Stressbuik: wat te doen

A stress belly can refer to the fact that you can get a belly from stress, but you can also have all kinds of stomach complaints from stress. For example, think of stomach pain before you have a test or before an important day at work. In this blog we will discuss the effect that stress can have on your belly and what you can do against stress.

Intestines and stress

Research shows that long-term stress, childhood stress, and even acute stress can affect your gut flora; all the bacteria that help your gut get nutrients from your food into your blood. That gut flora can then function less well than when you are not suffering from stress.

Adjusting your diet can do a lot to restore your intestinal flora, for example by eating foods rich in omega-3, prebiotics and probiotics [1] .

However, that does not always do anything to reduce stress.

Stomach ache from stress

Getting a stomach ache from stress is also something that many people can suffer from. It is most well known that a child can be sick at school, but adults can also be sick at work. Swedish research among people with an office job shows that if women work long hours and then also have to do a lot of housework, they suffer more from stress symptoms. Men who work more than fifty hours a week also suffer more from stress symptoms.

Stomach pain, or stomach problems, was one of the symptoms. Other symptoms included stiff neck and shoulders, fatigue, headaches, lower back pain, and trouble sleeping [2] .

In addition, the stomach ache from stress can also be caused by something that happens to your intestines. For example, you can suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and these complaints can worsen when you have a period of stress. For example, you can suffer from constipation, or have the problem that everything wants to come out very quickly.

This is because your brain and your bowel function are connected. Emotions involve certain substances and negative emotions disrupt these substances, causing your bowels to move differently [3] .

Stress belly: fatter due to stress

Another problem that stress can cause is that you get a belly. This is because stress causes you to sleep less, have more desire to snack and you have less desire to exercise.

Emotional eating is a problem that often affects people who suffer from a stress belly.

What to do against stress

There are many ways to reduce stress. First of all, it is useful to find out what causes you stress. Because if you know what stresses you, you can see if you can do something about it.

For example, if you are stressed by your work, research shows that talking to colleagues can reduce stress [4] . You will feel more connected to your colleagues and this can help if you need help at work, for example.

In general, there are a number of things you can do to reduce stress. The first and most obvious of these is to relax [5] , [6] . You relax your body to release all the tension that builds up in your body due to stress.


Mindfulness meditation can help you achieve that relaxation, because the intention is to be with your attention in the here and now. A lot of stress comes from fears about the future. Your thoughts about possible future scenarios can be very stressful, while nothing is happening at the moment. If you then focus on this moment, this can help you to relax deeply (source 6).

Knowledge of mindfulness can also help you to be less bothered by negative thoughts in general, because you are more likely to notice that you have a negative thought pattern and can then consciously stop and change it [7] .

Breath work

Deep breathing is also a good way to achieve relaxation. When you are stressed, there is a big chance that you breathe high in your chest and that actually causes a bit of a lack of oxygen, which is also not a nice feeling. By focusing on your breathing and breathing deeply through your belly, you ensure that your brain and other organs get all the oxygen they need to function properly and that can reduce stress (source 6). Consciously working on your breathing is also called breath work.

Knowing your body

The Jacobson technique is a technique where you learn to recognize tension in your body, so that you can consciously relax that part of your body. For example, you learn how it feels when you are frowning, so you notice this faster and you can relax your facial muscles sooner. This also looks very much like progressive muscle relaxation (source 6).

This also helps in the long run to have less stress hormone in your bloodstream. That’s super nice!

You can also work more actively on relaxation, for example by practicing yoga. You are then, as it were, engaged in moving meditation. Your breathing and movement work together with yoga. Because you often have to keep your balance with yoga, you are focused on your body and your breathing, so that you do not think about what is causing you stress. In addition, you stretch your muscles with yoga, which also makes them feel better and more relaxed. There are also yoga techniques in which the movement of the body does not play a role, but only the breathing.

Yoga is also a good way to reduce stress (source 7).

Getting started with the techniques

Do you want to get rid of your stomach pain or a stress stomach, but you don’t know how to use the above tips to relax? Then the online stress program of Hypnolab is a very good solution.

In this practical program you will receive the right help to relax and breathing techniques and hypnotherapy and NLP techniques are also used to help you really let go of stress.

Read  more on the site here  .


Anneke and Menno

[1]  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0166432821003624

[2] https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/15/2/209/567068

[3]  https://www.karger.com/Article/Ab stract/50681

[4]  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/09638230410001700871

[5]  https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02600.x

[6]  https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=nl&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=Stress+management+techniques+for+students&btnG=

[7]  https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/18/12/6320

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