray. Turn on the gospel music. Read a few passages from the Bible. Remember that there is a plan for your life and a higher being that loves you.
6. Talk to a Counselor – Sometimes you may need to get counseling from an outside party. This can allow you to have some cognitive therapy and determine patterns that may cause some of your stress. Some things are too big to deal with on your own. There is no shame in seeking help.
Maybe the very first step is to notice your stress level. Observe when you are edgy or your heart is beating too fast. Take note when your tummy is rolling for “no reason.” Pay attention to the physical signs that are telling you to get your mental game in check. Remember, the goal is a healthy mind, a healthy body and a healthy colon. To find out more about colon health visit us at Stop Colon Cancer Now!
Tags: anxiety level, colon health and stress, exercise manages stress levels, family stress, gratitute journal, healthy body, healthy colon, healthy mind, how is stress related to digestive issues, job stress, linking stress to digestive problems, managing anxiety, managing stress levels, marriage stress, minimizing stress, Prevention Info, stress and colon cancer, stress and digestive problems, stress and severe illness, stress and stomach disorders