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Can Happiness Improve IBS Triggered By Stress?

Last updated: July 2022

Let’s have a little chat. I’ve decided to use this article just to think out loud and share thoughts about this confusing and frustrating diagnosis of IBS.

IBS triggers

For me personally, the biggest trigger next to food is stress. Any kind of stress. Big or small. It could be I am overwhelmed with my day by packing in too much, from errands to work to spending time socializing. It could be late for an appointment, outing, or airport travel. Other people can stress me out, too, if they are angry or irritable. I think you get it. Life is stressful, and when stress happens, my symptoms can take me for a joy ride.

IBS and the mind-gut connection

Why is that? Well, I am no doctor, but I have read a bit on the mind-gut connection, and I find it a fascinating topic. Most doctors claim the gut to be the second brain, literally. So stress-absolutely affects the gut. And being that our guts are already compromised due to IBS, of course, we are vulnerable to stress turning symptoms on.

So if you are grocery shopping and feel overwhelmed getting all the items on your list, the urgency that hits you in the middle of aisle two is due to that stress. This has happened to me many times. Or even so, I have been in an argument with a family member where I literally have to say: I need to use the restroom smack in the middle of hashing things out. It’s because my emotions are in a tizzy, and my gut is too!

Happiness alleviates my IBS stress

But, I’d like to also point out something that has come to my attention recently. Have you found that your symptoms seem to disappear when you are on vacation or in your happy place where stress is practically non-existent? Maybe not totally, but there is a significant improvement?

I have found a trend that when I spend time with my family, and I am in a state of bliss and just being in the present moment laughing with my loved ones, I feel great. I can, for those moments, and even if it’s just an hour, forget about the awfulness of IBS. The urgency and cramping seem to dull, and I am allowed to feel normal for a bit.

IBS is real

Please know that I am not saying IBS is mental and just in your head. It is real and horrific. It can be totally debilitating, and I have had such severe bouts where leaving the house isn’t even an option. Do I think happy family time would take my symptoms away in those moments? No. I couldn’t even think of socializing because I would be curled up in the fetal position with my heating pad, praying for the pain to go away.

However, when my symptoms are somewhat under control and I find myself in situations of bliss, I see an improvement. It also happens often when I am with my niece, nephew, and god-daughter, who are toddlers. They spellbind me. They bring me so much joy that I can sort of escape with them and escape IBS for even a couple of moments.

I am just thinking out loud here. I am wondering if you have ever experienced the same? If so, share below. I would love to hear your perspective.

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