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Easy Stress Management for a Healthier Gut

Ever been told that your gut issues are all in your head? Frustrating, right?The same thing happened to me when I was struggling with constipation and bloat. I just wanted someone to tell me what was wrong and what I needed to do about it! Hearing “it’s all in your head” was so invalidating and annoying.

Maybe you can relate, and that’s why you’re here! I’m so glad. 🙂

Have you ever heard of the gut-brain connection? Your gut issues may actually be “in your head” – BUT in a different way than you think. I have good news: there’s something you can do about it!

The gut-brain connection refers to the superhighway of communication between the gut and the brain. These two centers are connected by something called the vagus nerve. This pathway is bidirectional (AKA, like a 2-way street) meaning that the brain communicates with the gut, and the gut communicates back with the brain!

So, even if your gut issues are “all in your head,” you can manage your constipation and bloat by focusing on stress management since your brain sends signals to your gut.

Ever had a gut-wrenching experience? This used to happen to me right before the “beep” went off at a swim meet. Ready to communicate, my nervous mind would send butterflies to my stomach. This is the perfect example of the gut-brain connection and something everyone has experienced in one way or another!

A calm gut starts with a calm mind. Here are three stress management tips to help improve your digestive symptoms:

  1. 4-7-8 Breathing. This breathing exercise is simple, yet effective. Try this 3-4 times before eating a meal or when you start feeling stressed throughout the day. Here’s how it goes:
    • Breathe in for 4 seconds
    • Hold for 7 seconds
    • Breathe out for 8 seconds
  2. Yoga. Yoga is an amazing, calming activity to center your body and relax digestion. Try 15 minutes of a calming yoga flow, or yoga for digestion like this one .
  3. Get morning sunshine. Did you know that ten minutes of sun can help set your circadian rhythm and improve stress response? It can improve sleep, too!

Let me know in the comments if you decide to try any of these tips out! It’s time to lower that stress, so you can digest – an easy rhyme to remember.


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Hi, I’m Dr. Heather

Registered dietitian and helps people struggling with bloating, constipation, and IBS find relief from their symptoms and feel excited about food again.

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Why Am I Bloated?

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Dr. Heather Finley