10 Mar 4 Mindful Practices to Reduce Stress + Anxiety
Simply put, stress pokes holes in your gut. And when your gut is damaged, toxins, undigested food particles and other foreign microorganisms leak through into your body and wreak havoc. In a healthy gut, your good bacteria position themselves on your gut wall, to protect you from these foreign organisms. But good bacteria easily become depleted due to unhealthy stress and anxiety. This leads to a dangerous cycle of gut dysfunction.
The gut is referred to as the second brain (I like to argue it is the first :D). Did you know the gut actually produces 80% of your neurotransmitters? Think serotonin and dopamine, those feel good chemical responses.
The brain of your gut, or the nervous system, serves as a constant communication infrastructure for the immune system. Your immune system sits on the other side of your gut wall, just one cell layer away from everything that moves through your gut (and 70-80% of your immune system is located in the gut!). If those toxins, undigested food particles and other foreign microorganisms leak through your gut wall, an immune system response is activated.
So when you have leaky gut or gut dysfunction, the brain of the gut diverts its attention to coordinate the responses of the immune system and compensates for many other imbalances that occur as a result. Normal everyday functions get affected.
Some of the nutrients essential for neurotransmitter production are the first ones depleted in a non-absorbing, dysfunctioning gut (such as magnesium, b vitamins, calcium, and potassium). These nutrients need to be available for nerve cells to manufacture and release neurotransmitters. And if they are not, you may be experiencing unhealthy stress responses, anxiety and even depression.
But how you respond to the stress and anxiety of life determines how they will impact you. They shouldn’t always be looked at as bad. By building up your gut and other internal defenses, you will see your responses make a positive shift.
Here are 5 mindful practices I do daily to help support healthy stress responses, reduce anxiety and boost gorgeous gut health:
1. DR. ANDREW WEIL’S 4-7-8 BREATHING TECHNIQUE | Breathing is the foundation of all things. Once I found my breath, I started to figure out my true self. The fog of stress and anxiety was no longer there. I could hear my thoughts clearly and make sound decisions. You cannot be in a state of stress and relaxation at the same time. Do this consistently and you will be able to control your stress and anxiety with every breath. It only takes a few minutes to do!
Learn how to do it here: http://gorgeousgut.com/the-most-effective-anti-anxiety-stress-technique/
2. CLEAN UP YOUR GUT | Life stems from its roots. Cleaning up your gut allows you to listen and live from your gut. Plus, it is the home of nearly 100 million neurons. Boost your good bacteria with probiotics through fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir, or a quality probiotic supplement every day. In addition, boost your gut health, immune system, the function of both your brains and detoxification by eating mindfully. By chewing thoroughly, in a relaxed state, you are able to extract more nutrients (and energy) from food.
3. DEFINE YOUR MEDITATION PRACTICE | There is no right or wrong way to meditate. The best way to meditate is to do so in a way that allows you to tap into a peaceful, nonjudgemental state of mind, to see your thoughts and deepen the loving relationship with yourself. You may start meditating while journaling, walking, doing yoga, taking a bath, listening to music and even cooking. There are many different types of meditation and these may be a gateway into a deeper practice. So start small and start now. Two minutes every day is more effective than 15 minutes just 3 days a week.
4. SHIFT YOUR BRAINWAVES WITH BINAURAL BEATS | Over the past month, I have been relaxing to binaural beats with my mediation practice. Binaural beats are tones that shift your brainwaves. They can be relaxing or stimulating, depending on the frequency of the binaural beat acceleration. They may also induce creativity and focus, or can be used as a sleeping aid. I have enjoyed the free binaural beats’ videos on youtube and through apps. There are lots of options, plus different settings you can choose from.
Experimentation and consistency are key!
Gut function information sourced from Clean Gut by Alejandro Junger, M.D.