I was stuck in the bathroom… again.
My stomach was cramping and churning.
I was racking my brain – “What did I eat that I shouldn’t have??”
I just wanted to know what I had eaten wrong so I could NEVER MAKE THAT MISTAKE AGAIN!
But no matter how carefully I logged my food journal, no matter how many questions I asked – even when I gave up eating out altogether and prepared 100% of my own food – I was still having symptoms.
Does this happen to you too?
Here’s Why You’re Still Having Symptoms
Let me save you the hours of over analyzing every bite you put in your mouth…
It’s not the food.
I wanna be clear here – of course your diet is important. But if you’re eating “right” for you and you’re still having symptoms…
It’s not the food… it’s stress.
I didn’t get “glutened.” I was stressed out – about my job, my bills, my parents, my relationship, my health, my kids, the tires on my car, etc.
And that stress presented itself as real, horrible, stuck-in-the-bathroom symptoms.
Stress has thousands of effects on the body – and if you’re already prone to digestion issues (like us) – you’re more than likely feeling that stress in your gut.
Bloating, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, gas, heartburn… it’s all related to stress!
How Stress Affects Gut Health
We all know anecdotally how acute stress can impact gut health:
- If you’re nervous before a big test or first date you get “butterflies in your stomach.”
- The stress of a break up or the death of a loved one can make you lose (or increase) your appetite.
- And the night before you start a new job? It’s pretty common to get diarrhea…
But the way chronic stress affects the gut is less widely understood.
Chronic stress is the toll leaving a modern life places on us – it’s everything from work to your commute to watching the nightly news. Even the MOST privileged people in the world live with chronic stress.
(And if you’re just regular people the stress toll can be even bigger.)
What does this constant stress do to your body?
This 2014 study demonstrated that stress had a “marked impact on intestinal sensitivity, motility, secretion and permeability, and the underlying mechanism has a close correlation with mucosal immune activation, alterations in central nervous system, peripheral neurons and gastrointestinal microbiota.”
What does that mean? Basically that exposure to stress causes an increase in things like leaky gut and IBS.
The scientists who completed this study came to this conclusion: “IBS is a stress-sensitive disorder, therefore, the treatment of IBS should focus on managing stress and stress-induced responses.”
Why I Didn’t Feel Relieved (At First)
When I finally realized that the symptoms that just wouldn’t “clear up” or the unexpected “flares” weren’t being caused by what I was eating, I was pretty upset.
My diet, I knew how to control. Stress – that felt like it was totally out of my hands.
But that actually isn’t true.
No, I can’t just get rid of my kids, or quit paying my bills, or stop missing my parents.
We can’t get rid of stress. But here’s what I’ve learned: we can learn how to manage stress and work through it.
There are actually a lot of ways to ”manage stress” – and finding what works for you is just as individual as diet.
That’s why, even if you’ve tried lots of other stress management therapies or techniques, I want you to keep reading.
(Even if you’ve tried exercise, therapy, taking bubble baths, meditation, yoga, counseling, and you feel like nothing makes a difference.)
I felt that way too – until I found something that has totally changed my stress management – and frankly, my entire life.
How I Learned To Deal With Stress
I started tapping.
Tapping, most commonly known as EFT or Emotional Freedom Technique, is a type of energy work that combines eastern medicine and modern psychology.
It works by combining the ancient practices of acupressure with Western psychological techniques. It is extremely effective with both physical issues (digestive problems, back pain, headaches, etc) and emotional issues.
It’s also what has allowed me to “conquer” stress and get to the healthiest and happiest I’ve ever been.
But what’s really amazing is that unlike traditional acupressure or psychotherapy… you can learn to do tapping on your own, at home, really quickly.
It’s completely safe, easy, and free.
You don’t need weekly appointments or to shell out a lot of time, energy, or money. In fact, you can learn the basics of the technique in as quick as a few minutes – and start practicing immediately.
How Does Tapping Work?
There’s nothing “magical” about tapping (even though it can feel that way).
EFT (tapping) was first developed about 20 years ago by clinical psychologists like Dr. David Feinstein and Dr. Dawson Church.
They found that by combining some of the psychological processes they used with tapping on meridian points in the body – the same point acupuncturists press on – their clients were having more pronounced results than with either method alone.
Doctors and clients alike have been having anecdotal (AKA personal) results with tapping for the last 20 years – but until fairly recently there wasn’t research that could explain WHY tapping worked so well.
But 2 new powerful studies have demonstrated how tapping works (and it isn’t “woo-woo” or mystical.)
The first study was conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School and focused on what tapping does to the body, physically. It found that by stimulating meridian points on the body – such as by tapping them – activity in a part of the brain called the amygdala was reduced.
The amygdala is like the body’s alarm system – it is responsible for controlling the stress response that includes an increase in the “stress hormone” cortisol. The stress response is what causes physical symptoms of stress, including those digestive symptoms I was talking about earlier. If activity in the amygdala is reduced, the stress response and symptoms caused by it are reduced (or even eliminated) too.
The second study looked at how tapping or EFT impacted cortisol levels in the body. Volunteers received an hour of EFT and had their cortisol levels measured before and after.
The results were kind of crazy (in a good way). The average reduction in cortisol of those who received EFT for just one hour was 24%.
Some people had as much as a 50% reduction in cortisol levels in just one hour.
(And they compared these results to people who got an hour of traditional talk therapy and a group of people who received no treatment – neither had any significant reduction in cortisol levels.)
These 2 studies are now opening doors for even more research into how and why tapping works. (It’s not just placebo effect!)
Who Can Benefit From Tapping?
I want to make something clear – there is no magic cure-all for anything in life.
Tapping can’t replace eating a gut-healthy diet, exercising, mindfulness, life-saving medications, or even traditional therapy.
But what I do know is that tapping is something that everyone can add to their “health toolkit.”
What I’ve seen tapping help with:
- Chronic, daily stress
- Emotional trauma
- Clearing limiting beliefs
- Overcoming autoimmune disease
- Relationship issues
- Anxiety and depression
- Chronic pain (even from old injuries)
- Chronic diseases like fibromyalgia
- Willpower and motivation
- Food issues like binging and cravings
- Weight management
- Digestion issues
- And many others…
Like I said before, tapping is easy to learn and it’s free. There’s no reason not to at least try it. You might feel a little silly at first – but the results speak for themselves.
(And did I mention kids can practice tapping, too? It is used in schools all over the world.)
Want To Learn More About Tapping?
I practice tapping regularly, but I won’t pretend I’m an expert (or should be the one teaching you how to do it).
I actually learned about tapping a few years ago during one of the first Tapping World Summits.
And now it’s time for the 10th Tapping World Summit (and you can watch for free online).
At the TWS, you can learn exactly HOW to tap from the developers of EFT and other experts in the practice.
If you’re serious about living your best life and managing stress for good, there is no better way to learn about EFT than at the Tapping World Summit.
Tapping has been a transformative tool for me – I hope you’ll at least take the time to learn more about it and see if it can support you, as well.
P.S. Have you tried tapping? Leave a comment and tell us about your experiences with EFT.