6 Tips for Outsmarting IBS

Put a lid on stress.
Stress can trigger a variety of physiologic responses, including changes in the way our gastrointestinal systems function — and for people with IBS, these changes can be extreme. To control stress, try massage, yoga, and meditation, and even some simple deep breathing: Put one hand over your diaphragm, just under your ribs, and take a deep breath. As you breathe in, focus on letting your diaphragm push your hand out, expanding your abdomen. Exhale naturally, and notice how your hand gently falls as the air leaves your lungs. You can also try taking quiet time for yourself — a half hour to read or take a bubble bath — to give your mind and body a much-needed break. But if stress has gotten out of control, you might want to consider a short course of counseling with a therapist to help you learn how to change the way you respond to the stressful events in your life.