There are many reasons why stress may be your worst enemy.

Today we are starting a BRAND NEW thing ‘round the A Gutsy Girl podcast. And I’m kind of excited, but also kind of nervous.

First, what is it? 

I’m calling them the AGG Shorties. And if you’re new ‘round here in general, AGG is A Gutsy Girl. Shorties are just my super basic girl way of saying, “short episodes.”

I was inspired by the “shorties” name idea from Amy Porterfield’s ‘Shortie’ episodes. And therefore, I’m only calling these episodes “Shorties” until I come up with something custom for this show 🙂 (p.s. If you love Marketing, you’ll love Amy’s show HERE.)

Anywhooooooo……I decided to launch my OWN shows on the weeks when the regular episodes don’t air.

In other words, one week you’ll get the long episode with a guest, and the next will be one of these AGG Shorties with just me – for better or worse, it will just be you + me on the Shorties. 

But here’s where I’m sort of nervous about these episodes: I am producing them on my own – i.e. no one but me is on the mic and then no one but me is editing the shows then uploading them to all the various podcast platforms for you to consume.

This taps into some tech skills that I don’t really have nor did I want to take on, but I felt called to create them for you, and felt this was the way to do so.

Anyways, there was a purpose for me sharing the above with you.

This sort of launches me into the first solo + short episode

Why Stress May Be Your Worst Enemy

Click HERE to save this episode for later.

Why Stress May be Your Worst Enemy {Episode 39, Short #1} #stress #guthealth

On today’s episode, I’m going to confess something to you about stress.

And, along with it, I’m going to share thoughts around it and help for it.

Once you listen to the show, and our little therapy session concludes, you might want to come back to save this information on why stress may be your worst enemy.

Whatever your level of stress is today, this podcast episode and information should help.

The New York Times states,

Psychological stress activates the fear center in the brain, setting into motion a cascade of reactions that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. (source)

The chronic psychological stress patterns are compounding.

Recent studies even indicate,

The stress levels experienced by Americans are the highest they’ve been in the 15-year history of polls conducted for the American Psychological Association.

The latest report furthermore shows,

This year’s Stress in America polls found that 87% of respondents said the rise in the price of everyday items from gas to groceries due to inflation was a significant source of stress. 

Clearly there is a massive elevated level of emotional stress (and all other stressors!), but the high activity of everyday stress is also killing both heart health and overall health.

If you keep digging more, doing the research and asking various people why they think stress is the worst enemy and why psychological stress is the heart’s worst enemy almost everyone will tell you some version of that answer.

Now, of course I agree with the statement. Of course I believe that high stress levels can and does cause heart attacks and strokes and that there are numerous ill heart effects of stress. 

But so often I think we take stress and automatically connect it to the worst possible thing; STRESS =

  • heart attack (even nonfatal heart attacks)
  • stomach ulcer
  • stroke
  • heart disease

But you know what, darling? You know what happens long before all of that?

Many other things appear due to the impact of stress.

Why Stress May be Your Worst Enemy signs and symptoms

Perhaps you’ve even encountered some of these symptoms:

  1. High blood pressure
  2. Poor sleep
  3. Suppressed immune function
  4. Terrible digestion
  5. Increased levels of body fat (due to insulin resistance)
  6. Acne
  7. Chronic anxiety
  8. High heart rate
  9. Or even decreased energy
  10. Inability to focus
  11. Chronic pain
  12. Changes in libido
  13. Sweating
  14. Difficulty making decisions
  15. Higher levels of inflammation

And, unfortunately, the list could go on and on.

It’s like on page 12 in my book, A Gutsy Girl’s Bible when I state,

It’s not a sweet potato or rice or legumes or a cupcake or anything else that makes us (and keeps us) sick. No, instead it’s the control we try to keep around all of it and the attention we give to the details. We miss the forest for the trees.

Except that now, it’s the reverse… this situation, I’m left to wonder — have you missed the trees multiplying while waiting for the forest to erupt?

You catching this drift?

So here’s the deal.

Stress is everywhere. Remember these buckets I’ve shared from Laura J. Knoff’s book The Whole-Food Guide to Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome? These are several major risk factors to consider.


Overwork, excess exercise, chemicals, junk food, accidents, surgery


Pollution, noise, temperature extremes, electromagnetic fields, toxins


Illness, allergies, pain, chronic disease, hormone changes, aging, malnutrition


Marriage, moving, work, daily hassles, caring for an ill loved one, loss, financial worries, birth, death


Anger, fear, anxiety, frustration, negative thoughts, depression, sadness, grief

28 Ways to Reduce Stress forms of stress #stress #guthealth #healthyliving

The impact of a stress-filled life is about far more than the potentially life-threatening ultimate outcomes like heart attacks and strokes.

Instead, it is your worst enemy because:

  1. Stress everywhere (physical stresses, emotional stresses, etc.)
  2. It it very hard to manage and 
  3. The everyday negative ramifications it brings are zero degrees of fun

And finally, for you, you beautiful Gutsy you, stress is definitely causing or part of the equation for causing a greater toll to digestive distress.

If stress causes inflammation and we know inflammation is a huge part of digestive issues then this makes perfect sense.

In fact, here are 10 digestive consequences of chronic stress:

  1. Increased belly fat
  2. Food intolerances and allergies
  3. Leaky gut
  4. Elevated blood sugar levels
  5. Increased inflammation
  6. Altered microbiome
  7. Increased acid reflux, indigestion, GERD, and ulcers
  8. Intensified IBS symptoms
  9. Increased risk of developing SIBO
  10. Lowered immunity
Is Stress Causing My Digestive Distress #guthealth #digestion #stress 10 consequences of chronic stress

So what should you do, what such measures should you take, and what resources can I offer up to you?

  1. Your goal is to identify as best you can the root to any and all stress. Listen to your body to know if something is truly acute stress or if it has become chronic. Though removing it completely is not likely an option, if you want to heal your gut, you’ll focus on reducing any and all chronic stress.
  2. Check out 28 Ways to Reduce Stress (stress management is key and these are some of the best ways to do it)
  3. Go deep on all the different stressors by joining my course, Gut Healing: ELEVATED, we talk about allllll the different forms of stress and what to do about it.
  4. Check out Episode 28 of this podcast: Stress and Diarrhea with Isabel Smith
  5. Listen to Episode 18 of this podcast with Dr. Marcus Cirelli: All About Stress
  6. Get more sleep! Seriously, good sleep habits are a powerful way to reduce stress. Get yourself a consistent pattern of bedtime routine. Remember, NO blue light for several hours before bedtime. Blue-light filters can help.
  7. Figure out a habitual physical exercise routine because both the health of your heart and blood flow throughout the digestive system depends on it.However, remember that there is a difference between over-exertion and general physical activity. You need to understand the differences.
  8. And finally, listen to Episode 37 of this show: What Role Doe the Gut Play in Mood and Brain Health

As a bonus, dig into the fight or flight response; sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system (I’ve written about it all HERE).

If you’re looking for a more formal program to help you drill down on all of your own, unique stress and how it’s affecting your gut healing (or a lack thereof), I cannot recommend Gut Healing for Beginners enough.

Wrap Up

Time to wrap this up. As always, a huge goal for this show is to connect with even more people. Feel free to send an email to our team at We want to hear questions, comments, show ideas, etc.

Did you enjoy this episode? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on Apple Podcasts.

If you liked this episode, you might also enjoy:

  1. Chronic Illness Root Cause Analysis
  2. The Importance of Shifting from Stress to Happiness
  3. Best Teas for Stress and Depression {11 Teas to Boost Mood}


Why Stress May be Your Worst Enemy

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