What Does the Gut-Brain Connection Mean?

And how it relates to your digestive system.

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Woman with Flowers in Hair

Have you ever been nervous and felt like there were butterflies in your stomach? Or received a rejection that felt like a punch in the gut? When we talk about happiness, nervousness, or sadness, we often describe it in terms about how we're feeling in our bodies. These feelings of excitement and anxiety touch on the gut-brain connection that's related to our digestive system.

What Is the Gut-Brain Connection?

You've heard of "trusting your gut." The digestive system tends to send signals to the brain about what you're feeling. A queasy stomach or discomfort in your bowels can tell you that something isn't quite right.

Start Listening to Your Gut

Do you feel any tension or discomfort in your gut that signal nervousness or irregularity? Experiencing a symptom like abdominal pain can be your body's way of expressing anxiety. In fact, there's a connection between stress and gastrointestinal health.1 Even though these symptoms are not considered life-threatening, they can still cause serious discomfort.

That's enough of a reason to focus on your digestive health. In addition to alleviating stress and anxiety, as well as eating right and exercising, make sure you're getting an adequate amount of fiber in your daily diet.

Show ReferencesHide References

  1. "Anxiety and Physical Illness." Harvard Health Publications. Harvard Medical School, July 2008. Web. http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/anxiety_and_physical_illness.

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