Why our stomach reacts instantly to great excitement

We all know the feeling of excitement that we feel, for example, a few minutes before an important public speaking engagement. We encounter many instances in our lives that give us reason to be anxious. Not only does it disturb our mind - our palms sweat, our heart beats faster, our stomach becomes heavy and feels as if it is "falling. So what is it?

To begin with, let's remember the roller coaster ride, when the stomach "falls" down together with the cabin on which you are riding. Some people also say, "It's like swallowing an anchor. This is one of the clearest examples of our nerves overpowering our minds. But why does anxiety have such an effect on the stomach? Actually, the answer is quite simple and directly related to our nervous system, or rather, to our body's "fight or flight" response. It begins with a feeling of anxiety.


Common to all living things is the natural instinct for self-preservation. In humans and many mammals this self-preservation is manifested as a "fight or flight" reaction. It consists in a multitude of physiological changes that prepare us, as the name implies, either to fight or to retreat quickly. The reaction can be instantaneous as the brain detects danger and releases a flood of hormones and neurotransmitters such as adrenaline and cortisol into the body. Hormones have a wide range of effects: increased heart rate, rapid breathing, muscle contraction, and sweat production. They also act to aggravate hearing or smell.


All of these physiological changes occur because the brain has detected a threat and is preparing to defend itself. This particular set of human responses probably evolved to cope with the threats faced by prehistoric humans. Hunting dangerous animals and surviving in the wild was no easy task; constant vigilance was required. It was also vital to run fast and fight bravely. Our "fight or flight" reaction probably evolved as a result of natural selection, because those who had the reaction faster were better adapted to life and left offspring, and thus passed on their genes.


Hundreds of thousands of years later, we no longer need to flee from predators, but our bodies have retained the fear response of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Today, "hit or run" is triggered at the thought of failing an exam, losing a job, or walking down a dark alley. In these cases, our body's reactions won't be much different than in prehistoric times


So what is the connection between the "fight or flight" reaction and the "fall" of the stomach? Blood carries oxygen throughout the body. When the organ is in a normal state, it receives a normal amount of blood. When exercising or digesting, the organs need more blood than normal. During "hit or run," our blood is actively supplied to those organs that are needed for defense, attack, intense movement and exertion, such as the muscles.


Digestion is not a priority for the body during impending danger. At such times, the body seems to "rush" blood from the stomach to the other organs. When the blood rushes away from the stomach, and it seems to "drop."


Interestingly, when we experience a prolonged period of anxiety, other changes can occur in our stomach. Because we tend to breathe heavily when we are nervous, more oxygen than we need enters our intestines. This can result in flatulence, which causes our stomach to be a little bloated.


In some cases, nervous turmoil can go so far as to cause nausea, dizziness, vomiting or diarrhea - this is a more serious case. If you are constantly experiencing these symptoms or feel uncomfortable all the time, you may be dealing with a chronic anxiety disorder that needs to be seen by a specialist


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