Has this ever happened to you?

 There you are at work, waiting for clients to show up or a meeting to begin. You're a bit anxious because you want things to go well. All of a sudden, you feel a few little spasms in your abdomen that tell you the dreaded STOMACH CRAMPS from stress are on their way. You know those stomach cramps. They start out as a little twinge and end up making you wish you’d never been born.

You have a horrible vision of greeting your clients, then having a big attack of stomach spasms, trying not to double over in pain. Or maybe you'll have to rush off to the bathroom while they check their watches, wondering what the heck is taking so long. Definitely NOT the way to impress them.

Now you feel even more anxiety! On top of work stress, you have gastro-stress to deal with, not to mention possible gas, pain and embarrassment.

Wouldn't it be great to be calm? But when you're stressed, your heart is pounding and your gut starts to churn, it's pretty hard to relax.

Here's what you can do to stop stress-based stomach cramps and gas from taking over. It takes only a couple of minutes and it works.

This is a breathing technique that slows down your heart rate so you feel calm and peaceful. Then your stomach cramps from stress melt away. Professional speakers with stage fright use this technique just before they go onstage.

Here’s how you do it:
1) Take a deep breath in through your nose
2) Hold it for a 3 or 4 seconds
3) Let it out s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y through your mouth, then...

Continue for AT LEAST ten inhales and exhales. If you just do it once, it won't have much effect. Breathe in to a count of 4 or 5, and out to a count of 8 or 10. Or more. 

On the long exhale, to make it to a count of 10 and get all the air out, you may have to pull your stomach muscles in for the last few counts.

While you're doing the breathing, focus your mind on relaxing thoughts. Your thoughts are extremely powerful and will create either stress and anxiety or calmness and confidence for you. Think about the BEST possible outcome and focus on that.

Or just witness yourself being stressed. Meditation experts say that when you simply watch yourself being anxious and feeling stressed WITHOUT JUDGMENT, the stress will go away all by itself. It's as if you are standing outside of yourself, watching yourself having a meltdown and thinking, "Oh, there she is, being all stressed again."

Even if you think this breathing technique is not working at first, keep going! Suddenly you'll realize you feel calm and relaxed and your stomach cramps from stress are gone.

Why does this technique work?

When you're stressed, you tend to breathe shallowly or hold your breath. This makes your stress worse. At the same time, your amygdala, a part of your brain that helps you survive, sets off alarm bells because it senses approaching danger (your clients.) Your digestion goes haywire in response to these emergency signals from your brain.

To calm down the amygdala and stop those unwanted emergency signals from causing digestive distress, the breathing technique works like a charm.

So try it the next time you feel those stomach cramps from stress bringing on their spasms and gas. It's great when you're in public and need a discreet remedy. I've even heard that some public speakers use this technique in the middle of a talk to calm their nerves and their heart rate! No one notices. They just pause for a few seconds to take one deep breath and then let it out slowly. Ahhh! Sweet relaxation....

You can also use EFT tapping on your stomach cramps to quickly eliminate spasms, pain and symptoms. Here's a video that shows you how to tap for anxiety. When Kathy says, "Even though I'm feeling anxious..." you can substitute, "Even though I have stomach cramps..." or "Even though my stomach is cramping from stress..." or "Even though I'm stressed..." Then when she says "This anxiety" or "I'm feeling anxious", you can say "These stomach cramps" or "I'm feeling stressed." Use the technique and change the words to suit your situation.

Join the discussion

Please let us know how this information helped you by leaving your comments below. You can share this article with your friends by clicking on the Share and Like buttons at the top of this article. Thanks!

By the way, there's more great information about relieving IBS in our special report "Unlocking the Mystery of IBS." You'll get insider details about strategies to stop the top 5 triggers of IBS from harming you... Learn about the one thing nobody has told you that is likely keeping you from getting better - and how to deal with it to resolve your symptoms. Simply put your email address in the box on the right for instant access to this special IBS information.

Don’t read this…

…unless you’re serious about self-healing Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Please only click here if you are looking for an effective, drug-free program that gets to the root of your symptoms.

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  • Hey Deidre,

    Whatever works! Better to be laughing than anxious, for sure. Thanks for sharing.

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  • yvonne

    is there anyone who can help me with my problem. I was diagnosed with anemia 6 weeks ago and given ferrous sulphate 200mg to take three times a day. Three days later i started to get spasms in my stomach but only when I went to bed and lay down.
    I went almost two weeks with no sleep sitting on the edge of the bed as this stopped them.I went to see my gp times in a week totally exausted. I had a chest xray ,a ultra sound scan and an endoscomy all normal. My doctor eventually gave me omeprazole,no difference,temazepam no difference. Occasionally I have a good night and I think they have stopped then like last night they last for four or five hours.The spasms are not painful but my whole stomach jolts.The spasms are also accompanied by a short sharp cough. I take buspirone,i have been prescribed this instead of propranolol as i was having problems breathing. I have suffered from palpitations for a long time but these seem to have been replaced by my stomach jolts. please help

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  • Hi Yvonne,
    Do you think you're having an allegic reaction to the ferrous sulphate? A friend of mine could only tolerate black cherry extract as a source of iron, and she did very well on that (from the health food store.) Also, I'm wondering why you're anemic. Are you vegetarian or vegan? Do you need B-12 shots?
    It sounds like you are under a LOT of stress, so look at the blog posts about anxiety on this site and do the tapping that Kathy demonstrates in the Anxiety video above any time you feel uncomfortable. You can also tap on having the spasms and any worry about them you might have. (As you probably know, emotions often underlie physical symptoms, so it helps to deal with a health problem on both physical and emotional levels.) Tapping consistently gives a better effect than just doing it once (so every day, or every time you feel bad.)

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  • yvonne

    karen
    thankyou for your response.No I am not vegetarian,my GP thinks my stomach has been irritated by taking diclofenac for back pain.I will certainly try the tapping, I have heard of this before. I have also stopped taking the ferrous sulphate and have replaced it with a product called SpaTone and the tummy pains seem to have eased a little so I will see how I get on. I think I have got to the stage where I will try anything for a few hours of quality sleep.I have tried the breathing exercises but as the spasms make me cough this is quite hard to do.I also need to acknowledge the amount of stress I am under, I tend to put everyone else first and neglect myself. Thankyou once again for your helpful advice

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  • Katey

    Many thanks to you for sharing this information. I found the tapping technique to be extremely helpful and effective. I will definitely share this information with others. If only more doctors were taught to shared these simple (and free) techniques before being so quick to write a prescription. Again, I truly appreciate you share these tips.

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  • Hi Katey,
    You're welcome! Glad to hear it helped. Doctors do their best (or most of them do, anyway) but as far as I know, they only learn two treatment approaches in medical school: drugs and surgery, so if that doesn't work for you, they don't have anything left in their toolkit.
    According to Franz Ingelfinger MD, former Editor-in-Chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, conventional medicine does nothing for 81% of patients! In fact, he said it actually harms another 9%!!! This is because most health problems in the industrialized world are chronic - like IBS or recurrent stomach cramps - rather than acute (acute issues need ER-type treatment.) And chronic conditions seem to respond better to methods like tapping that gently help you take control of your own health and change old patterns (often unconscious ones.)

    Thanks for your kind words!

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  • Rich

    Hi,
    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this very effective and positive feeling I get now when using this technique.

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  • Hi Rich,
    Glad to know this technique is helping you to feel better. Thanks for your comment.

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  • Brian

    I just wanted to briefly tell people about what i have found to work for stomach spasms. I simply take two ibuprofen and drink some picot. For me it has to be picot. I tried alkaseltzer but it didnt work. Hopefully this helps some people

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  • Hi Brian,

    Thanks for your input. I notice picot is made from bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) and citric acid. I wonder if this is something one could make oneself, or if drinking some baking soda dissolved in water would also work?

    If anyone has tried it, let me know.

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