When you are stressed out, your body goes into “fight or flight” mode which means all of your blood goes to your muscles so you can either fight or run away. This slows down digestion or stops it completely making it very difficult to properly digest your meal. Stress has impact on your digestion, so it is important to make sure you are calm before, during and after your meal.
4 Things You Can Do To Lower Stress While Eating
1. Take a moment to be quiet before eating. Before you enjoy your meal, take a moment to slow down your breathing to shift into the “rest and digest” state. This can be done by closing your eyes and taking several slow and deep calming breaths.
2. Eat in a calm environment at the table. Oftentimes people are pressed for time and end up eating on the go or working through their lunch. When you are eating while distracted, your digestion is inefficient and you are likely to miss the “I’m full” signal making you more likely to overeat. Next time you sit down to a meal, give yourself some quiet time to de-stress and enjoy your food.
3. Pause between bites to explore the tastes and textures of your food. Sometimes while we are eating we get caught up on the unconscious fork to mouth movement and stop really paying attention to what we are putting in our mouths. Take the time to put down your fork and pause in between bites. During this pause use your senses and enjoy the taste, textures and smell of your meal.
4. Remember to breathe. Recently I noticed that I hardly breathe while I’m eating! It’s a wonderful idea to pause mid-bite and take a nice big breath. It will help keep your stress levels down so you can properly digest your food. If you find your heart rate has increased or you are feeling stressed or anxious during a meal, it’s a good idea to take a quick break to breathe and calm yourself down.
Do you need help getting your digestion back on track?
I have struggled with IBS in the past and now it is one of the main focuses of my practice. If you are having issues with your digestion I would love to help you out. Eating the proper foods for your body at the right times can help relieve bloating, gas and digestive upset. If you are interested in improving your digestion, book an appointment with me by calling 416.909.2334.
Read more about Jesse Lane Schelew, our resident holistic nutritionist.