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mardi 17 novembre 2020

Gut check, day 4: Meditate to relieve stress

Unlike other wellness trends, meditation has clear benefits.
Move Your Body Challenge

DAY 4 OF 10

Meditate to relieve stress

We know, you can't go a day without someone suggesting you must start meditating, but we promise it's actually worth the hype. Meditation is a practice of training your mind to focus and redirect its attention. And unlike other wellness trends taking over the internet, studies have found that meditation is a powerful tool with clear benefits. 

Meditation has been shown to help reduce anxiety and stress, decrease depression, lengthen attention span, and improve sleep (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7). 

So, what does this added chill have to do with your gut? 

Anyone who's had stomach pain or diarrhea when stressed out can tell you that stress can directly affect your digestion. 

High stress can reduce the diversity of bacteria in your gut, lower the count of beneficial bacteria like Lactobacillus, and increase the occurrence of harmful bacteria like Clostridium (8). It can lead to the development of inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (8, 9). It can also affect how quickly food moves through your digestive system and make your intestines more permeable, which can lead to leaky gut and intestinal inflammation (8, 10, 11). 

Meditation can help reduce the impact of stress on the gut. It can also help you sleep, which as we learned on day 2, is vital for a healthy microbiome. 

Simple meditation practice

Start with a 3–5 minute meditation. Find a quiet, comfortable spot where you can relax undisturbed. Set a timer, and bring your attention to your breath.  

As thoughts rush in, simply acknowledge them and allow them to pass. Don't judge your thoughts or follow them. If you get distracted, bring your attention back to your breath and the feeling of air flowing in and out of your body.  

When the timer goes off, take a moment or two to sit before going on with your day.

If you'd rather do anything other than quietly sit still, you might want to try one of the many other styles of meditation, like a moving meditation. Or try using a meditation app to guide you.

Wishing you calm,
The Healthline Team

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