Many of us are stressed from time to time. The demands of work and family life, either separately or together, can overwhelm us. Defined simply, stress is when you feel under too much pressure emotionally or mentally and you feel less able to cope.
Although stress is not itself an illness, it can bring on health problems such as high blood pressure and insomnia. Whilst there is no direct evidence that stress causes heartburn and indigestion, it is known to be a potential trigger.
What can cause stress?
The causes of stress can vary greatly from person to person. There may not be one specific trigger, but several different emotional and mental pressures all interacting. Along with work and family life, financial problems and age-related issues can often cause stress too. Some common causes include:
Work: There could simply be too much to do. Your job may demand long hours and high, possibly unreasonable, demands to perform. Stress may also arise from work-related disagreements, which are common and often involve personality clashes or differences of opinion.
Family: Illnesses in family members can have an impact in the short or long-term. Family arguments and relationship problems can be stressful on a daily basis. And on top of that, your children's behaviour at home or school may pile yet more pressure on you - in addition to giving them the attention they need and ferrying them around to take part in football, netball, drama classes etc.
Money: No one needs debt, or cash flow problems. But these are sometimes facts of life, and common causes of stress - especially if there's a sudden financial demand, like unforeseen car or home repairs, or a tax bill. Unemployment too, has its own challenges - the stressfulness of looking for work and applying for jobs and interviews. Not to mention worry of having little or no money coming in.
Life stages: Our changing life stages can bring great happiness, but may bring stress too. Getting married and starting a family, for example, brings new demands. As can career progression into a more responsible position. Moving home, worrying about retirement or illness in later life can also present us with new challenges.
How to manage Stress
Managing some stress may take time to sort out. The first step is to identify the source of your stress, and if there are emotional or lifestyle issues that you can change, then work towards changing them. These tips may help you:
Communicate how you are feeling with others. Talking to someone about feeling stressed can really help. Chatting to friends or a professional may help to spread the load. Those close to you may be able to provide practical support too.
Taking control - Look into ways of managing your time more effectively, prioritize, make lists and be realistic about achieving the tasks. Get into a good routine, so you will know what's coming next, especially in work and family life. Work smarter - not harder
Relax – OK, it's easier said than done, but giving yourself some ’me time’ to recharge your batteries can help you cope, as it can give you time to reflect and process all the things that might otherwise lay heavy on your head. This need only involve simple changes. Perhaps, once the children are in bed, you can sit quietly and do a little reading. Or make this the time to chat things over with your partner
Reassess habits - Drinking alcohol in the evenings may help you relax, but there are alternatives. Why not try hot, milky drinks or relaxing herbal teas instead?
Stop or at least try hard to cut down smoking - help is always available online and from your doctor or pharmacist
Eat healthy foods regularly and sit down to meals. Eating fast foods or fatty foods on
the run can contribute to indigestion - you really don't need more stress.
Adopt a ‘can do’ attitude and move forward
Always, try to think positively, by reminding yourself of the good things in life. Focus on the aspects you can control, that you know can make a difference. But don't be too hard on yourself. Try to be realistic. It does take time to deal with and reduce stress. So consider starting to make those positive changes today, and tell yourself "it's going to get better from now on." And you could be moving forward very soon.
If you feel that you’re not making significant improvement, it is strongly recommended to speak to a doctor about different ways they can help you manage your stress.
How to Manage Stress Induced Heartburn and Indigestion
While it might not always be easy to manage the causes of stress, stress and acid reflux are commonly associated for physical discomfort through heartburn and indigestion. Gaviscon Double Action can help as it gets to work instantly and lasts up to twice as long as antacids. So don't just put up with heartburn, it may only add to your stress.
All information presented is not meant to diagnose or prescribe. Gaviscon for Heartburn & Indigestion. Always read the label. If symptoms are severe or prolonged you should consult a doctor or pharmacist.
Article published 1 January 2021