Physical reactions to anxiety are deeply and seemingly directly linked to our digestive system or our “gut” as many people say as a common indication of the distress. There is a long list of issues that begin high at our throat passageway to the stomach and end as we eliminate what we have eaten or otherwise “taken in.” Food, like anxiety is something we take into ourselves. The problem with anxiety is that we have to take some definitive actions to get rid of it. Nature does not remove anxiety without us taking an action.
Anxiety and the Stomach
There are so many ways that anxiety can show up in the stomach:
- As a fullness
- As an emptiness
- As nausea
- As bloating
- There may be burning feelings
- You might experience gas pains
- Embarrassing belching or burping may occur
- A feeling of too much acid in your stomach
- A sense of anxiousness
- A heavy feeling
- Or a rumbling in your stomach
- Pain may occur in the stomach or lower gut area
- You might have a nervous stomach (feels like “butterflies” inside you)
- Sweating and vomiting may occur
- Diarrhea can be an outcome
- Or constipation instead of a loose stool
- Chronic stomach or gut problems
Pain from the stomach can radiate out into your chest, back, shoulders, or hips. There is almost no area of the trunk of your body that is safe from discomfort when anxiety caused tension is located in or near your stomach. The important next step is to identify a way to overcome the issues of anxiety. The biggest problem is that any or all of these can continue for a long time if the anxiety itself is not eliminated. Do all that you can to avoid taking medicine for anxiety, as typically, medicine does not treat the anxiety, just the symptoms. Researchers have found that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), unlike medicine, gives long-term relief.1
You Have a Gut Feeling
Our emotions are deeply tied to our digestive system. We hold our anxiety inside our stomach more than any other part of our body. A common phrase is “a gut feeling” due to the close ties between our gut and our emotions. One of the first places that anxiety is tied to emotions is in our digestive tract due to the “fight or flight” syndrome that affects our stomach. We react instinctively when we are afraid and then run if we see danger heading toward us. When this happens at a time when no obvious danger is apparent, it is typically an anxiety disorder or a panic attack.
Training for Calmness not Medicine is the Answer
The only lasting solution to stomach problems as a result of anxiety is to have the training to reach the place of calm for your entire system. In other words, to rid your life of what is causing the anxiety. If you do not stop this irritation, you might go on to develop chronic stomach pain like ulcers. Stomach ulcers are a very serious problem on their own; ulcers can develop into stomach cancer. Do not put yourself in a position where your life is threatened by untreated anxiety. Seek the help you need now to overcome this long journey of pain and discomfort.
This Can Be Done!
You can overcome stomach problems caused by anxiety. We should be fully aware of the fact that our minds are the best tool for overcoming stomach problems related to anxiety. In 1974, I was given two months to live due to stomach ulcers and ulcerative colitis. I had been bleeding internally for months. I was unable to digest food; I was starving. The entire issue was anxiety over my chronically ill daughter. I got help and turned my attitude around. My stomach and colon healed. I know that you can do the same for yourself. Have a good journey to lasting health.
- Roshanaei-Moghaddam, Babak; Pauly, Michael C.; Atkins, David C.; Baldwin, Scott A.; Stein, Murray B.; Roy-Byrne, Peter, 2011. Relative effects of CBT and pharmacotherapy in depression versus anxiety: is medication somewhat better for depression, and CBT somewhat better for anxiety? Depression & Anxiety (1091-4269). Jul2011, Vol. 28 Issue 7, p560-567. 8p.
- Means-Christensen, A., Roy-Byrne, P., Sherbourne, S., Craske, M., and Stein, M. 2008. Relationships Among Pain, Anxiety, and Depression in Primary Care. Depression and Anxiety, Vol 25/7, pp 593-600.
McWilliams, L., Goodwin, R., and Cox, B. 2004. Depression and Anxiety With Three Pain Conditions Results from a Nationally Representative Sample. Pain, Vol 111/1-2, pp 77-83.