How do you avoid a flare-up of symptoms during times of high stress? I think this is a question everyone with IBD has asked. As much as triggers can differ for each of us, there is one trigger most of us have in common…and that’s stress!
Stress, Trauma, and Flare Ups
Whether it’s the everyday anxiety of living – just keeping up with the pace – or something traumatic like a death in the family, there is stress everywhere! I used to actually have PTSD thinking about stress and PTSD itself. That alone would cause me to tense up, and I’d get sick because I KNEW that super stressful events would trigger a flare of my colitis…and once that flare started there was no going back.
Once my bleeding started, nothing stopped it, and I felt completely helpless. It was like being on a hamster wheel! I felt that I had to control everything in my environment to not flare, but trying to control things you can’t control leaves you feeling more helpless…and probably creates a flare in itself. Because the fact of the matter is you can’t control people or certain things in life, and if you do you will suffer, as it’s a never-ending battle!
So where is the balance with all of this? We don’t want to live life in a glass box where we shelter ourselves from all stress (because that also means we can’t experience life), but we also don’t want to push ourselves to the point where we do flare.
You may have already watched my 6-part series on what to do once you’re already in a flare-up of symptoms, but if you haven’t here is the first video (you’ll find all 6 videos linked there). Today, however, I’m going to share with you some tips which have helped me avoid a flare-up altogether during times of high stress…
As I mentioned earlier, trying to change and control others/things can be a lot of wasted energy! This is energy better spent on healing, so instead of trying to change/fix anyone and everything I decided to just let go – and thenrealized this was probably the number one thing that helped me!
Instead of instant constriction, tension, and resistance to stress, try just accepting it happened or is currently happening. This may sound kind of cheesy, but you’d be surprised how much we reject subconsciously! When we reject something it makes it hard to deal with what’s happening, process it, and move forward. If we don’t accept that _____ happened, how in the world can we move forward?
Now acceptance is an interesting thing, because maybe we do accept that a certain traumatic experience happened, but acceptance can still come with negative symptoms and/or sensations such as feelings of revenge or fear. Although it may be scary, accepting whatever is happening to us can help us remain within in our bodies and not disassociate, which creates more Dis-ease (as Jini likes to say).
Remain in the Moment
When we get out of something traumatic, even something small – why don’t we take time to PAUSE and reflect? Taking a PAUSE is so underestimated and underrated. This reflection can help us take each moment as is – to figure out what happened and how not to repeat it again, if possible!
Jini has always believed in the power of a pause and being in stillness. It helped her with her healing journey tremendously, and it has helped my healing as well. Stepping away gives you clarity, and SO many other things. Your beliefs and patterns have a huge effect on your healing, and a pause gives you the ability to refocus on what you DO want – and not that bad thing that happened that’s been sitting in front of you all day long. It’s like a recess, a mini-vacation for your mind and body, as they work so hard every day for you.
Staying in the present moment and focusing on one task at a time can also help erase all the what-ifs of the future or past. Deal with one thing at a time and save yourself from trying to tackle 50 things at once – which just isn’t possible!
It’s also helped me to remind myself that I have tools now. I’ve read Jini’s protocols, I know how to do an elemental diet, I know how to cycle on and off anti-pathogens, and I’m no longer helpless. And if you haven’t read any of Jini’s protocols, that’s okay too! Jini’s Home Remedy Pages are a fantastic place to start if you are feeling overwhelmed. Simply choose your symptom(s) from the drop-down list and start your healing today, and if you need extra support you can reach out to one of Jini’s recommended practitioners!
Take the judgment out of it. The first thing most of us do is BLAME ourselves!
It was that lobster I ate and now I have a horrible flare…
LIFE happens, so don’t blame yourself. Blame and guilt are so bad for us, and have you ever considered how that guilt could actually be more harmful than the actual food itself? I talk ALL about this in my post on food guilt. The stress associated with guilt can cause more stress, which, in turn, releases negative chemicals into the body – and this can immediately cause reactive symptoms!
GI issues usually emerge, and even other symptoms such as headaches, backaches, anxiety, depression, and a lowered immune system. The list goes on because remember, your body is feeling like it’s done something “bad” and so those harmful emotions can cause a number of side effects.
Instead of blame, shame, and self-judgment…treat it as a lesson or a learning experience! If there’s a lesson you can take from a negative experience then by all means take it – but don’t let it take YOU down.
Don’t Live in Constant Fear
One lesson I learned the hard way is that if you live life through a lens of fear, avoiding places, people, experiences, etc. just because you may flare, or you may need to be close to a toilet – that’s not really living!
If you want something, you should go for it. You may be surprised that your body is just fine because you are respecting your GUT by following your own intuition!
One of my mentors shared with me a specific experience of hers – it was during one of her personal therapy sessions, and she said something which really stuck with me.
The body wants to live.
She had a fear of sensations, just like me. To us, (her and I) the sensations felt were always bad – death, pain, or something horrible – and all of these feelings were based on some sort of trauma we went through! So any disease, symptom, side effect was immediate panic for us.
You may relate to this, especially when you apply it to this thought of a flare – because just the thought of flare-up can cause panic! But when I heard this statement from her, and as she told me this story, it began to sink in.
Our bodies don’t want to die. They work tremendously hard to sustain us! So rather than getting freaked by flares or symptoms, why not see this as an opportunity to get further information from our bodies. What message is your body sending you?
Ask your body: Where do you need support? How can I provide you support at this very moment? While asking this, I had to teach myself how to let sensations/flares/symptoms/side effects be. Instead of instant resistance, I had to learn to let them be there. I had to learn acceptance.
Now I will say, accepting that I had hives all over my body (for example) was so uncomfortable! But it wasn’t until I just accepted it was happening, that the sensations I was experiencing didn’t mean I was in danger, I was being attacked, or dying, that my symptoms began to decrease and disappear. I would simply ask myself, how can I support myself right now? And then I would go do what my body said – even if it was dancing around in my room while blaring Taylor swift LOL! If you can find ways to just release, however that may be, you’ll truly feel the shift I’ve been talking about today.
Throughout the years I have tried many things, but my personal go-to’s (which I practice daily!) are guided meditations and Jini’s Lazer Tapping. Whether I’m comfy at home or walking out in nature, there is just nothing like this combo in my opinion! With Lazer Tapping, Jini helps us laser-focus into individual issues, traumas, memories and beliefs, and access where they live, or are stored, in the physical body, as well as the emotional body. As we speak out loud, we engage the conscious mind and get our emotions and our chi/ki flowing. We talk about our feelings or memories, while tapping on key points along the meridians, and this connects us into our energy body, our subconscious, and the traumas stored in the physical tissues and cells of the body, so we can release them!
Try a free tapping session with Jini today – learn how to set healthy boundaries, as being able to say “No” to demands for your time and energy (especially to loved ones) is crucial for anyone with chronic illness. Or, if you have gut issues, try Jini’s free session on releasing emotions in the gut that are causing physical illness.
Regardless of whether you’re flaring or not, once you reassure your body that you’re safe, and you can find healthy outlets for your stress, your body can make some remarkable strides. 🙂