Today I want to talk about the signs of exposure to too much stress, show you how you can calculate your stress load, and what signs to watch out for that are a danger to your health.
Chronic stress results in cortisol issues. Symptoms most women suffer from are:
- Waking tired
- Weight gain around the middle
- Mood swings
7 signs to watch for:
- Unable to fall asleep despite being tired
- Low thyroid function, often despite thyroid medications
- Craving salt and sugar
- Exercise helps first, but then makes fatigue worse
- Consistently low blood pressure
- Feeling tired in the afternoon between 3:00 and 5:00 pm
- Abdominal fat accumulation for no apparent reason
Chronic stress endured for long periods of time eventually leads to lower levels of a number of hormones and neurotransmitters, changes that can affect every single part of your body.
Initially the feeling is exhilarating, usually accompanied with weight loss or being able to eat anything without gaining weight, and a period of super-productivity. Eventually the toll on the body presents as fatigue, burnout and even serious illness.
The Stress Scale
Common examples of normal everyday stress are; working whist studying; renovating a house and running a business; being a parent and caring for elderly family.
Then you have the BIG life stresses, ranked on the Holmes and Rahe stress scale with the points next to each event. This is just the top 10 of 43 life events listed:
- Death of a spouse = 100
- Divorce = 3
- Marital separation = 65
- Imprisonment = 63
- Death of a close family member = 63
- Personal injury or illness = 53
- Marriage = 50
- Dismissal from work = 47
- Marital reconciliation = 45
- Retirement = 45
Score of 300+: At risk of illness.
Score of 150-299: Risk of illness is moderate (reduced by 30% from the above risk).
Score <150: Only have a slight risk of illness.
However, our modern life has evolved with very different stresses that affect our adrenals and mental health as well:
1. The critical voice in your head Living with an inner critic is chronic stress itself. Most people respond negatively to the inner critic without realising what they are responding to, which makes the inner critic a formidable force.
2. Negative relationships Clinging to stressful, negative relationships causes stress and depression.
3. Self-sabotage Self-sabotage happens when you do the opposite of what would make you happy and successful. It’s called getting in your own way.
4. Inner conflict Internal conflict uses tons of mental and emotional energy that could otherwise be used to move ahead.
So how did you fair when you consider all these factors that cause stress? Keep in mind that this is not a diagnostic tool, rather an exercise for self reflection….
Natural Medicine can help
Addressing a stress disorder generally needs more than medication to band aid the symptoms – such as anxiety or depression drugs. It is usually more complex than that, involving deep nutritional deficiencies, hormone imbalance, toxic load, poor diet choices and an unsupportive lifestyle. Working with a holistic practitioner allows you to get guidance from a trained professional who is experienced in treating the body holistically – taking all factors into account.
We have access to some wonderful herbs that can be used medicinally to support adrenal repair, improve cortisol output, calm anxiety, soothe the nervous system, and help to calm a busy mind.
Nutritional deficiencies have a major impact on the body and good diet alone will not correct this, this is where testing your levels first is needed so that supplementation doses are adequate. Most nutritional deficiencies can be optimised in 12 weeks, resulting in a great turnaround in health symptoms!
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