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Learn How To Control IBS With Your Brain

2 in 10 people in the UK struggle with IBS.  Did you know that you can control it with your brain?  Find out how you can do that in this article.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a long-term condition that affects your digestive system. It causes pain or discomfort in your abdomen and a change in your bowel habits.  About 2 in 10 people in the UK have IBS and women are twice as likely to get it as men.

What many people don’t realize is that you can learn how to control IBS with your brain! Symptoms can come and go. A person may not have any symptoms for months and may then have a sudden flare-up. IBS can cause other symptoms too. These include:-

  • feeling very tired
  • indigestion
  • feeling sick
  • backache
  • trouble sleeping
  • regular headaches
  • problems with your bladder, such as needing to pass urine more often
  • painful sex

Living with this myriad of physical symptoms is pretty miserable. It affects your quality of life and, if the symptoms are severe, can even restrict you.

When you are feeling miserable you stand more chance of becoming stressed. Stress affects your body and the symptoms become even worse. This is because your mind and body are constantly communicating with each other.

Stress triggers the fright/flight response in the nervous system. Your digestion then starts to slow down (or even stop). This leads to pain and other gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhoea and inflammation. And lowers your immunity to infection.

There are some lifestyle changes that it you can make to ease your symptoms such as changing your diet.  This might mean increasing or decreasing your intake of fiber. (This depends on a person’s unique symptoms). Or increasing water consumption, Keeping a food diary can also be helpful to identify any foods for which you have intolerance.

It is also recommended that you engage in at least 30 minutes exercise per day.

You can also take advantage of the mind/body connection:-

Learn Relaxation Techniques

Progressive muscle relaxation
Visual Imagery
Join a yoga class
Daily meditation
Self Hypnosis
When we are relaxed the central nervous system releases endorphins. They promote healing because all our physical systems are working together in perfect harmony.  They are also our natural pain killer.

We cannot have stress and endorphins at the same time. When we intentionally choose to indulge in activities and set the time to relax we are choosing our physical and mental state.

Engage in Pursuits That Are Enjoyable

Create a good life balance which allows for regular downtime.
We can be so exhausted with the demands of work, family and other commitments that we don’t prioritize time for ourselves.
So many of us say “there isn’t time” which leaves us stuck. We could rather ask ourselves “what can I do in the limited time I have available”. It could be something as simple as relaxing in the bath, reading for half an hour or going for a walk.

Having a Positive Outlook  -  We are what we think!

Before you read any more I wonder if you would be willing to try this exercise:-

Close your eyes……….and in your imagination go back to an earlier time in your life when you had a negative experience. It could be a time when you were sad, angry or fearful.

Imagine being there now and playing a movie of what happened back then.
Notice what you are seeing… See all the images that are a part of that experience.
Now notice what sounds are a part of that experience…
As you re-live it, notice what you are saying to yourself.  And what you are feeling in your body.

Perhaps your breathing and heart rate have changed. Or you have an uncomfortable feeling in your heart center or stomach.

This exercise is to demonstrate how what you think, imagine and say to yourself affects your nervous system and your physical body.

Learn Mindfulness

Mindfulness is about paying attention in a particular way on purpose. And in the present moment. We pay attention to our thoughts, emotions and what we are experiencing in our body.

Being mindful creates awareness (consciousness). When we are aware we can choose how we want to respond to a situation even when our buttons are being pushed.

If you want to know more about these techniques contact me today

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