One simple technique that erased years of discomfort!
Lunch ruined most of my days for years. Let me paint you a picture of my typical workday so I can illustrate how. I was a practicing dentist for over 22 years. Once the day started, you could find me skating between performing dental procedures in my own two rooms and moving in and out of exams for the hygiene patients.
Fight or Flight of the Sympathetic Nervous System
Even if everything went smooth as melted butter on a fresh piece of corn on the cob, it was still a stressful environment, and I would most certainly be operating in the Fight or Flight of the Sympathetic Nervous System.
The morning hours would fly by, my tummy would start to rumble, and my hands would get a little shakey as my blood sugar levels plummeted. The lunch hour would roll around, but before treating myself to a healthy salad or smoothie, I would head to my office.
Instead of eating right away, I first attempted to chip away at a few of the administrative tasks that I knew I needed to complete before the end of the day.
Once again, my tummy would grumble, alerting me that I still needed to eat! I would skip quickly back to the kitchen and inhale the healthy lunch I brought from home, brush my teeth, and get back to work.
Typically, about 20 minutes later, my gastrointestinal system would revolt! First, I would notice my tummy expanding with gas. Once this began, I knew I’d be uncomfortable the rest of the day, often long into the evening!
There is a big challenge when trying to digest a meal while the body is operating in the Fight or Flight of the Sympathetic Nervous System. It is kind of like trying to sleep during a horror movie! Our bodies are in one mode of operation, and suddenly, we are asking them to switch gears for just a few moments.
Eating under stress
- Decreased absorption of nutrients
- Increased secretion of nutrients
- Increased insulin resistance
- Increased salt retention
- Increased levels of cortisol
- Increased inflammation
- Increase in food sensitivities and allergies
- Increase in gas, bloating and cramping
Once I figured this out, I made it a point to slow my body down for a few minutes before eating lunch. I would shut my office door and practice a mindfulness technique for a few moments in an attempt to shift my body to the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which handles the function of digestion.
This small shift made a HUGE impact on how I felt in the afternoon
The bloating, gas, and cramps didn’t invade my intestines, and I was much more comfortable all afternoon. When I missed this small pre-lunch task, my tummy quickly reminded me of my error!
The next time you suffer from an angry tummy, try to think back to what you were doing right before you ate. Adding a few moments of mindfulness before mealtime may be the answer that brings comfort to your intestines!
And a special bonus will be given if you can pass this lesson down to your kids!