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Finding Your Inner Child: Stress Relief Can Be More Than Quiet Meditations and a Warm Bath

"Enjoy the little things in life because one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things".

- Kurt Vonnegut

I can easily say what stresses me out most is when someone tells me I'll feel better if I just have "less stress" in my life. Yes, it's true that added stress can have a direct impact on our health, especially for those of us living with a chronic digestive illness like gastroparesis. We are more sensitive than the average Joe and what feels normal and achievable to most often comes at a price; be it that extra hour of work, 1 hr of exercise vs. 20 minutes, taking a trip (even vacations can be tough!), or going to an event 2 nights in a row (crazy, I know!). BUT, at the same time we do want to live our lives and often many stressful circumstances are unavoidable. Life happens and learning to adapt may be the key.

Lately life has been particularly challenging in my world and for reasons beyond my control. Part of that is external - aka daily life, while the other part is internal - GP acting up and slowing me down. And as most of you can relate to, not feeling well is a cause for stress on it's own. Thank goodness for the GP oils created by Essential7 that now help me to manage pain and increased my ability to eat, after eight long years of searching for some relief. But what else can we do to stay on top of times like this?

In our book The New Approach to Healing Gastroparesis and Digestive Challenges, Chalyce discusses the how specific emotions affect the we feel. Guilt is a biggie, one that can weigh heavy on us when we constantly feel like we should do more and be more. You will find a list of each emotion with a tip for an activity and a daily affirmation to use. For guilt it is recommended to, "Find a grassy patch, lie in the sunshine, cuddle under your favorite blanket or soak in the tub. Know this is what you deserve and don't even think about doing anything else." YES please! It's time to find something that feels good, something that is fun.

Now, there is no better time to practice daily meditations than when living with a chronic illness (or feeling stressed), and a nice warm, Relax and Release Epsom salt bath at bedtime makes for a luxurious icing on the calm cake. Trust me, this is the key to a good, deep night's sleep! However, something can still feel like it's missing at times. As I've heard myself saying more and more lately, "I'm doing it all right so why don't I feel well?"

When times like this happen, when you don't know where to turn next, it might be time for a change. Nothing too drastic, just take a moment to ask yourself, "What am I craving, what does my body and my mind truly desire?" Remember when you were a kid (or maybe you are now) and the simple things that would bring you joy? With an illness, or even just being an adult in the real world, these simple pleasures can easily get overshadowed by exhaustion, responsibilities, and the never ending to-do list just to get through the day.

It's time to embrace fun, as though it is the very air and water needed for our survival. For example, my inner child loves digging in the dirt and jamming out to music with no other purpose than to enjoy those moments. Simple enough right? So I planted some daffodils and seeds for carrots, beets and greens, in a bed of fresh soil, then laid around listening to music. No computer, no phone or social media. Even with the undertone of a stubborn belly, it felt GOOD.

While I would love to go into the science behind this, the lowering of cortisol (stress hormone) and increase of serotonin (feel-good hormone), that's for another time. Now it's time for a visit with a couple friends, ones who know and understand me well so no added stress, making a delicious and nourishing dish of congee, something I truly enjoy.

What are you going to do for fun? How about jump on the bed, lay on a blanket in the sun, swing on a playground, watch a comedy with a friend, play tic-tac-toe, learn an instrument, read a new mystery novel, have a picnic with a fancy tea set, paint without perfection...the possibilities are endless.

Share yours on our Healing GP Facebook page and help inspire others!

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