I would like to address a problem today that you may not be fully aware of.
It’s the idea that we use our minds and emotions to cause ourselves constipation, rather than curing it forever.
Emotional stress can actually become a HABIT that leads to chronic constipation.
Let me ask you a question:
Have you ever found yourself stressed out because you were struggling to complete a simple bowel movement?
Of course… we all have. We’ve all been there so many times that the question doesn’t need to be asked.
But, the question I want to answer is “Could stress be CAUSING your constipation?
First I want to show you how stress effects our digestive system and then I want to fill you in on an ugly truth that I’m sure you’re totally unaware of right now just like I was for so many years.
It’s something that took me on the expressway to curing my digestive problems. In fact, it’s the same story with lots of other people who have overcome their constipation.
But first, how on Earth does stress directly effect your ability to defecate with ease?
Your digestion is controlled by the enteric nervous system. This system is made up of millions of nerves that communicate back and forth with the central nervous system. When you start to stress your central nervous system shuts down your digestion because it wants to shut down blood flow so it can pump it to other parts of the body it feels will need it. Not only that, stress inhibits the contractions of your digestive muscles, and dries up certain important secretions; creating the perfect recipe for constipation.
It doesn’t stop there
Your esophagus can begin to spasm and your stomach can shut down or produce too much acid which causes painful indigestion. In the majority of cases, the ‘gastrocolic reflex’, which is an unconscious process the gastrointestinal tract takes before passing a bowel movement, is deeply interfered with (even completely repressed!).
And this is only for LOW LEVELS of stress!
Higher levels of stress can cause even more serious problems ranging from completely SUPPRESSING the urge to move your bowels which results in painful straining to pass larger stools, to enlarged hemorrhoids and inflammatory BOWEL DISEASE.
I wonder what all this does to one’s life-span? (clue: it doesn’t make it longer!)
Now I want to tell you about one of the scariest things I have discovered about stress.
I’ve interacted with many people who have had personalities that were full of stress and a lot of them had no idea they were even stressed!
Gabor Maté, the author of many best-selling books such as ‘When The Body Says No – Exploring The Stress-Disease Connection’, wrote in that very book, “Medical thinking usually sees stress as highly disturbing but isolated events such as, for example, sudden unemployment, a marriage breakup or the death of a loved one. These major events are potent sources of stress for many, but there are chronic daily stresses in people’s lives that are more insidious and more harmful in their long-term biological consequences.” Maté goes on to say, “Both animals and people can experience stress with no awareness of its presence”
There’s no doubt in my mind that a lot of people with constiaption have chronic stress which is an “activation of the stress mechanisms over long periods of time when a person is exposed to stressors that cannot be escaped either because she does not recognize them or because she has no control of them.”
I used to always think that, ‘Sure, I’ve got my stressful moments in my life from time to time, such as in my relationships, talking to my boss, my self-image and making sure I’m on top of things in my life. But that’s just an everyday thing.’
It wasn’t just an every day thing, it was an every hour thing.
Once I worked on getting the stress out of my body and developing techniques to not just manage my stress but to minimize it radically, I started noticing that nearly everyone who were constipation and trying to overcome it had the VERY SAME stress problem.
See, what I’ve discovered is that we tense and hold our stress sub-consciously, and to un-tense and relax we need to that consciously and make it habitual. We’re holding on to stress without even knowing we’re doing it.
It’s not our fault either!
We’re so caught up in so many distractions during the day that we find it hard to listen and be AWARE of our body. Most peoples lives are getting more and more hectic with technological advances and demands that we’re taught to not notice how we really feel emotionally and the way those feelings express themselves in the body (tension or relaxation).
This is why so many people ‘get away’ from their normal surroundings and go on a weekend retreat somewhere to detox and un-wind. They need to be taught consciously how to relax.
The difficulty is that there are so many reasons why we stress… and no one ever taught you in school how to deal with stress and how to let it go so you act with EASE throughout the day.
So what kind of stress could you still be holding on to in your body?…
- How’s your relationship with your parents (whether they’re still alive or not)?
- Do you have any financial stressors?
- How’s your intimate relationship going?
- Do you truly love yourself or are you suffer from low self-esteem?
- Depressed at all?
- How much does your constipation frustrate you?
- How was your childhood?
- Do you feel loved?
…These sources of stress are just a small fragment in the full scope of stressors.
And it doesn’t matter what the ‘source’ of the stress is, the body will tense no matter what!
Especially the digestive system.
Kenneth Koch, MD, professor of medicine, section on gastroenterology and medical director of the Digestive Health Center at Wake Forrest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, confirms that “Stress can affect every part of the digestive system”.
Researcher DM Tucker discovered in very precise experiments that personality was a better predictor of stool output than anything else.
You could say that up-tight people can develop into a tight-ass… literally.
I want to give you a quick techniques that have helped me to instantly get out of stressful states and into complete relaxation…
I call it “Focused Breath”. Simply it is this: sit in a quiet spot, close your eyes, and put your awareness just on your breath. Don’t control your breath in any way, just allow it to do it’s inhale and exhale. Consciously concentrate on your breath completely. Thoughts and worries will start to arise as your mind will want to begin chattering away. That’s ok. Just re-focus your attention back to the breath.
I like to do this for 5 to 10 minutes every morning when I wake up. I have had a massive response from people who have took the time in the morning to practice “Focused Breath” saying that it totally transformed their day. In fact, they can’t wait until they have spare time in the afternoon to find a quiet spot and practice even more.
If you want to overcome your constipation for good (I have a gut-feeling you do!), I’ve laid out the whole process in my blog “Full No More”. It contains step-by-step guides and all the most important information you NEED TO KNOW to be free of your constipation!