Your guts can affect your anxiety and depression; they are linked. It’s imperative for controlling anxiety gut health that you care for your belly, and I’ll give you some pointers. Ideally, you’ll be able to incorporate these into your daily life.
As with all articles I write, they are based on my experience or research, normally both. In this article, you will discover why gut health is so vitally important to anxiety and depression.
People normally think of taking a probiotic, but there is more to it than that. It is a holistic endeavour to get your gut and brain working in synchronicity.
I will not lie. It is not easy, not for me anyway, but the ideas I have expressed below I have undertaken and are all backed up by research. Some may be familiar to you, others may appear odd, but they all work towards improving anxiety and depression via the gut and brain connection.
Probiotics The Guts Little Workers
I take a probiotic every day for my gut health, and they have improved my overall mood. I’m not a scientist or medical professional, but according to Harvard Medical School:
The brain has a direct effect on the stomach and intestines. For example, the very thought of eating can release the stomach’s juices before food gets there. This connection goes both ways. A troubled intestine can send signals to the brain, just as a troubled brain can send signals to the gut.Harvard
You see that what affects your gut can affect your mind too. Introducing a probiotic will help maintain a healthy biome in your belly. What helps the gut helps the brain and vice versa.
I, for one, find this difficult, mainly due to brain fog and remembering to do everything I have listed in this article. But I do make sure I set a reminder to take my probiotic.
When you first start taking them, you may visit the bathroom a little more often as they can cause your gut to react with a case of diarrhoea, but it doesn’t last for long, and within a couple of weeks, you will notice the benefits.
My mind, although still foggy, is clearer with probiotics than without.
Exercise Stimulates the Body and Mind
I’m not an exercise fanatic, but I do know it helps the brain-gut connection. Even the most sedentary exercise can help with anxiety gut health.
I have arthritis in my feet, so you won’t find me jumping all over the place or going for a jog, but I have invested in an exercise bike, and I do many stretches on the floor and use weights.
When I don’t exercise, normally, when my bipolar depression has kicked in, I feel worse. I have to force myself to get on the floor. Initially, I just lie there thinking, “what on earth am I doing?” I then start my floor workout, and after 10 minutes, my mood has lifted a bit.
Exercise affects the gut according to research:
There are trillions of microscopic organisms in the gut that play a crucial role in our overall health and function of the body. In a study from the University of Illinois, researchers found that exercising for just six weeks could have an impact on the microbiome.Healthline
As you can see from the research, those little organisms in our guts love it when we move our bodies. Make some form of exercise part of your daily routine. I know it is difficult if you are severely depressed, but even just raising your arms in the air and repeating a dozen times will elevate your heart rate, which affects your stomach, which in turn will help your brain.
Diet for Health, not Weight Loss
I’m not one for diets, I’ve tried them in the past, but they make me grouchy and eventually, my mood declines. I decided the best way forward for me was to listen to what my body wants to eat. You can read my article here.
Diets in themselves deny us; if we are denied, it will inevitably affect our mood. Also, your microbiome in your gut needs feeding; in fact, you can, after a few weeks, become so intuned with them that they will say what your body needs. By the way, this is my own view and not a medical opinion from anywhere.
By treating your fellow in-body dwellers to the food they tell you, you will inevitably eat healthier with the odd occasional treat.
I have discovered over the years if I am craving sweet stuff too much, there are some rogue elements in my gut. I flush them out with lactulose, a laxative and begin building good probiotics into my gut. The remaining rogue elements dissipate and die off because they are not being fed what they want, as I have a healthier number of good elements in my belly.
It all sounds very alien, and in a way, it is, but keeping those good guys happy will make you happier in the long run.
Anti-Bac Can Effect Anxiety Gut Health
Unfortunately, because of Covid, we are all anti-baccing like crazy, and this also kills off the good stuff we need in our guts. It is a double-edged sword.
From my perspective, we have seen anxiety and depression increase among the world’s population because of Covid. I also believe the widespread use of antibacterial agents on everything affects all of our microbiomes. Resulting in a global pandemic of mental health issues.
Anti-bac is not the sole cause; I know that, but you have to wonder what impact it has on our good gut health. The very thing we are trying to protect ourselves from physically could be our mental health undoing.
As controlling anxiety is paramount because of the brain-gut connection, our anxiety gut health needs probiotics evermore. If we are killing them off because we need to control Covid, everyone should take a probiotic daily to improve their mental well-being.
Watch Your Waistline and Tight Clothing
If I had my way, everyone would dress in smocks, both men and women, and we would bin waistbands. The pressure a waistband or a belt puts on the gut can make your whole belly area feel uncomfortable, and squishing your gut when sitting down with a firm waistband could, in my opinion, harm our bellies.
Back in the time of the ancient human, trousers were not a thing, maybe a loose woven flax belt for holding a small leather pouch for seeds and such. But nothing like the buckles we have now, which can put undue pressure on our stomachs.
Also, skinny fit this and skinny fit that is really not helping to produce a healthy gut. Ditch the skinnies and go for a smock or dungarees, I say.
The main point in all of my suggestions is to give your gut the best chance at making your brain function well. It wants to, but things can get a bit mixed up. I know my suggestions are not a cure for poor mental health, but they can help better anxiety gut health.
If you have any ideas or you have a question, leave a message in the comment section below.
Peace & Blessings