Tag Archives: #stress

Indigestion, Heartburn and Stress


According to World Health Organization, more than $10 billion spent worldwide each year on antacids.   And that was in 2017!  Acid indigestion plagues a third of U.S. population even when the economy is in better shape.

Heartburn is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by upwards of 40% of Americans on a monthly basis. Sixty million or more Americans have heartburn once a week. The problem is that this disease seems to be increasing. More than 22% of primary care visits will be for gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). This is up 46% in the last seven years. There have been many theories offered but no one has been able to conclusively pinpoint why this is happening. But, the reality is that we are facing this condition more and more.

What causes heartburn and indigestion? Eating on the run, skipping meals, eating junk food or acid packed foods, worrying that can cause 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?  How about watching the media news or getting into a discussion about politics?

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.

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.  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. Relationships can be affected, cooperation with others may diminish and stress could lead to an increase of sick days.

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. It is suggested that you 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.

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, try to remove yourself from the stressful environment . Get away from the source;  try walking at a leisurely pace and if possible outside in a quiet environment.

When you dine,  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 times before swallowing. When you have finished your meal, try to avoid the TV or conversations that made you feel stressed.   You will be surprised at how much this will relieve your indigestion and reduce your stress or anxiety.   If you are a faith-based person, seek some quiet time with God.

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  listen to the news while you are eating;  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 with your mate or partner; spend some 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 2019.

90 % of Worries are Self-induced & Stressful


Worry is interest paid on trouble before it is due.” ~ William R. Inge   

 

 

I used to be one of the worst worry-warts.  There’s always something you can find to worry about – whether it’s going to rain tomorrow and you hate to drive in the rain, or it’s 3:00 am. and the new driver in the house is not home yet.

Once I had a mini spirit-breaker over a job change.  It wasn’t the work that I wanted to do or studied for in school; I was transferred to another department that I had no interest in.  I worried about everything connected to this job for 9 or 10 hours a day.  What if I quit?  What if I didn’t succeed in something I had no passion for?  What if I made a lot of mistakes?  What if I get fired?  What if . . . ?

What are the odds of worrisome thoughts actually coming true?  Statistics tell us that the probability of things we worry about that won’t ever happen:  a whopping 45%; reliving regrettable events that happened in the past: 25%; unnecessary worrying about health: 10%; and nagging, miscellaneous worries: 10%.

So around 90 percent of worries are pure self-induced stressful, unnecessary time-consumers. The remaining 10%, are actual issues that may have merit to give thought to or concern about . .

  “Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday.” ~Author Unknown

During a more-than-usually stressful peak in my hell-on-earth job, I asked a supporter for advice on what to do.  She asked me back, “Is it a life or death situation?” And although it felt like it was, it truly wasn’t.  No.  Then she asked, “Will this be as important 6 months from now?” And again, I said, no, it probably would not.   And she replied with the cliché, “Don’t sweat the small stuff, and everything is small stuff. ” This advice was helpful to me in dealing with the day to day problems.  But when, at times, the stress increased, I asked another Support Person to help me – a Heavenly One.  In prayer.  I asked God to take this cup from me if it were His will.

Prayers are sometimes answered through other persons or events (this happens a lot to me; I believe there are no coincidences). That next Sunday, the pastor’s sermon caught my attention. He suggested that when stress is overwhelming you, go to a quiet place where you will not be interrupted.  Close your eyes and visualize all the stress factors in your life that you are dealing with.  Lumped together, they are overwhelming.  They would be to anyone. But — God tells us:    “Fret not yourself…..” (Psalm 37:1)

Take them, these ‘stress-thorns in your side’ — one at a time, and mentally picture giving each one individually to God. Visualize the problem ‘thorn’ and extend each one to God, literally with outstretched hands, asking Him to take it from you and to handle it from now on. Visualize God taking the worry from you.  And don’t take it back.  He wants to help you.  As you give each worry to Him, remember to thank Him for relieving you of this burden.  Consider it a ‘done deal’.  Take a deep breath and relax.  It’s not your problem anymore to worry about.  It’s in His Hands. And you will be amazed how God will give you peace. Our Ultimate Father in Heaven promises us this:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6–7).

“So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:31-34)

P.S.  God did take the cup from me – and replaced it with the best job I ever had.

© Marie Coppola, Revised March 2015