I would like to write about something that I see at clinic every day and that is stress! Even when a patient wants help with digestion or eczema or recurrent colds we always end up talking about stress and how that impacts their lives.
Stress is a helpful response to external factors like danger because it gets our body into a Fight or Flight response where all of our energy is concentrated into an action, be it running or hiding away from the danger. When we lived in caves and something was chasing us we needed this response to help us survive. Our adrenal glands were activated, releasing cortisol and other important hormones to assist in our flight mode, afterwards, our body went back to homeostasis or balance.
These days there are many things that cause stress or anxiety, and these are like little hands that squeeze the adrenal glands to release those hormones. But, we are not machines and one day our adrenal glands may not have any cortisol left. When there is diminished cortisol in our bodies we don’t sleep well or even if we do we feel exhausted in the morning and through the day. Coffee doesn’t give us that kick like it used to and we might grind our teeth while we sleep or experience “brain fog”. These are some of the symptoms of “adrenal fatigue”. And this is how stress can be one of the factors that caused our digestive problems, poor quality of sleep, skin conditions or weak Immune system.
How can we fix it?
- Start by writing 3 things that happened during your day that you are grateful for, focus on the good things in your life.
- If you drink coffee, gradually decrease until you only have one cup per day, preferably in the morning.
- Take some time out for yourself, preferably spend some of it outdoors in your garden or even a quick walk around the block. See if you can get into the habit of meditating for just 5 minutes a day. There are plenty of apps out there than can de-mystify the practice of meditation and guide you along they way, one that we recommend is called Insight Timer. Once you get the hang of meditation you can start to increase the duration to 10 minutes.
If you are experiencing symptoms of stress, make an appointment with me today and I can help guide you along the way with diet plans, nutritional medicines and other stress reducing techniques.