IBS: But I’m not stressed!


For a long time I did not feel at all concerned by idea that my IBS and stress could be linked. As I did not feel particularly stressed.

For me, IBS flare-ups were causing the stress. Stress was not causing IBS.

I found out later that stress was an important IBS trigger that I was overlooking.

I’m not stressed

Mentally I rationalised situations, saw the logic in them and mentally banished tension. But while my mind dealt with this reasonably well, and I was well rehearsed at putting on the maskunbeknown to me my body was telling another story.

The real story.

I was listening to my mind, not my body – so I missed what it was saying. I didn’t even notice the nervous tension in different parts of my body, because I was so used to it.

As I had always lived like this, I had no sense of what it could be like to live without worry, stress and IBS. I didn’t even know it was possible.

My husband told me one day that I was really stressed. I was SURE I wasn’t. Then he got me to put my hands on my shoulders and feel how tight they were. Then I began to take notice.

Why you may not feel stress

Everyone’s IBS is different and this may not be your case. But consider this:

What if your mind had got clever at rationalizing situations?

And you were so used to stress that you had numbed out to it?

What if you have been swimming in it for so long – like a fish swims in water – and you just don’t see it?

Numbing out and not feeling may go back to your childhood. It may have been the way you learned to deal with angry, highly critical or abusive people. A trigger loop that is possibly still going round today.

IBS and stress: Why does it matter?

If stress is making your IBS worse, then you can change that and become empowered. I outline how you can start to do this here.

You can start by adopting habits to gradually bring down your stress levels and your reactivity. This doesn’t cost money. But it takes time. And commitment.

Bringing down my stress levels and my reactivity laid vital foundations for recovery.

If you habitually numb out, as well as shutting out pain, you are also shutting out pleasure. 

If you would like to change that coping strategy, why not work with me?