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How Stress Affects Our Ability to Digest Food

Stress is so obvious in modern life! We may not be able to even imagine a human life without stress. Stress has become a universally common phenomenon. The moment we wake up, a new stress cycle begins. Today’s world is a pretty safe place. There is no danger lurking at every step. But the human body, designed for the life-and-death situations our ancestors faced continuously during their hunting days or even earlier, keeps reacting just like in those days.

The changes that impact digestion adversely originate not in the stomach, but in the brain. When the brain senses an emergency, it shuts off or drastically reduces the blood supply to the muscles involved in the digestion, which it classifies as being of secondary importance in such a situation. In ancient times, such a response used to be a temporary happening. Things would return to normal soon and no one would even notice any change in the digestion pattern. Now the stress factor is in operation all the time. So symptoms showing malfunctioning of the digestion track become common.

The origin of stress

When some brain chemicals like serotonin are modified, they affect your mood. They are also a part of the network that sends signals to the gut. Low serotonin creates stress. But stress too lowers the serotonin level, creating digestion problems.
The body responds to a stressful situation by producing chemicals, whose job is to fight for survival. The adrenal glands secrete hormones called cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine. These are meant to achieve a short burst of energy and heightened clarity about the imminent danger. This fight-or-flight chemical response did save the ancient human beings every day from danger. Although such situations are almost non-existent today, the human body continues to react the same old way.

Pressures of modern life
The reasons behind the common stress we live with today include reaching the workplace late, not getting enough sleep, disagreements among the family members, health and financial problems and an inability to bond with the colleagues. Such stress is almost always chronic. You can never get rid of it completely. Something will always keep going wrong and you will hardly ever have a stress-free day.
But our body continues to respond like it did thousands of years back in the life-and-death situations. It cannot distinguish between the levels of danger posed by the different stressful situations. Thus, the modern human being is almost always in the fight or flight mode. That is bad for the body, especially for the digestion.

Sensitive digestive track
The human digestive tract is hypersensitive to any change. You modify your diet or start sleeping at different hours, your digestive system will respond to the change in different ways. Thus, anxiety and stress keep affecting the digestive behavior of the body all the time. This has been more or less accepted by everybody, so much so that most people are not aware of the anxiety-digestion equation.

The fight or flight response leads to the production of adrenaline on a large scale. This makes it possible for the body to marshal extra energy. Adrenaline mobilizes this energy from the glycogen in the sugar stores. The body processes nutrients at high rates, which is not good for it.

Cortisol effects
It may not be realistic to list all of the ways by which stress affects the digestion. Stress maintains high cortisol levels in the body throughout the day. These high cortisol levels

  • Raise blood sugar
  • Weaken the immune function and delay the healing or repair processes
  • Upset the hormonal balance
  • Create more depression and anxiety.
  • Change the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and reduce the secretion of digestive juices.
  • Cause inflammation and inhibit the regenerative ability of the intestinal lining.
  • Spasms in the esophagus.
  • Increase acid in the stomach leading to indigestion.
  • Produce the feeling of nausea.
  • Cause diarrhea or constipation.

The bacteria in the intestine are good and bad. The good ones help you to digest the food. Good and bad bacteria must be in the right proportion. Good bacteria are ‘good’ when they are confined to their goodness by the other good bacteria. If the bacterial balance changes, the stomach becomes a victim. Stress affects this bacterial balance and thereby prevents proper digestion and leads to digestive problems.

Sleep deprivation
Apart from stress, a lack of sleep too can lead to the digestive problems. Sleep keeps the body at an optimum energy level. This ensures that the movement of food is at the right pace and the body’s hormone and enzyme production is normal. However, stress makes it harder to sleep. Sleep deprivation means more physical stress and digestive problems. The increased acids in the stomach have an adverse impact on the food digestion. They modify the food in the intestines and spell more stress. Indigestion produces gas, pain and discomfort. Gas causes chest pain, which triggers the stress attacks.
Thus, chronic stress routinely plays havoc with the digestive system. The symptoms of long-time stress include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea or constipation. It can lead to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in which cramps, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation and diarrhea may occur in varying intensities.

Stress management
There are, of course, ways to manage stress in order to maintain proper digestion and keep your body healthy. Probably the best and the easiest way to do so is physical exercise. This releases the endorphins, relieves stress and changes your mood into a more cheerful one. Jogging is also very effective in dealing with stress.
Other ways to reduce stress include:

  • Yoga, meditation, music, biofeedback and hypnosis.
  • Talking with friends and loved ones about your stress. Talking with a therapist produces better results. Mental health professionals can teach new coping skills.
  • Eating healthy foods, avoiding overeating and junk food and eating foods that are easy to digest.
  • Rejecting smoking or alcohol to ease stress
  • Rejecting drugs to deal with stress.
  • Ensuring you get a sound sleep of 8 hours each day.
  • Cultivating a social life so that you do not end up inside your house most of the time.

There is no way we can eliminate stress from the modern life. All that we can try and do is to protect ourselves from it by adopting various options suitable for us. We have to modify our eating habits and lifestyle suitably to ensure that we eat healthy and exercise continuously to be able to lead a stress-free life and to have a smooth digestion.

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What is a Wellness Coach and What do they do?

A Comfortable relationship with coach is the key to success

Learning anything is never easy. If you try to learn something on your own, the process becomes more difficult and takes much longer. Persons who are neither curious nor endowed with the ability to reason out the things never learn much because many ideas connected with the subject they are learning do not occur to them at all.

Learning through books too is not easy. It becomes a prolonged process because even single ideas could take you long to grasp, understand and assimilate. And with books, you will go at your own pace. Going by the instinctive tendency of most human beings to keep the things in limbo, more often than not, you will tend to go much slower than when an expert in the subject is guiding you.

The coach teaches you everything

Wellness coaches are much more than a coach for a sporting or physical activity. The sports coach looks after your body, trains your body to perform at the peak of its ability, keeps improving the ability of the body by feeding it with the optimum mix of nutrients and motivates you to produce your best even in the most adverse situations.

Wellness coaches take this attitude to every problem in life and enable you to fight them. They may or may not tell you what to eat. They may or may not prescribe you an exercise schedule. But they will assess your mental capacities, the strength of your character, your inclinations and preferences, your emotional responses, your weaknesses and your fears. They will assess how your physical assets match these qualities. They will work towards improving the fitness levels of both your body and mind.

You got to trust them wholeheartedly
You have to trust them with all your innermost ideas, desires and dreams. The wellness coaches will then help you make the right choices that will have a positive impact on every sphere of your life. They will motivate you to work and attain these aims. It will be their goal to guide you, persuade, coax and compel you to work towards achieving what you, as a complete human entity, wish to achieve and can achieve.

But a wellness coach is not a mental healthcare professional. Although wellness coaches are well aware of the psychological problems like depression and anxiety, they are not experts in those fields. If they find that you are affected by any of these, they will advise you to consult a psychiatrist or a health professional that will help you overcome the problem with counseling and medications. They will know the experts in these respective fields and will advise you on selecting the one who is the right one for you.

Life is full of problems
A survey by the American College of Sports Medicine has found that “educated and experienced fitness professionals” constitute the most important fitness trend, having jumped from the third to the first place within a span of just one year. Personal trainers rose from the seventh to the third place.

People wish to live well. But in stark reality, they face several mental and physical health problems every day because of the combined effects of “overeating, under-exercising and having too little downtime.” So wellness coaches are becoming increasingly popular.

They do what our elders used to do earlier

Normally, such guidance should come to most of you through your parents and grandparents. They know you the best. They wish the best for you. And they know how to motivate you. But with the changing social ways and norms, this is progressively becoming more and more difficult, if not impossible. Now the grandparents hardly have a tender bond with the grandchildren. The parents may or may not have sufficient quality time for the children. And they could be too engrossed in their own life to be able to guide their children along the right lines.

So, most youngsters now need a wellness coach at some phase of life. They may need help in knowing how to trumpet their good points, on how to improve their career prospects, how to balance the demands with the available time, how to decide about the complex issues or how to lead a life without too much of stress.

Open up your mind
This means you have to depend on a professional coach. You have to spend a lot of time with this person. And you have to open out your mind to them so that they can help you in the best possible way. You also have to trust them totally. So the person you select as your wellness coach should be similar to you in some ways. You should be able to strike a relationship that is comfortable in every way.

You should also have the confidence that the coach will help you to realize your potential. And the coach should be a person with a vision that inspires you. The coach should be able to charge you up with energy and determination. The coach should be inspiring.

The coach and the coached-Realistic goals
The coach will set a periodic goal that is realistic. They encourage you to do your utmost during the period and assess the results. The goals do not overawe you. You feel them to be challenging, but attainable. The coaches motivate you to put in sufficient effort. They will modify the program if the results are not along the expected lines. They will praise you and move on if you achieve the results. One important aspect of the working of the coach is that you begin to feel accountable and realize that you have to keep improving all the time.

Respond positively all the time
Trust is a major part of the coach-pupil relationship. You have to accept without reservations that whatever the coach says is for your good and the coach wants you to do it because you can do it. You must respond positively to all such calls for intense efforts and justify the coach’s confidence in you. The coach has the knowledge. You have the energy to do well. Coaches have to wield their knowledge with care and concern for you so that you emerge as a polished, bright figure in every way.

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Advantages of Life Coaching :Getting a Better Way of living

We all want to lead a happy life. The great purpose of our lives is to be happy. What satisfaction really means is special to every last one of us, and more individuals are swinging to a Life Coach to help them find significantly more bliss in their life. A Life Coach can give novel esteem by serving to reflect your actual self-unjudged by the qualities, contemplations, and perspectives of someone else

Google CEO Eric Schmidt , quote about life coaching like this,

“Everybody needs a coach. every famous athlete, every famous performer, has somebody who’s a coach… someone who can help them see themselves as others see them.”

The top advantages of Life coaching are:

Clear sense about what you need, why you need it, and how you can get it.

Once in a while we know precisely where it is we need to run with our lives, and once in a while we know we aren’t glad, however don’t know why. Life Coaching will advantage you by helping you to set objectives you truly need to accomplish, by recognizing what you could do, ought to do, should would and truly like to do.

When you make a perfect objective – something you truly need – you are more prone to make a move to accomplish it. A Life Coach lives up to expectations with you to make an orderly arrangement – a dynamic, workable arrangement empowering you to accomplish your fantasies.

Overcoming any and all hardships between where you are presently and where you need to be

I genuinely accept that on the off chance that you do what you have constantly done, you will get what you have dependably got and to get where you truly need to get you have to do something else. Life Coaching will help you find what you have to do another way and bolster you in your accomplishments.

Procedures and systems which help you to achieve your objective quicker

A Life Coach has numerous instruments and procedures to rapidly draw out the route forward for you. Through coaching, you will find a larger number of alternatives than you believed were conceivable. Mentors will utilize insightful and testing inquiries to help you choose which way is the right one. Having settled on what moves you have to make, the mentor will guarantee that you are 100% dedicated to accomplishing them, and help you manage any obstructions in transit.

Overcome Impediments, low certainty and Insecurities

We all have considerations and assessments about our capacities, going ahead inside our head always. This is normally known as your ‘self talk’. Frequently our self-talk lets us know what we can’t do, why we can’t do it, and the most dire outcome imaginable on the off chance that we attempted – these contemplations are called ‘restricting convictions’ and they stop you making headway. They are contemplations we have about ourselves that are all the time in view of no specific actuality. They are developed after some time from what we are told amid youth, educating and grown-up life. We regularly acquire restricting convictions from family, companions, educators and our associates.

Your constraining convictions can give you low certainty and insecurities and regularly get to be deterrents to accomplishing what you physically can accomplish. Life Coaching will help reveal these convictions and through determination and time you can overcome them. Your mentor will help you with methodologies and strategies to use to change your musings into more positive ones that will empower you to get up and go.

Investigate and assess every single conceivable choice available

Keeping in mind the end goal to accomplish your objective you have to take a few activities, however which are the right ones for you? At the point when working with your Life Coach, you will be acquainted with apparatuses that will help you find a greater number of choices than you believed were conceivable. You will have the capacity to assess the advantages and disadvantages of every in connection to accomplishing your objective, yet critically to guarantee that the activity fits well with your qualities and convictions and your entire life. You’ll have the capacity to go after more and keep up a healthy lifestyle while doing it. You’ll have more opportunity for individuals and things you esteem, so you’ll feel more satisfied.

Devoted time, bolster, Encouragement and Inspiration

How incredible would it be to have somebody 100% committed to helping you accomplish your fantasy. A Life Coach gives you this committed time; they support you, praise triumphs with you and help persuade you along the way. How regularly do you talk with a companion around an issue and it winds up being about them and what they did. Your Life Coach is just intrigued by you, your objective and supporting you to arrive.

Lastly… Life Coaching is an interest in your future joy; the venture is in respect to an exercise center enrollment, suppers out or a weekend abroad – all of which bring you transient addition. The enormous distinction is that Life Coaching is going to outfit you with apparatuses and strategies that you can utilize over and over.

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