Social Anxiety & Digestive / Stomach / Gut Issues?

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Social anxiety is usually followed with an abdominal issue or condition with your stomach.

Growing up socially anxious I would be in and out of doctor’s offices because my stomach was always hurting. I would throw up, sometimes in my sleep and eventually had to get surgery to take my appendix out.

Looking back now I know anxiety is highly implicated with a number of digestive issues. It’s like that old saying of having butterflies in your stomach. Sometimes they float gently, other times it seems like a monster is ravaging inside of you.

In fact according to science researchers from the Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found a correlation between abdominal issues & pains and overall anxiety in a study.

You may notice in anxious moments at social events your stomach may feel weird and contribute toward more anxiety. It’s not just your stomach, you may notice it’s your muscles with an overall feeling of your body is tense.

Behavioral studies from the Department of Psychiatry at the Ohio State Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research has demonstrated that stressful events, depression and unhealthy meals work together to enhance inflammation. Which is quite alarming considering inflammation is the common link among the leading causes of death around the world. Additionally when it comes to mental health, we’re finding that anxiety & depression are often a symptom of chronic inflammation.

If you understand this you understand one of the the major keys to mental health then is not necessarily all about the brain and the mind, but also how the body comes in and interacts with our state of mind.

In my book Screw Being Shy, I talk about the worst time in my life in a subsection called “First my Gut Broke, then My Brain Broke.”

According to most research it actually turns out we develop health problems including mental health issues because of an ecosystem in our bodies called the gut microbiome. When it becomes unbalanced and enters dysbiosis, a lot of problems happen.

The Microbiome is what some are theorizing is the origin of the success of the human species. Our bodies have approximately 20,000-25,000 human genes that are expressed, the microbiome has 45 million bacterial genes. 

Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Regensburg in Germany recently conducted an international review of microbiome-gut-brain (MGB) clinical studies. Their paper, “'I Am I and My Bacterial Circumstances': Linking Gut Microbiome, Neurodevelopment, and Depression,” was published online ahead of print August 22 in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry.

"The main idea of our review is that there is strong communication between the GI tract and the brain and that changes to the microbiome-gut-brain axis could be associated with the etiology of different neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression.”

This research unveils the discovery of a new connection directly between the Gut & the Brain called the Vagus Nerve. Not only that but it is estimated that 90 percent of the body's serotonin is made in the digestive tract in our gut. Serotonin, is a key neurotransmitter implicated in many mental health issues including social anxiety and also controls your mood, digestion and sleep.

3 Ways to Manage Gut & Digestive Issues:

  1. Focus on Eating a Healthy Diet with Nutritious Foods. While no such thing as a universal healthy diet exists for everyone. We know consuming industrialized vegetable oils, sugars, and artifical chemicals found in most processed junk foods heavily disrupts your gut microbiome. Additionally, studies show people with social anxiety who eat more fermented and pickled foods also face decreased anxiety.

  2. Use your breath to gain mindful awareness. What you’ll realize is the more you focus on your breath, the more you’ll notice the butterflies in your stomach calm down. It’s not as simple as taking one deep breath, it’s building the habit to put your center of focus and attention on your breath flowing in and out of your body.

  3. Drink something called Olipop. I used to chug soda like it was water back in the day. I thought I would never drink soda again until I was randomly walking around Whole Foods and saw this product. Olipop isn’t just a soda that’s healthy, includes no sugar or artificial chemicals. Olipop is a functional soda. Which means when you drink it, you literally improve your gut microbiome. Olipop is made of over 7 natural herbs, plant fibers, botanicals that are backed by research to improve your gut, digestion and other health issues. This is one of the thing that I take where if I don’t drink this I notice a difference. Additionally, what makes Olipop unique is it very quickly calms your stomach down and eases any pressure or pain and tastes exactly like soda, not diet soda.

I’m also super grateful to announce Olipop is the sponsor of today’s newsletter & podcast episode. Check them out at Whole Foods, Wegmans or online using my special discount deal here: DRINKOLIPOP.com/MARK

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Can I help?

Over the last several years I’ve devoted my life to helping introverted, shy, socially anxious creators, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and professionals move these mental health obstacles out of their life so they can get busy being their real selves in front of anyone. If you are interested in potentially inquiring about my services for yourself or someone else, please fill out this form below. For the next steps, fill out this form - here

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