With all that’s going on in the news, it’s not surprising if stress has unsettled your stomach, causing painful bloat, gas and constipation. Luckily, these science-backed strategies can provide some much-needed relief.
Soak up some sun to settle your stomach.
Spending 15 minutes in the sun each day triggers the release of pain-quashing hormones in the gut, lowering your risk of stomach upset by 55 percent.
Imagine you’re floating to combat bloating.
Relaxing for 10 minutes can help when you’re feeling puffy and heavy. The secret: Imagine that you’re floating on a lake! UCLA researchers say this trick can cut GI discomfort by 82 percent. That’s because the calming mental image prompts the release of digestion-enhancing enzymes, eliminating uncomfortable post-meal bloat.
Hug your knees to ease gas pains.
When worries trigger painful gas, a simple yoga move can help release it immediately — and if you do this move daily, it can cut your risk of future flare-ups by 70 percent. Simply lie on your back and pull your right knee toward your chest, reaching your chin to your knee. Repeat with your left knee, then repeat again with both legs.
Sip a mocktail to get things moving.
Chronic stress can lead to dehydration, which causes constipation for 40 percent of us. The simple fix? Sip a mocktail made with 2 Tbs. of aloe vera juice, 1 Tbs. of honey, 10 oz. of water, and the juice of one lemon. Researchers reporting in the journal Digestion found that aloe juice is rich in natural laxatives that can provide relief within half a day.
Munch on a cookie to stop the runs.
Anxiety can disrupt digestive tract function, doubling the risk of diarrhea. To the rescue: macaroons! Rich stores of lauric acid in the coconut in these treats eliminate viral and bacterial invaders in the stomach, according to researchers, helping to eliminate the problem more effectively than Imodium within four hours.
Go barefoot to quell cramps.
Going shoeless on an uneven or rough surface (like grass or a sandy beach) could cut discomfort from stomach cramps by 60 percent in five minutes. Studies show that stimulating nerves in the soles of the feet tamps down the release of digestion-disrupting stress hormones, nixing stomach pain fast.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.