Ever had that waking up on the wrong side of bed feeling? If you struggle with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, this might be every morning for you.
But how we feel in the morning can dictate how the rest of our day will go. So how can you set up your day so it’s as pain-free and as symptom-free as possible?
I recently contributed to a Bustle article on morning habits that can prevent IBS flareups. All 8 morning habits listed in the article are Wendy/TCM-approved, but I wanted to elaborate on a few:
1. Morning meditation
There is a strong gut-brain connection and IBS and anxiety can be a vicious cycle: symptoms are aggravated by stress and anxiety and IBS flareups cause additional stress. If you have IBS you may wake feeling immediately anxious, so having a calming meditative practice in the morning can calm your mind and relax your body as not to trigger IBS.
If you don’t…
Your high anxiety level will amplify as you encounter daily stressors and you’ll find yourself exhausted (not to mention with symptom flares) by the end of the day.
2. Eating warm, simple breakfast…at home.
If you have IBS (especially IBS-D) you might be tempted to avoid eating in the morning in order to avoid triggering symptoms throughout your day. By dedicating time at home to eating a warm, simple breakfast like oatmeal, congee, or even bone broth, you will take in the nutrients necessary to fuel your day.
Eating while seated rather than on the go also signals to your body that it is now time for digestion, which is imperative for a weak digestive system.
If you don’t…
Skipping meals can cause further damage to an already weak gut, and eating -on-the-go doesn’t allow your gut enough time and energy to devote to the digestion process. Also, from a Traditional Chinese Medical (TCM) perspective all foods have different properties that can either help or hinder your health, depending on your personal constitution. For those with weak digestive systems, the contrast between the temperature of the cold drinks (and cold foods like ice cream) and internal temperature can cause gut symptoms to flare up, and it can also further weaken the gut.
3. Positive affirmations to shift negative mindset.
Morning anxiety about IBS sometimes happens even before onset of symptom flares. While we can’t predict whether an IBS flareup will occur, we’re often unable to stop thinking about it, perpetuating the anxiety cycle. By shifting perspective and finding a positive mindset focus instead, we can prevent automatic negative thoughts from triggering a flareup.
If you don’t…
You’ll start to develop negative mindset blocks preventing you from fully recovering from your IBS. If you don’t believe it’s possible for you to have an IBS-free day and constantly worry about flareups, chances are you’ll get what you ask for.