Stress is a normal reaction of our body to a change. Stress is common nowadays due to our busy lifestyle. It is very common among women as they have to manage everything on their own. Small amount of stress is normal because it's the way the body responds to danger or challenge. But if this stress stays for a longer period then it's not good for the body. It has many ill effects on our body. In short stress is a state of emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.

What exactly happens to your body during stress?

Stress is normal until or unless it persists for a longer period. During stressful events, our body releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones produce physiological changes to cope up with stress. It is also called stress response. Stress is actually positive as it makes you more attentive and it helps to stay motivated. But when there are recurrent episodes of stress or it occurs for a longer period of time then it starts disturbing our normal health. When there is a continuous response of the nervous system, it can lead to wear and tear response on the body. Stress affects all systems of the body, especially the digestive system.

Reason behind stress

There are different reasons behind stress. It can be personal relationships, work pressure, financial issues or long term illness. Stress differs from person to person, some people can handle it easily, while it may be a big issue for others. It totally depends on the mind set. If our mind is not that strong, it's going to be very tough to deal with such situations. However anything that puts you in high demand can lead to stress. These include getting married, first day at college, buying a house or shifting to a new place and many more. Stress is not always external factors it can be due to internal or we can say that self-generated. When you worry excessively or have negative thoughts about life, you will experience stress. The main reason behind stress is perception of life. As something stressful to you may not cause stress to someone else. Internal causes may include pessimism, negative thinking, unrealistic expectations and sometimes inability to accept circumstances. There is always a way to cope with such situations and regain balance. This stress not only affects our working ability but also affects the functions of our various systems such as digestive system, renal system, etc.

Side effects on Digestive system

Stress has an adverse effect on the digestive system. It can affect the digestive system in many ways. It affects circulation of the digestive system, hampered circulation, causes cramps in the stomach, inflammation and imbalance the healthy gut flora. Our gut is controlled by part of the central nervous system. When someone is stressed, one can eat more or less food than usual intake. Stress can lead to stomach pain, bloating and nausea. When people are extremely stressed, it causes overstimulation of vagus nerve. In normal conditions the vagus nerve regulates normal blood pressure, heart rate and digestion, etc. The overstimulation of the vagusnerve causes increased contraction of muscles and decreases stomach acid. Low stomach acid is also known as Hypochlorhydria. The low amount of acid in the stomach causes bloating, diarrhea, undigested food in stool, stomach infections and iron and protein deficiency. It affects the absorption of nutrients in the small intestine. The decreased absorption leads to protein and iron deficiency. Psychological variations combines with physical factors and inhibits normal gut movements and leads to various complications. Sometimes stress effects go beyond indigestion and it can severely affect people with irritable bowel syndrome.

How to cope up with stress

  • According to Ayurveda the main aim of treatment is removal of the root cause of disease. So first of all identify the source of stress. It's not that easy as it sounds. In order to know the main source of stress you have to closely pay attention to your daily habits.

  • In order to stay stress free you have to pay attention to your environment. You can avoid people that cause stress in your life. Whether it's personal life or professional life, know your limits and set boundaries.

  • The best way to cope with stress is to express your feelings. You can share your feelings with your loved ones or if you are staying alone go for a journal. Maintaining a journal is the best way to reduce stress and stay motivated.

  • Time management also helps to deal with stress and you will become more productive. Try to manage your time so that you can complete your every task timely. In this way you don't need to worry over small things. Everything will be managed on its own.

  • A positive approach is key to a healthy and happy life. When stress puts you down, try to think positive. Always try to be a positive thinker no matter whatever situation it is. By doing this you can achieve anything in your life. No matter what life throws at you, it's your test and life is going to be much better after that. Try to adopt a positive attitude in your life.

  • Try to indulge in physical activities and as they tremendously elevate your mood. You can do yoga at home or a simple walk. It will bring drastic and instant change in your mood. Mediation is another way to set a positive approach to life.

  • The most important thing is to pay gratitude. Practice gratitude to every little thing you have. If someone hurt you, release your hurt by forgiving them. Stay kind to yourself and do not overthink. It  will keep you in prospective. Do not hold grudges as it affects your mental health not anyone else.

  • Add a healthy diet to your daily routine. A healthy diet is mandatory to release stress. Add more vegetables and fruits into your diet. Eating healthy is beneficial not for physical health but also for psychological health.

  • Anyone who is dealing with stress, we need to be more patient with them.


Hence, we have found out almost all the ways in which stress affects our digestive system and finally our overall health. As, in Ayurveda as well as modern science, somewhere and somehow the digestive system plays a key role in being healthy or suffering from a disease. So, with the help of the above steps, manage your stress, promote digestive health, improve immunity and stay healthy.