Is Corona Virus Stress Contributing to Constipation?

Constipation | Inci Jones Author

5 Tips to Get You Going – Eliminate Stress Constipation – Fast

Over the past week or so our lives have changed dramatically. We all went from our normal routines of work, shopping and going out to eat; to an entirely different scenario, something none of us imagined just a few weeks ago. 

With our rapid lifestyle change and social distancing have come an unusual amount of stress. After all, just going grocery shopping has become a challenge. When you walk past the empty shelves with your grocery cart, and go home with 2 items from your grocery list of 25 items, it is a little disturbing. 

In the case of the Corona Virus coverage, the stress from the media updates; news, online, social media and on TV. A constant barrage of (important) stressful information started to take its toll on everyone in our household. We finally (all) agreed that a once or twice a day, brief update was all that was necessary to keep us in the loop. This really helped us to refocus on the things that we could control, which helped reduce anxiety.

For many, stress manifests itself in interesting ways. One person may find that baking relaxes them, and the next person feels comforted by eating. We only can hope these two people live in the same household. 

Another “interesting side effect” to stress that many people experience, but ignore is – Constipation

Stress absolutely can affect the body, as it activates the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight response) and the body reacts to stress by decreasing bowel movements. After all pooping in a life or death situation can make you vulnerable. 

Many times, when people are in stressful situations, we try and soothe ourselves with comfort foods to help feel better emotionally. Sometimes those foods aren’t exactly the food groups you should be eating from to promote good digestion and pooping. Many indulge in crunchy snacks like potato chips or Doritos, then follow it up with a pint of ice cream and cookies. 

Also, many times if you are stressed, people become more sedentary, drink less water and more alcohol, which of course all can cause constipation, because it dehydrates the body, even if you aren’t stressed out. 

If this describes what you  are doing…before resorting to laxatives, try the 5 tips below. 

  1. Take a walk or housewalk and listen to relaxing music – walking is a perfect way to get exercise and de-stress. Breathe deeply and refocus on other things that make you feel relaxed and happy. Add music to walking and you truly have a mood and mind refocusing tool. Music can shift your mood by just listening to one song. Tune into music that is upbeat, positive and has a good walking beat. Your mood will definitely improve. 
  2. Don’t push away feeling anxious – Instead accept that you feel anxious, denial only causes… you guessed it – more stress. Just accept and acknowledge that you feel stressed. This situation is stressful, but then release your stress by thinking of something that you want to accomplish or a pleasant fun situation that makes you happy.
  3. Meditate – Take 15-20 minutes each day to meditate. If you don’t know how, YouTube has some wonderful guided meditation videos. Plugin your headphones and find a relaxing spot to meditate. You don’t need to watch the video, you will just be listening to the guided meditation. 
  4. News & Social Media Updates – Be mindful of the time you spend watching news updates & social media news updates. If you are social distancing, you are doing all that you can do at this moment. Checking the news obsessively will only serve to promote anxiety in your day. 
  5. Water – Drink at least 8 glasses of water. Note that sugary Gatorade, Frappuccinos, energy drinks or anything containing caffeine will not count toward your water intake. Yes it’s liquid, but the caffeine will dehydrate you. And we all know that too much caffeine promotes a an antsy, anxious feeling that can cause anxiety. Hydration is key to reduce constipation. 

These are just 5 tips that can help you if you are Stress Constipated. There are other tips, nutritional supplements and lifestyle changes that delve into the details of what you can do if you if you have Chronic Constipation and want to wean yourself off of laxatives.

But, regarding Stress Constipation – I’m sure you can see a bit of a trend here. Engage in “real” activities, reduce your social media, computer & TV time. Take time to concentrate on you. Quiet your mind, spirit, and slow your world down. It’s important to nurture and recharge your inner battery. For many, these super simple relaxation techniques can help to relax and make you feel less stressed, which can reduce constipation.