Within research, IBS sufferers are shown to have lower levels of resilience, positive affect, self-efficacy, and emotional regulation. Psychological factors are known to contribute to the development of IBS and the relationships have been widely studied!
So, what can we do about it?
With positive psychology, we can start to build up those areas and put interventions in life for our well-being, no this isn’t an instant fix, but it is long-term support!
So here are some starter interventions for you
Resilience: Defined as the ability to withstand or recover quickly, to me it’s also the ability to bounce back from situations.
Look at some problem-solving frameworks, depending on what problem you are focusing on this may be a CBT framework or a Leadership framework such as the Snowden framework. For IBS and Anxiety at this point I will outline a CBT Framework But please ask if you’re after something different!
- What’s happened that has triggered your IBS?
- Focus on what you are feeling, close your eyes, and feel
- What thoughts are you telling yourself when the event is happening?
- What behaviour did you exhibit ( did you fidget, breathe heavier?)
- What evidence do you have to support your thoughts during the event?
- What might not be true in my thoughts during the event?
I would suggest making a diary to find patterns and write down what you are doing the day your IBS triggers, CBT is obviously so much more than this example, but it gives you a starting point!
Positive affect: Is the focus on positive emotions, so for example the extent that you can feel joy.
Can be built by focusing on bodily sensations, a great intervention for this is a body scan meditation. These can be found in a lot of places just type them into your browser!
Self-efficacy: The belief that you can do what is needed to hit your goals! You build core beliefs in your abilities so how is this built? This is the basis of the saying getting out of your comfort zone or for empowerment coaching, it’s building confidence and motivation!
One intervention is just getting out of the comfort zone but let’s take it easier today.
Let’s look at the challenging things you have overcome in the past and focus on bringing them to the forefront! You could do this by exploring what you learned from that time, how you have done great with that thing, and what did you feel at that time.
Create an image and really feel it!
Emotional regulation: I think everyone has heard of this one its one of the more known areas of development and is not a simple quick fix, this is your ability to respond not react to moments in time, one way to expand your emotional regulation is mindfulness and focusing on the present moment!
Gratitude ambles are a great intervention for this, stand still right now and look around you at what is beautiful in this space and moment.
Now we are going to expand that to a walk, don’t take the dog!
This is your time, go for a slow walk and feel, notice and really take a moment to see what is around you, what can you be grateful for in that space in that step?
Is the sun on your face?
Is the bird next to you singing?
Is there a child laughing in the background?
Really notice the space you are in and bring yourself into that present space instead of scrolling the digital world or listening to the stories in your head!
What else can you do?
For IBS alongside psychology, you can also look to gaining a balance of flora in your stomach and there are many effective probiotics and vitamins for the stomach. CBD has also been shown to support people with anxiety, which is often a key aspect of IBS and can also support the intestines to respond to inflammation and positively affect digestion. One CBD product that can help with IBS, is the hapihemp CBD capsules.
Not only are they full of CBD, but they also contain Turmeric, Black pepper and Ginger. All of which are well known to help with IBS.
IBS isn’t an instantly fixable thing, but I can tell you from personal experience that you can really make a difference in the effect it has on your life!
Tracy Kearns MSc MAPPCP