Weighty Matters

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Stress and Stomach Issues

on February 12, 2014

You know how some people get stomach pains or other gut issues when they’re stressed out? I was never one of those people. I’m fairly sure that’s because I filled my stomach with food when I was stressed. Eating to suppress feelings is common behavior.

I bring this up tonight because I’ve had a funky stomach for most of the day. Around noon time I really started feeling bad and thought I either had an impending attack of food poisoning or that I was coming down with some sort of stomach bug. I ended up leaving work and coming home. When I got here I pretty much stretched out on the recliner for awhile without any energy — not unlike a starfish on a rock at low tide. After dozing in the chair for awhile, I roused myself enough to move to the bedroom for another hour.

After a couple of hours, I realized that whatever was bothering my stomach wasn’t progressing. I just continued to feel crappy without actually getting sick. Instead, it felt like I could feel my pulse in my stomach which was achy and annoying. It took awhile for me to figure it out.

I had a very stressful morning over a particular situation. I can’t go into the details but it was no small thing. Nothing that at the moment I could shrug, be philosophical about, and just let go. The more I thought about the whole unfolding of the situation and my reaction, the more I realized that it affected me emotionally to the point that the emotions manifested themselves into physical symptoms.

No lie. Part of me is completely confident that a milkshake will absolve the discomfort. Part of me knows that the milkshake will not absolve a damned thing. It will only be a counterirritant in that it will actually make me sick which would most likely distract me from the stressful situation.

Tonight I think I’m still more stressed out than not and that’s why my stomach is still knotted up and achy. It’s a good reminder of the importance of developing better methods of dealing with stressful situations so that the anxiety doesn’t create physical discomfort. By better, it goes without saying I don’t mean using excess food. Numbing or stuffing down the feelings are not effective methods and do more harm than good. For me, I think I’m going to draw a hot bath and soak some of it away.

What’s your favorite method for coping with stress?

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2 responses to “Stress and Stomach Issues

  1. Hope says:

    I find a long walk helps. Or herbal tea.

  2. Skye says:

    When I’m doing better, I find that going for a walk helps. I used to walk off stress and upset all the time. I’ll bet you’d find physical exertion helpful. Picking weeds and digging holes in the garden used to work, too. Of course, nowadays I’m not doing so well at the whole coping with stress thing, but I am aiming for it. Also, breathing meditation where you just sit comfortably and breathe for 5-20 minutes, paying attention to your breathing. I haven’t managed more than 10 minutes at best, but it does help.

    And my stress generally manifests in my stomach, so I sympathize. Hope the situation gets better.

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