Anxiety is a common feeling we all go through and it impacts our physiology in different ways. The stress that anxiety puts on your body can lead to a number of different issues. One of the more common among them is stomach pain.
Stomach pain that can possibly arise from anxiety may feel like following:
- “butterflies” in the stomach
- tightness, churning, cramping, knots in the stomach
- feeling like throwing up, vomiting
- shaking, shivering, twitching of stomach muscles
- frequent flatulence
- stomach upset, nausea, or queasiness
- indigestion, or rapid fullness when eating
- warmth, fluttering, or bloated feeling in pit of stomach
- increased urination and bowel movements
When Is Such a Stomach Pain Most Likely to Occur?
Stomach pain isn’t an illness in itself but can often arise from many underlying triggers. Anxiety being the most common of all. Many people also experience stomach pain during panic attacks.
The exact link between an anxiety attack and stomach pain is still not completely clear, other than the fact that during a panic attack, your body is under a considerable amount of stress, and your hormones are often dancing up and down. Also, people experiencing anxiety attacks are susceptible to hyperventilation, which may cause symptoms that lead to stomach pain.
The physiological concerns arising due to psychological or emotional disturbances are also known as psychosomatic symptoms, which means the brain and body are connected closely and they influence each other. Hence, it is likely to feel the above-mentioned symptoms to some extent.
Treatment: How to deal with this?
Though symptoms such as stomach pain are often psychosomatic, you may need to just drink warm water, do deep belly breathing and wait it out. However, if the problem persists it might be helpful to make some lifestyle changes to reduce stomach pain arising from anxiety.
Some useful ways to alleviate stomach pain are:
#1 Try natural or home-made remedies-
Certain natural herbs can ease a nervous stomach at the time it occurs.
Chew a piece of root, drink ginger tea, eat ginger candy, or sip some ginger ale with real ginger in it for benefit.
Other herbs, like spearmint, peppermint, lavender, or lemon balm, are also known to help. These herbs may stop spasms and tightening of smooth muscle that cause stomach butterflies, flatulence, cramps, and upset stomachs.
#2 Practice deep breathing, mindfulness, and meditation-
Mental exercises help you focus on your breath and help you come back to the present moment. Practicing some forms of breathing and mindfulness can help you stay grounded and manage stress and anxiety that cause a nervous stomach. Deep breaths can be especially helpful.
If you like meditation or have any other mental tricks that calm you down, definitely give them a try. Also don’t wait until next time you feel anxious to practice breathing, instead make it a part of your daily routine.
#3 Try therapy-
If such stomach pain and other symptoms are frequently experienced, seeking help from a psychiatrist or therapist may help you make changes to reduce the stress and anxiety in your life. No one can eliminate stress completely, but a therapist can definitely help you identify ways to cope better when you do experience such symptoms.
#4 Eating habits-
It is often a good idea to limit or eliminate foods that can worsen a nervous stomach. These may vary among individuals, but common foods include dairy products and caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, chocolate, soda, and tea. Avoid emotional , binge eating.
#5 Stress Relieving Activities-
Engaging in hobbies or activities you like to pursue such as journaling, taking a walk or listening to instrumental music can help distract you for a while from your symptoms of anxiety and make you feel better.
Sometimes, you may also find that you can relieve stress by reducing the number of commitments in your daily schedule.
“Genius is the one who knows where to STOP.”
#6 Find a space for yourself to relax-
Lastly, find time and space for yourself to clear your head and take control of your nervousness, even if it must be total alone time. Don’t be afraid to excuse yourself if needed, even from an important event. If talking to a friend, family member, or love one helps, do so during this time. Talking with someone you trust can help you overcome anxiety.
To summarize, anxiety is a complex disorder which can undeniably affect your body in a number of ways. Hence, it would be helpful to identify what you might be experiencing in your stomach with the help of the symptoms mentioned above and treat it in the right way.
It is normal for all of us to experience symptoms of a nervous stomach. However, if the problem persists and gets worse over time, it would be wise for you to consider more long-term treatment options such as consulting a doctor or psychiatrist.
*Note : This article is just to help its readers understand the link between mental and physical health and it can not substitute medical advice. Please consult the nearest emergency service or consult with a doctor, psychiatrist for a deeper evaluation of your subjective condition.
- Cherry, R. (n.d.). Understanding the link between stress and stomach aches in children.