It’s been an interesting year to say the least. There’s been a lot of changes, ups and downs and uncertainty. And when we experience sudden change or uncertainty like we have in 2020, it typically causes a lot of stress, worry and anxiety.
So I wanted to discuss what all this does to the body, how it’s detrimental to our health and why it’s the underlying reason for so much dis-ease and illness in our society today.
While we’ve all experienced it and pretty much know what it is, ‘stress’ may be defined as any situation which tends to disturb the equilibrium between a living organism and its environment.₁
I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been somewhat disturbed this year.
According to Anxiety.org, anxiety is defined as the mind and body’s reaction to stressful, dangerous, or unfamiliar situations. It’s the sense of uneasiness, distress, or dread you feel before a significant event.₂
Here’s the thing, it’s normal to feel these emotions on some occasions, and sometimes even healthy as they’re used as an effort to alert and protect us from any potential threats. It becomes a problem when these emotions are prolonged and become chronic because they knock our bodies out of homeostasis (equilibrium/stability), and can alter our hormones in a way that causes weight gain, dis-ease and illness.
What are Hormones and How Are They Impacted by Stress & Anxiety?
Did You Know That: The body produces and secretes over 50 different types of hormones?
So what exactly are hormones?
In short, hormones are chemical messengers that send signals through the blood that help regulate our body and organs. These hormones are produced and secreted through the Endocrine System- a series of glands, that control bodily functions like our metabolism, sexual function, mood, reproduction and development.
Some of these hormones include estrogen, testosterone, insulin, prolactin, serotonin and dopamine. There are also certain stress hormones that are released to protect us when our body is under stress or feels threatened.
Thing is, the body doesn’t know the difference between a real threat (a tiger chasing you) or a perceived threat (a stressful job/year) and will activate the necessary bodily functions to protect you from said threat. These functions include activating the Sympathetic Nervous System (aka, fight or flight) that releases shots of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline (epinephrine) into the bloodstream to help us get out of harm’s way.
These hormones increase our heart rate, blood pressure and need for sugar, the body’s main energy source, to fuel us up if we have to fight-or-flight.
But when the body is constantly being flooded with these hormones, it causes the body to slowly break down and hormones become imbalanced due to being on “high alert” all the time; which causes you to crave sugar and indulge in those high carb foods to meet the “fight or flight” energy requirements.
Do you see the trickle effect taking place here?
Chronic Stress & Anxiety —–> Increase Stress Hormone Secretion —–> Hormones Become Imbalanced —> Increased Chance of Dis-ease and Illness
Sign of Hormonal Imbalance
The beautiful thing about the body is that it will always give you some kind of a signal when something is off…you just gotta listen and pay attention; become more aware and in tune with your body. Which is what I help my clients do. Because the more you ignore your body’s way of communicating with you, the small symptoms develop into something bigger and more serious.
Below are some of the signs you may be experiencing hormonal imbalance:
– Weight gain- Belly
– Irregular or Extreme menstrual cycles
– Hair loss
– Low Libido (sex drive)
Chronic Stress & Anxiety can also lead to a list of diseases and ailments like:
– Increased appetite can lead to Obesity & Diabetes
– Digestive Issues-
– Weakened Immune System- leads to colds and other infections
– High Blood Pressure
– Heart Disease or Stroke
Start the Path to Naturally Balancing Your Hormones
As a Certified Integrative Nutritionist with over 10 years of experience in the industry and who has helped my clients naturally balance their hormones, regulate cycles, conceive naturally, and reduce or even eliminate depression and anxiety prescription medication dosage. This was all done by implementing natural, simple and sustainable nutrition & lifestyle changes, so I’m a HUGE proponent of addressing things the alternative, holistic way.
I’ve listed some lifestyle and nutritional ways you can manage your stress below
Natural Ways to Manage Stress & Anxiety
– Meditation/Breathing Exercises
– Spending time with Mother Nature
– Getting enough sleep (7-9 hours)
Food to Avoid When You’re Stressed
– Greasy, High-Fat Foods (Fast Food, etc.)
– Processed Foods (Chips, Candy, etc.)
– Caffeine & Sodas
Foods to Eat that Help Ease Stress & Stabilize Hormones
– Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Salmon, Walnuts, Flaxseed)
– Greens Veggies-Folate (Spinach, Broccoli, Asparagus)
– Vitamin C- powerful antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system
– Dark Chocolate (Cacao)
So regardless of who won or didn’t win, how this year has been, let’s all make an effort to control our stress and anxiety for the sake of our health.
I hope you’ve found this helpful and will keep this in mind as we roll into the holiday season, which is a known time of the year for added stress and anxiety.
If you’re ready to get better control of your stress and anxiety, click the link below to learn more about my 7-Day Reset & Reboot Mini Course launching on Monday!