Everyone experiences butterflies in the stomach at one time or another. Certain situations or people can cause you to feel excited or nervous, which your body interprets as stress. Your body then starts releasing adrenalin and begins preparing for fight or flight, which can cause your body to sweat and your heart to pound. Your digestive system slows down or stops, and your bowels may attempt to empty themselves, which can lead to an upset stomach. The good news: By engaging in a few stress-reducing activities, you can ease the symptoms of nervousness to help calm your stomach without resorting to medications.
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Spend a few minutes deep-breathing and visualizing yourself as calm and centered. Lie on your back and slowly inhale and exhale through your nose instead of your mouth, if possible. As you breathe in slowly, fill the lower part of your chest first, then continue to the top of your chest. Hold your breath for a second or two and then slowly exhale. Repeat the process until you experience a calm, warm feeling.
Practice Hatha yoga if you have a tendency to overreact to excitement or anxiety. Hatha yoga is an ancient technique -- the most common type of yoga practiced in America -- which combines physical poses, which are known as asanas; controlled breathing, which is practiced along with the physical poses; and relaxation or meditation. Yoga helps train your body to react calmly rather than reflexively to stress.
Meditate to calm your mind and your body. Meditation focuses on finding the calm place inside you by focusing your mind and closing out the constant noise of the outside world. Find a quiet place to sit. Spend a few minutes deep breathing and keeping your attention on your breath while you let your body relax. Just sitting quietly with your eyes closed for 10 minutes can have a beneficial calming effect on your nervous stomach.
Lie down and listen to relaxing music, which has a mellowing effect on your body. Listen to whatever music soothes you. Keep in mind that rhythm is the most powerful aspect of music therapy. Listening to music with a fast rhythm tends to cause excitement, while focusing on music with a slowed-down rhythm helps your body -- and your stomach -- calm down.
Avoid eating foods that put stress on your digestive system or bowels when you are in anxious state. Eating too many fruits or vegetables or drinking fruit juice can disrupt your already stressed digestive system and bowels, resulting in diarrhea.
- Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publications: 7 Ways to Calm Your Upset Stomach
- Harvard Medical School: Harvard Health Publications: Yoga for Anxiety and Depression
- Pacific College of Oriental Medicine: A Beginner's Guide to Meditation and Yoga
- The Franklin Institute: The Human Brain: Renew - Relieve Stress