When you listen to what your gut tells you, odds are you’ll be guided in just the right direction. And one of the nicest things about being human is having access to this innate inner wisdom, which acts as a dependable navigation system through a very complex world.
Gut instinct is often thought of in symbolic terms, but at times it can also be a very literal thing, since within your digestive tract lives an active microbial community known collectively as your microbiome. The good guys in this neighborhood are friendly bacteria called probiotics, which crowd out unwanted bacterial strains and work with your cells to enhance health and well-being. When you pay attention to your gut, you’ll find yourself on a path to happiness and glowing health at every level. Here’s how.
Honor Your Need to Rest
The rushed pace of modern life fools us into thinking we have to push on when we’re running on fumes—pulling late nights or even all-nighters for work, school, or around the house. But if you listen to your gut, it’s sending a much kinder message: your mind and body need to recharge in order to do your best—and continually pushing through a wall is counterproductive in the long run.
Research shows that not sticking to a fairly regular sleep routine can actually harm your microbiome, and even short-term sleep deprivation can have a negative microbial effect.1, 2
The converse is also true though—when your gut is balanced, your body is then able to produce just the right neurotransmitters to help you achieve restful sleep!3
Your gut benefits when you embrace a consistent sleep habit that allows enough quality time with the sandman to leave you feeling refreshed. It’s also helpful to take mini-breaks throughout the day as you feel the need, rather than downing huge amounts of coffee to enable you to plow through. Don’t sweat it if you love coffee though—there’s no need to give it up altogether. Moderate amounts of coffee are actually good for your gut flora!4
Discover Joyful Movement
Once you’re getting sufficient rest, you’ll probably find that your body is craving movement. And it turns out that movement is very gut-healthy. People who are active usually have healthier, more diverse microbial populations than those who adopt a more sedentary lifestyle.5
How does your body want to move right now? Would it feel good to stretch? To walk off the stress of a morning meeting? Perhaps expressing powerful emotions through dance would be satisfying, or maybe you’d feel empowered by taking up strength training or a martial art. To find your unique, perfect ways to be active, all you have to do is listen to your gut.
Accentuate the Positive
Tuning into your deepest wisdom by focusing on what’s going right, while working to eliminate limiting beliefs is its own reward—it just feels better to dwell on what you love about yourself and the world than on everything that irks you. And when your head is in a good place, your gut flora also benefits (it’s actually a two-way street!).
To boost positivity, you might want to give one or more of these approaches a try:
• Keep a Gratitude Journal: Just before bed, jot down at least five things that truly made you happy during the day. It might be the smell of the air after a rainstorm, or your child giving you a huge, spontaneous hug. You’ll be surprised at how many sweet little moments exist in even your hardest days.
• List What You Love About the Tough Stuff: If something or someone is driving you nuts, there’s probably a silver lining. Maybe that stressful job is helping you realize you deserve better, and that you already possess the strength and talent to make that happen. And even though a certain relative might be overbearing or grating, they also might be fiercely loving, and smart, and bake the best cookies you’ve ever tasted. There’s almost always a hidden gift in any challenge.
• Become Aware of What Feels Good Right Now: Focus your attention on the pleasant things available to each of your senses in this moment. Do you see a beautiful sky? Or hear your baby’s soft breath? Does the sun feel warm on your skin? You’ll be amazed at all the pleasure happening in real time that might otherwise have slipped under the radar.
• Don’t Hide Your Love Away: Rather than giving in to shyness, step up by holding a door for someone, helping them pick up stuff they’ve dropped, sharing how much you appreciate them, or paying it forward by buying a smoothie for the person behind you in line. When you do all the kind things your inner wisdom wants you to, it feels wonderful, and feeling wonderful is good for your gut.
• Draw the Line: While it’s noble to be helpful, if everyone around you is taking advantage of your good heart you’ll soon get that nagging gut feeling that it’s time to set some boundaries. When done gently, firmly, and with love, saying no can be one of the most positive actions you can take.
• Clear the Air: Dispel any lingering negative vibes by making amends to anyone you’ve hurt over the years, as long as it’s safe for everyone involved to do so.
Sometimes inner gut wisdom guides us to close out the concerns of the world for a little while and just be. Meditation is an excellent way to uncover the peace and calm that’s always existed within, and that profound relaxation helps protect the microbiome from the damaging effects of stress.6 So whether you work with mindfulness, mantra, breath, or meditative movement, your gut will be glad you decided to cultivate inner silence.
Nourish Your Gut
Your microbiome needs proper care to do its job, and you’ve got the power to give it exactly what it needs. A gut-healthy diet is very simple—filled with lots of fresh, delicious produce and whole grains, as well as cultured and fermented dishes like yogurt, kimchi, and miso that are naturally rich in probiotics. Be sure to also include foods like bananas, grapefruit, and kale, which are considered prebiotics because they contain the perfect fibers to nourish friendly flora.
Avoid processed foods, GMOs, pesticides, and sugar, because they’re harmful to probiotic bacteria. Antibiotics and some other prescription medications kill helpful microbes as well, so it’s best to only take these medicines when you truly need them to get and stay well.
Supplementing with a high quality, time-released probiotic like PRO-15 supports vibrant mind and body wellness by introducing your digestive tract to a wide variety of beneficial strains. Specialized Hyperbiotics formulas for moms, women, and kids make it easier than ever to achieve microbial health for the whole family.
So simply follow your gut to Target and get ready to enjoy your happiest, healthiest days ever!
1. Voigt, R. M., Forsyth, C. B., Green, S. J., Mutlu, E., Engen, P., Vitaterna, M. H., … Keshavarzian, A. (2014). Circadian Disorganization Alters Intestinal Microbiota. PLoS ONE, 9(5), e97500. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097500
2. Benedict, C., Vogel, H., Jonas, W., Woting, A., Blaut, M., Schürmann, A., & Cedernaes, J. (2016). Gut microbiota and glucometabolic alterations in response to recurrent partial sleep deprivation in normal-weight young individuals. Molecular Metabolism, 5(12), 1175-1186. doi:10.1016/j.molmet.2016.10.003
3. Latorre, E., Layunta, E., Grasa, L., Castro, M., Pardo, J., Gomollón, F., … Mesonero, J. E. (2016). Intestinal Serotonin Transporter Inhibition by Toll-Like Receptor 2 Activation. A Feedback Modulation. PLOS ONE, 11(12), e0169303. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0169303
4. Jaquet, M., Rochat, I., Moulin, J., Cavin, C., & Bibiloni, R. (2009). Impact of coffee consumption on the gut microbiota: A human volunteer study. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 130(2), 117-121. doi:10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.01.011
5. Clarke, S. F., Murphy, E. F., O'Sullivan, O., Lucey, A. J., Humphreys, M., Hogan, A., … Cotter, P. D. (2014). Exercise and Associated Dietary Extremes Impact on Gut Microbial Diversity. Gut, 63(12), 1913-1920. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2013-306541
6. Dinan, T. G., & Cryan, J. F. (2012). Regulation of the stress response by the gut microbiota: Implications for psychoneuroendocrinology. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 37(9), 1369-1378.
Roberta Pescow is a writer at Hyperbiotics and proud mom of two amazing and unique young men. Natural wellness is a subject she’s passionate about, so she loves sharing information that helps others discover all the ways probiotics support glowing health and well-being. To learn more about how a healthy microbiome can enrich your life, subscribe to our newsletter.