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Tummy Troubles: Mind-Body Connections

Posted Sep 22 2008 10:35am

DKI Images

Image credit: DKI Images

Friday, (also known as “V Day!”) I went out to lunch with some girlfriends, getting my usual salad from a place we frequent.

Immediately after, my stomach started to ache. I found this odd, since I was soooo happy Friday, knowing it was the day we were bringing my in-laws to O’Hare, their visit complete.

So I assumed it was food posioning.

Well, as it turns out, I am not sure if I had indeed eaten something bad, or if it was the combination of stress melding with my impending period, or if it was guilt I felt for being not the best wife, friend, or daughter during this time … but whatever the case, I spent most of the weekend cooped up nursing a tummy-ache.

Doing some reading, it seems I am not alone. Stress can certainly cause stomach-aches and given all the other factors, it’s no wonder!

It was almost as though all the (mental) anxiety building up in me these past five weeks just manifested intself in my physical body.

And, being someone who usually feels things first in her tummy, (happy flutters/excitment … impending doom/anxiety) I knew the only thing that would help was toast … and time.

Though I was certainly sad for my husband, knowing how hard it is for them when they leave … I think we all know I felt relieved when we dropped them off. How could I not breathe a sigh of relief?

But then I’d look over at him, and see the bittersweet sadness on his face, and feel guilty, knowing I hadn’t made this experience easy for him, either.

The drive back home and waking up to such a quiet house again, with just our hushed voices, was something hard to put into words, after such a stressful several weeks. It felt so nice … but also surreal.

And even that wasn’t enough to rid my body of the ache on Saturday or Sunday.

Self-analyzing, I really do think it’s because of how guilty I feel for how the visit went; I was the worst incarnation of myself, and that would make anyone’s tummy (already ill from possible food-poisoning and stress) ache.

I am proud to say I stuck to my weekend challenge and made it five full days without chewing-and-spitting. And though I didn’t eat very clean this weekend (I snacked a lot since I couldn’t muster meals), I didn’t overeat and have plenty of WPAs for this week.

After dinner Sunday, I was feeling a little better and my husband and I went for a bike ride, which was a great cap to the weekend.

All things considered, I am very glad this chapter is behind us, and am eager to get back to seeking a positive, healthy mentality of living in the present. Not the past, not the future. But the present.

Tummy-aches and all.

How about you? Is there a part of your body that reacts to stress/duress? For some, it’s headaches. For others, backaches. Eye problems. Stomach issues. How about you?

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