September 27th: National Forgiveness Day
Although “National Forgiveness Day” doesn’t exactly mean forgiving your body; that is exactly what we are going to discuss today.
I remember a joke my dad used to tell about all the body parts fighting about who was the boss. To make a long joke short, all the parts stood their ground and gave a great speech as to why they should be the boss, including the brain, eyes, feet, heart, and colon.
Well, needless to say, all the body parts laughed at the colon. Mr. Colon was offended at the remarks and laughing, and he decided to show them who was boss…so he shut down.
The problems started in the stomach with pain and discomfort, then the brain couldn’t think straight, had trouble staying focused, and had constant anxiety about what was happening, causing the heart to pound and beat erratically. Each and every part of the body was having its own meltdown and laboring to operate effectively.
Finally, all the parts admitted the colon could be the boss. Mr. Colon, opened back up for business and all the other parts were happy again, functioning properly and they lived happily ever after.
Your Gut Can Be an Insolent Child
You can probably relate to the joke above.
It is a known fact that anxiety, depression, and other mental factors like PTSD can cause an IBS flare-up.
Not all IBS sufferers have mental factors to consider, for instance, some IBS diagnoses have been brought on by an infection or antibiotic overuse.
However, there is a connection between the brain and the gut. In fact, here is a wonderful article on The Brain-Gut Connection by John’s Hopkins Medicine.
Basically big emotional shifts can trigger bowel problems like constipation, diarrhea, bloating, pain, and stomach upset.
I have a flare-up every time I travel. I LOVE to travel, I want to see the world and God’s beautiful creation as much as I can. But no matter how much I prepare, or plan, guaranteed I will have a flare-up.
I believe it stemmed from getting lost when I was a kid once. I am terrible with directions, in fact, I can get lost in a wet paper bag, and even with today’s technology I fear not getting to the right place, or missing a flight, or the plane crashing and leaving my kids without a mother, you know stuff like that.
Socrates said, “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.”
I think this quote embodies so many different areas of life, but it adequately describes the essence of what we are talking about here today.
We could actually say “Know Thy Gut”, but that would also entail “Know Thy Brain”, as obviously the two work in unison. So, we will stick to “Know Thyself”.
Get to know your fears and triggers. If you’re not sure how to get started, journal. By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of food journaling to see what your food triggers are. Well, you can also journal to find out what your emotional triggers are as well, look for patterns.
I would even say seeing a therapist to get you started on a journey to know yourself has been extremely helpful for some! Sometimes, you just need someone to ask the right questions.
Talk to your doctor about your anxiety and depression, I have read about thousands of people who were put on anti-depressants and it drastically relieved their IBS symptoms!
Forgiveness is Key
Whether you meditate, do yoga, take medication, journal, drink hot tea…just forgive your body for not always working just right. After all, the more hate you throw at it, the more your symptoms will be aggravated.
Love your body, it has served you well for this many years and it’s just tired now and like your grandparents maybe are slowing down, are a little forgetful and clumsy, and just need a little more care and attention, so maybe your gut is similar.
Once I realized what my triggers were for traveling, I know to start out with prayer, leave it in God’s hands because ultimately, we are in control of nothing anyway; and take some medicine when I get to my destination, and the rest of the trip will usually be pleasant. I used to suffer the whole trip, making it quite miserable; now I have my regimen down and smooth sailing.
What have you got to lose?
Whatever you do today, say thank you to your body for serving you well thus far. Before you think, “well, it’s terrible”, remember, it could always be worse.
Forgive your gut for not always acting appropriately. Have a backup plan, medicine on hand, a change of clothes, etc.
Forgiveness is one of the first steps to loving yourself. And we could all use a little more love in our life, right? What have you got to lose?