For a long time I did not feel at all concerned by idea that my IBS could have a stress component to it. I did not feel particularly stressed.
For me, IBS flare-ups were causing the stress. Stress was not causing IBS.
In my case it turned out that I was wrong. While stress was not the only cause, it was an important part that I was overlooking.
Mentally I rationalised situations, saw the logic in them and mentally banished stress. But while my mind dealt with this well, unbeknown 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 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 and stress, and how liberating that feels.
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 be feeling stressed
Everyone’s IBS is different and this may not be your case. But consider this:
And you were so used to stress that you had numbed out to it?
What if you have been swimming in stress for so long – like a fish swims in water – and you just don’t see it?
Why does it matter?
If IBS is causing the stress, and you have no solution to IBS, then you are stuck.
If however stress is a component keeping your IBS going, then you can act. You become empowered. I outline how you can start to do this in my previous article “My doctor says it’s just stress”.
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.1