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I Choose To …

These are the words I try to live by with my IBS… “I choose to”. The help me to decide what I will do and what I won’t do, what I’ll pay attention to and what I’ll ignore, what I’ll allow into my body and what I won’t.

Every day I have a series of choices to make. Sometimes I might say that I don’t have time to do something or that I don’t have the knowledge or resources to make things happen. But at the end of the day, I have the ability to choose how I spend my time, where I put my energy, and how I divide up my resources.

Managing IBS is a series of choices

Will I choose to eat something knowing that it might make me sick?


Will I choose to say no and go without it even though everyone else is eating it?

Will I choose to let someone else cook my meal?


Will I choose to put time aside to do my own grocery shopping and food preparation?

Will I choose to spend my downtime sitting and watching TV to help me chill out?


Will I choose to do some exercise that will calm me down and make my body feel better?

Will I choose to start my day at full pace from the moment I get up?


Will I choose to sit quietly for a few minutes meditating before beginning the day?

Some choices will help and others will hinder

There are so many choices that you make each day that will either help to manage your IBS or may make things worse. But because these choices are often made very quickly, you don’t always recognize them as choices. Instead, they seem more like things that are thrust upon you that you have no control over.

But you have control over far more things than you realize. And many of these things can make your IBS better or worse.

Now don’t get me wrong here… I’m not saying this is easy and I’m not perfect at it either. I can fall into the default pattern of allowing things to be put on me rather than actively making my choices. After all, it does take considerable mental energy to make choice after choice.

So what’s the benefit of saying “I choose to …”?

With an ongoing condition like IBS, it’s easy to feel like you’re stuck in a loop, constantly dodging triggers to stay well. It can seem like your condition is controlling you, rather than the other way around.

But when you say “I choose to …”, you take back the control and decide what you will allow to affect you and what you won’t. You can decide whether something is worth the time and energy that it takes you to do, based on the benefits (or harm) that you’ll get from it. You can decide whether it’s worth eating a food, based on the potential risk of the pain that it may bring. And so on.

Also, when you say those three little words, it makes you aware of your actions and stops you from acting on autopilot. Which makes all the difference in the world for controlling your IBS and ensuring that your symptoms are as stable as you need them to be.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.