How Donald Trump Made Me Constipated
…and the life changing conclusion on what to do about it.
There’s no doubt in my mind you have come across Trump in the news this week (and every week), and when you did, I’m sure you had some sort of response. Our responses all manifest themselves in different ways…so if any of this news happened to cause a negative response, PAY ATTENTION!
Because I’m a millennial, and grew up in the age of the internet, it was almost engraved in my mind & body that whether I was bored, didn’t have anything to do with my hands, sitting on the toilet, watching TV, at dinner, shopping or should be paying attention to something else, I was usually on my phone. I don’t do anything productive on it, I just scroll. I scroll through Facebook, I scroll through Instagram, I check my Snapchat, etc. At one point, it was part of my morning routine to scroll to the last Instagram I saw before getting out of bed. I even started to think that my someday children’s hands would be more evolved to hold an iPhone without dropping it on their faces.
Last summer, I’d be scrolling through my Instagram feed, and I swear everyone I followed was in Greece. Everyone from Instagram models to people I went to high school with were soaking up the sun in their somehow amazingly perfect white bikinis and tan, toned bodies, sipping Bellini’s in Santorini as if this is what we should all be doing. While I sat in my driveway in a Walmart beach chair, outside of my duplex apartment building in Portsmouth, NH, I thought to myself “maybe I’m doing something wrong” …and in that moment, I had an epiphany.
I used to spend a tremendous amount of time comparing myself to others, using other people’s’ relationship milestones, career advancements, and fitness levels as a measure of my own success. Sometimes I was doing better than others, sometimes I wasn’t…and my self-worth seemed to fluctuate accordingly. Somewhere along the lines, I realized this behavior was not only unhealthy, but self-sabotaging too. I know at some point we will all come across the inspirational quote telling us to only compare ourselves to past versions of ourselves, and while that is really helpful, (seriously, it is. Just think about it) I don’t think that it’s the whole picture when it comes to social media.
Let’s rewind to last summer & fall, when everyone and anyone’s Facebook status was about Donald Trump. They hate him! They love him! He makes them want to puke! He’s the change the country needs!
IT WAS INESCAPABLE.
I wish I could tell you it has slowed down, but with the first 100 days barely in hindsight, and the recent…well, everything, I can tell you that the bombardment of these topics at the time in which you’re scrolling past them, could potentially be affecting your health.
After the election, I went into work, and some of the people I work with were on cloud 9, others were puffy eyed, seemingly sick to their stomachs. I decided to shut it all off. I cared about the results of the election about as much as any other woman who likes to be in control of their body did. But was scrolling through my newsfeed going to resolve any of those feelings? No. I remember during the 2012 election, I had a similar experience. I was commuting from NJ to NYC at the time, and on my 50 minute ferry ride, if I couldn’t sleep, I was scrolling, and sometimes, I would start that boat ride in a peaceful normal morning state, and get off the boat mad. Like, actually ANGRY because of something I scrolled past. So, I started cleaning up my news feed. Political posters: UNSUBSCRIBE, People who rant: UNSUBSCRIBE, People who need to post every time they go to the gym: UNSUBSCRIBE.
But it wasn’t enough. Social media still stressed me out. I had an internal struggle… I wanted to check my notifications, but I didn’t want to see it all. I wanted to delete my Facebook, but I wanted to keep in touch with friends and family all over the world. At the same time, I started grinding my teeth at night, couldn’t poop to save my life (more on that in a minute), and used the same platforms that were causing me stress to “check out” from everyday life. This is where the problem lies. The iPhone generation somehow got it ass-backwards. Instead of “checking out” from our stressful lives by distracting ourselves with our phones, we need to “check out” from the constant flow of information on our phones, and for that matter, all technology for a little bit every day.
This January, my new year’s resolution was to put myself on a digital diet (which I have gone back on multiple times).
Rule 1: No more phone in the bedroom. I have had the same alarm clock that I don’t use since college. It was probably a couple bucks at the pharmacy, but it’s never failed me! Of course, I haven’t put it to good use since my iPhone became a handy substitute. I would plug into my bedside, shut it off in the morning without getting out of bed, and start scrolling. Well, within a week of removing the phone from my room, and leaving it downstairs to charge (like my mom does), my teeth grinding stopped.
Rule 2: Leave it at home, or leave it in the car when going out to dinner or to a party. If I was expecting a call, or needed it in case of emergency, I left it in my purse. I did this for a few reasons. Often I would find myself going to show someone a picture of something we had been talking about, and then I’d instinctively open Facebook or Instagram and forget what I was doing in the first place. I realized that since I am so selective over my friends and who I spend my time with, I should probably be present when doing so. I was so overstimulated, that my thoughts could barely stay with me the second I opened my phone, and that happens a lot! The other reason is because I really hate that image of our generation with our face glued to our phones and we all forget how to connect with other humans.
Rule 3: I would have a screen free hour after work. So, between 5–6 before I made dinner, I would talk to my fiancé, I’d read a book, I’d go play with the dog, practice the ukulele, or pull weeds in the garden…basically anything nurturing, fun (or on my to do list because let’s be real I can’t always ‘rest’).
I swapped the phone obsession and I kissed my constipation and digestive distress goodbye….and let me tell you why I think that is: I’ve written about it before, but you have an extremely complex system of neurons that line the GI tract from esophagus to rectum. Your gut produces between 80–90% of the serotonin for your whole body, so when you’re constantly receiving stress signals from your brain because of the constant flow of negative news, social media comparisons, and idiotic Facebook posts, you aren’t producing as much serotonin and dopamine as you would be doing something nurturing to your soul. You actually end up producing more cortisol (stress hormone) than anything, which when sent to the gut, can affect the gut negatively! I’ve met countless people in my profession as a health coach that worry themselves into IBS-like symptoms or constipation, INCLUDING MYSELF.
When you shut it all off, and focus on the present moment, especially if that moment can be spent doing something in the realm of self-care, you are doing your gut, and your WHOLE body, a huge favor. SO, if you are experiencing gut distress, or even regular stress, and you are looking for some tools, this is the perfect one to pick up. It’s not that hard, you don’t have to sweat, you don’t have to give up any food, you don’t have to pretend you’re meditating, you just have to put your phone away. It’s as simple as that.
…and if you REALLY want to rid your anxiety about the political topics, get involved and take some action, don’t just troll Facebook & Twitter :)