Antacid sales top $ 10 billion annually! Acid indigestion plagues a third of U.S. population even when the economy is in better shape. About 100 million Americans experience heartburn every month; about 15 million fighting it at least once a day.
What causes heartburn and indigestion? Eating on the run, skipping meals, eating junk food, nervous stomach from stress and volatile emotions such as anger or frustration can adversely affect your digestive system. How can you get your stomach to calm down after a stress-filled and / or frustrating day? Does stress at your job cause your digestive problems?
Employee surveys suggest that over half a million people believed they were suffering from stress, anxiety or depression, or some physical illness resulting from stress, caused or made worse by their work.
A busy workload, multi-tasking or managerial position can keep you motivated and create energies needed for such responsibilities. Although this kind of stress can reinforce commitment to your work, it can affect you negatively when stress becomes excessive or uncontrolled. Some indications of negative stress can be apparent by personality changes or behavior in work habits.
Stress is a response to pressure. Over a period of time, this can lead to under-performance, chronic sickness, heart disease or psychological damage or even major illness or death. Managers and co-workers should be aware of these signs which can create problems within the company. People under stress show such physical signs as headaches, increased blood pressure, panic attacks, anxiety, depression, and indigestion.
Stress can affect decision-making, inability to concentrate, spurts of irritability or aggression and changes in self-confidence. Work relationships can be affected, cooperation with others may diminish and stress could lead to either overworking or the opposite — taking time off in increased sick days. Good employers and managers will recognize this and take appropriate supportive action.
Americans have made antacids a major category in a typical drug store’s merchandise mix. Many people carry antacids around with them during the day in case they get bad heartburn, indigestion or stomach distress. If you take Tums regularly, large amounts of calcium carbonate-containing antacids can affect the balances of calcium and acid in the body and damage your kidneys. You should not take antacids over long periods as you could have a more serious ailment such as a stomach problem, or peptic ulcer disease.
Popular heartburn drugs called proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) have been linked to a variety of health problems, including serious kidney damage, bone fractures and dementia. Now, a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis shows that longtime use of the drugs also is associated with an increased risk of death.
What can you do to reduce heartburn and indigestion? You can try the following to reduce the stress associated with meals. If you get stressed in the office, do not eat in your office. Try to remove yourself from the stressful environment . Get away from your desk and walk or drive to another location to get your food. The walk should be made at a leisurely pace and if possible outside in a quiet environment.
Do not lunch at a busy restaurant as it can also add to your stress. Once you get your food do not take it back to the worksite. Find a quiet place to sit down and eat your food at a slow pace. This may be hard at first but a simple technique is to chew each bite of food ten time before swallowing. When you have finished your meal take your time getting back to your office. You will be surprised at how much this will relieve your indigestion and reduce your stress or anxiety. Upon returning to the office, you may be surprised to find that you can work more efficiently.
Going home, relax by breathing deeply and stretching your muscles. If you dine alone, put on some nice, relaxing music. Even if you are not used to it, try saying grace. It doesn’t have to be formal, just gratitude for the food and for your blessings. Counting your blessings negates the negativity and stress stored up. Don’t watch TV or listen to the news. That in itself will give you indigestion.
If you dine with family, concentrate on the positive and happy experiences of the day, not the negative or complaints. Use humor and good cheer. Laughter and happiness are good for digestion and relaxation. Have a glass of wine or after-dinner cordial with your mate or partner and spend me minutes alone if you have children. Bring the tempo down along with your blood pressure. Tomorrow is another day. You can dispel the stress from today instead of storing it up and adding it to tomorrow’s.
© Marie Coppola Revised August 2018