IBS can be caused by anxiety. And anxiety is currently being heightened by what’s on the news and social media everywhere.
We’ve had 2 years of non-stop anxiety-driven news about, Covid, vaccines, new variants, and deaths.
And now on all channels we are being told of the horrors of war in Ukraine.
Have you noticed, you can’t put on the tv, radio or go on social without hearing about it?
Yes, it is freedom of expression.
No, we don’t want to pretend it’s not happening.
But what use is it for us to get extra anxious and have even worse IBS?
Does that help you? Does that help them?
IBS: What are you feeding yourself (especially your mind)?
When I was young we had our evening meal together in front of the news. Night after night.
Unfortunately the news we hear of is often bad news. And it feeds us constant messages like:
- the world not safe
- people can’t be trusted
- the government doesn’t act in our best interests
- there might not be enough to go round
- the world is chaotic and natural disasters and disease threaten us
Most of us have no idea of the impact of feeding ourselves a meal of this type of message every day – just to keep up with what’s going on.
We don’t hear much about the many places that do feel safe, the many lovely people who can be trusted, everywhere the government has done a great job, everywhere people are sharing and caring – and thriving.
Yet they exist too.
Food for thought
I hadn’t considered any of this until I read a really eye-opening fiction book by Laurent Gounelle.
It was the story of a man who was out to avenge his wife’s murder by a primitive tribe in the Amazonian forest. They were going to pay.
He and his associates set out to destroy their natural state of joy and happiness and make life hell for them.
This is what he did to undermine their society:
He sent villagers out to get news of all that was going wrong in the village. He gave them a reward for each negative piece of news they reported. And in the evening, instead of having the old sage telling tales of wisdom, they read out all the bad news in the village.
Then he installed a machine where bubbles of air went slowly up a tube.
Instead of exchanging thoughts, songs, congratulations or wisdom, everyone sat in front of the machine and watched it for hours, mesmerized by the bubbles.
And the atmosphere in the village took a downturn.
This is exactly what we are doing while we watch the news on TV!
Junk food for the soul
Back when I had chronic IBS, I realised just how much IBS can be caused by or worsened by anxiety. So I became more mindful of what I watched. I decided to just watch the main titles, and just from time to time.
Even the soaps that many of us watch are rarely very positive.
They are often about manipulation and mistrust.
All this may seem innocent enough. But we take it all in. Night after night.
And what about all the crime series? It’s amazing the number of police serious involving violent crime that are on TV or Netflix involving images of young girls being abducted, tied up and tortured or abused. Not to mention violence in films.
And we call it entertainment.
So we slowly get fed with the idea that the world is an awful place to live in and that we have to protect ourselves from others at all times.
The sort of idea that can insidiously ramp up levels of negativity and anxiety. And as IBS can be caused by anxiety, that in turn can ramp up your IBS symptoms – without you even noticing the link.
If you want to improve your IBS, try limiting your exposure to negative messages and images. And see what that can do for you.
If you are feeling anxious at the moment, I particularly recommend this soothing ocean video on Youtube for 10 minutes.
It all adds up…
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