Think Better, Feel Better, Poop Better
How has your poop been lately?
If you haven’t been thinking much about your bowel movement quality, we understand. It isn’t the most obvious topic of discussion when you’re trying to figure out the optimal nutrition plan for changing your body composition or improving your athletic performance.
But poop health is important, and it’s something that the Working Against Gravity coaches frequently discuss with our clients.
One major factor that can prevent you from experiencing healthy bowel movements is being stressed.
You see, our gastrointestinal (GI) tract is directly connected to our nervous system . Our brain and gut are constantly communicating. Even just thinking about eating can release the stomach’s juices before the food arrives!
In addition, sadness, anger, and anxiety can all trigger symptoms in our gut.
Have you ever felt so anxious that you couldn’t eat or you were frequently rushing to the toilet? This is because blood flow and enzyme production in your gut are limited when your brain perceives stress. Your GI tract slows down to focus on dealing with the stress, which can lead to constipation, bloating and indigestion.
Thus, your GI distress (including poor bowel movements) could be the product of your thoughts. This is especially true in cases where you experience GI upset with no obvious physical cause.
So what can we do to improve our thoughts, reduce our stress levels and thereby improve our poop?
Research shows that some people with GI issues might find relief using therapy for stress reduction. A review of 13 studies showed that patients who tried psychologically based approaches saw better improvement in their GI issues compared with those who only received conventional medical treatment. 
Pay Attention to Your Language
Another powerful tool to reduce stress is to pay closer attention to your language (both in your thoughts and spoken out loud).
Mark England is the founder of a company called Procabulary which teaches people tools to change their language and reduce stress levels. With our language, Mark says, we influence “what we envision (our imagination), what we feel (the emotions and feelings we create and generate), how we breathe (language and word choice massively influences breath response), and physical movement.” .
Meditation and Mindfulness
By paying closer attention to your thoughts, you might notice stories your mind is telling about a stressful event or trigger. But for a situation to trigger stress, we must perceive that situation as stressful.
In other words, it is our thoughts that produce stress, rather than actual events or circumstances. Using mindfulness meditation to change how you perceive stress-inducing events can help reduce your overall stress levels and improve your GI health.
Other Stress Reduction Techniques
In addition to therapy, consider implementing stress-reducing techniques such as yoga, walks in nature, drinking hot tea, or any of the other ideas in this blog.
If you notice that your bowel movements haven’t been great lately, take an honest self-assessment of the stress in your life, and try out those tools above for reducing chronic stress!
Remove the Stress of Nutrition Uncertainty
You know what they say: knowledge is power.
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Love what you learned but still want more guidance and support? Hire a 1:1 coach who will get to know you, your lifestyle and your unique needs and create results that you can sustain long-term. If you're not quite ready to go all-in on hiring a coach, check out our Macro Calculation Cheat Sheet & 18 Tracking Tips and Tricks for macro counting!
-  Nervous System of the Digestive System. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/nervous-system-of-the-digestive-system/
-  The gut-brain connection. (n.d.). Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection.
-  Petranek, A. (n.d.). 92: Mark England — The Surprising Tool You Already Have to Change Your Life. Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.wholelifechallenge.com/92-mark-england-the-surprising-tool-you-already-have-to-change-your-life/