Have you ever felt super stressed while eating and then had a stomach ache afterward? How often do you feel completely at ease when you have a meal, not thinking or worrying about what something that gets your heart rate up (ie. your workload, the fact that the cat got out again, the traffic in front of you while you snack in the car, or even feeling guilty about the food you’re eating in that moment)? If you are a human being in the modern world, my guess is that it may not be often that you aren’t feeling a little stressed during your meals.
Stress Less to Digest Better
When you stress, your body releases hormones that activate your “flight-or-fight” system, which stalls digestion. This can decrease your insulin sensitivity and cause some problems if it occurs chronically, it can lead to blood sugar imbalance, chronic diseases (obesity, diabetes, etc.), immune function suppression, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and poor digestion….
So how do you avoid this and relax? SIMPLE WAYS:
- Sit down and stay a while. Don’t eat on the go
- Chew slowly. Focus on your food (ie. not all of the tasks you need to do that stress you out)
- Breathe before your meal. Take deep, full breaths. All the way down to your belly. Try elongating the space between the inhales and exhales.
- Breathe while you eat. Put your fork down between bites. How are you feeling? How does your food taste?
- Breathe after your meal. Can you tell if breathing is important?
- Practice gratitude for your food before, during, after you eat. Think about the hands it took to grow, transport, and prepare your food. Appreciate the gesture you are making to nourish your body.
- Get rid of guilt or shame. Nobody can or should eat 100% only “healthy” foods. (The definition is healthy for every body.) Allow yourself to enjoy your food and the opportunity you may have had to nourish your heart and soul if it wasn’t uber healthy. And move on. Don’t dwell in negative feelings.
By taking the time to slow down and activate that “rest and digest”, or relaxation, system, your body takes the time to focus on breaking down your food and absorbing it optimally into your cells.
I hope this helps!
Love, Lucy :)