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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.

More help

Hi. We are Karen Alison and Kathy Raymond and we help people self-heal their IBS naturally, with a doctor-recommended method that addresses the least-recognized aspect of this hellish condition – the way the brain triggers uncontrollable symptoms in the gut.

IBS is a lot like having PTSD (also once believed to be untreatable) because of the way your autonomic nervous system is triggered into producing symptoms. But, in a few short sessions, you can learn how to retrain your brain so you shut down the neural pathways that lead straight to diarrhea, constipation, bloating, gas, and anxiety.

If you don’t deal with this underlying root cause of your problem, you’ll have to spend the rest of your life at the mercy of your Irritable Bowel… and it usually gets worse.

But you can make it stop NOW. Just click on this link for more information and follow the instructions to access the program.

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.


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Comments (26)

  1. valerie

I will try it I just hope it works. I feel so bad right now I will try anything.

  1. Kayla Cureton

Oh my gosh this technique is amazing! I tried it while reading the page and the abdominal pains have completely gone away. Thanks!

  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Kayla,
Thanks for the comment! I'm glad to know this technique helped you.

  1. Jon marcum

Breathing really works

  1. Karen of No IBS

Thanks for your comment, Jon. Amazing how effective simple things can be, eh?

  1. Natasha

Never works for me sadly.

  1. Karen of No IBS

Hi Natasha,
I'm sorry to hear the breathing doesn't work for you. I'm wondering if your stomach cramps could be related to food or chemical allergies or sensitivities. With these additional...

Hi Natasha,
I'm sorry to hear the breathing doesn't work for you. I'm wondering if your stomach cramps could be related to food or chemical allergies or sensitivities. With these additional physical stresses, it can be hard to resolve stomach cramps from emotional stress without addressing the physical side as well.

If you get stomach cramps often, try tapping (see the video) ahead of time on situations that could give you cramps, (i.e. times when you get nervous or anxious) to help keep you calmer in stressful situations.

You might be interested in the work of Dr. John Sarno, who wrote a book called The MindBody Prescription. He has some great ideas for dealing with stress- and emotion-based pain.

I suppose I should also mention that we go into detail about tapping to relieve physical symptoms in the No IBS Program (along with info about good foods for IBS and how to keep chemicals from stressing your digestive system) so that's another option.

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  1. Deidre

I started to do this technique and couldnt stop cracking up laughing it looks so funny. Now when I have anxiety Im going to use this technique because it makes me laugh so hard. ( Not being disrespectful, just shareing how it worked for me ) Dee

  1. Karen of No IBS

Hey Deidre,

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

  1. 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.

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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