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Anxiety, Stress, and Stomachaches

Excitement and stress can cause nausea and vomiting.
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Stress, Anxiety, Vomiting, and Stomachache: What You Can Do continued...

“It’s beyond toddlerhood when you tend to get into the stress-triggered abdominal complaints,” says Chris Tolcher, MD, FAAP, a pediatrician and clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Southern California School of Medicine.

Once you’ve ruled out physical causes, take a close look at how you or your child react to stressful situations.

“We all know that our mind influences our body, and vice versa. The science of emotion and stress is starting to catch up with our intuitive understanding of this,” Dennis says.

Therapy can help children and adults. But, often there’s no need for a therapist. Learning how to regulate emotions more effectively also helps.

“The key may be to learn how to ‘look for the silver lining’ in each emotionally challenging situation before we have an emotional reaction,” Dennis says.

For example, perhaps an upcoming job interview or school test would normally make you or your child anxiously fear failure. This fear leads to a cascade of negative emotions, stress, and physical distress. Instead, try to see the situation in a more positive light: An opportunity to share your expertise or enthusiasm, or to learn.

“Like anything, this takes practice,” Dennis says.

To help your body influence -- and soothe -- your mind, these coping tips can be a big help.

Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Over-Excitement

  • Breathe deep. Close your eyes and take a deep breath, then another. Let each breath out slowly. Repeat as needed.
  • Light exercise. Walking and stretching can soothe a stressed-out body or an over-excited mind.
  • Meditate. Focus on your breathing and what’s happening around you right now.
  • Take a time out. Distract yourself with something you enjoy, like TV, gardening, playing with pets, or a visit with friends.
  • Visualize. Picture yourself facing and conquering fears. For example, see yourself succeeding in that meeting.
  • Get support. Call up a sympathetic friend or family member and talk.
  • Make a plan. Just thinking about how you’ll handle a problem can help you begin to feel in control.
  • Eat and drink right. Alcohol can make stress and anxiety worse. Overeating can pile guilt and nausea onto an already overwrought situation.
  • Rest up. Whether it’s stress, anxiety, or excitement taking your body on a roller-coaster ride, the unchangeable fact is you need to rest and recharge. So daydream. Take naps. And, always get a good night’s sleep.

Sometimes you need a little more assistance to manage the stomachache, nausea, or other physical symptoms of stress, anxiety, and excitement. Here’s a few expert tips that may help.

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