Monday, June 18, 2012

Natural Stress

The lady had been exhausted for months.  What had happened?  It started with the inability to go to sleep.  It just seemed she could not turn off the thoughts.  In the morning, brain fog filled her head.  With three cups of coffee and a shower she went to work.  Four years ago, her life changed with a divorce, but things were rocky for years before that.  Now, she has high blood pressure, low thyroid, and is on the emotional roller coaster from hell.  Her ability to deal with any minor stress is gone.

Yes, stress is natural and your body is normally equipped to deal with natural stressors.  The tiger is about to eat you so you fight or run away.  We can deal with momentary stress and even some chronic stress.  However, continuous chronic stress with the push yourself mentality is a set up for a crash.  If we define chronic stress as unrelenting stress that last 6 months or greater, we would likely all qualify.  Emotional stress can have a greater impact than physical.  It has been said that stress is the only disease.

The adrenal hormone system is your stress hormone system- two glands located on top of the kidneys.  The physical relationship is interesting; in Chinese medicine the kidneys are associated with fear.

Cortisol is a well-advertised adrenal hormone that is associated with weight gain.  The demonized cortisol is vital to your health.  Normal circadian cortisol levels are high in the morning and gradually decrease as the day progresses.  Normal morning cortisol means you are alert and ready to take on the day.  Normally low evening cortisol means you can go to sleep.  Increase the stress and increase the cortisol.  Chronic stress can eventually result in adrenal fatigue.  Adrenal imbalance can result in problems with thyroid and sex hormones and can impact blood sugar control.  A good way to access adrenal function is with a saliva lab known as an Adrenal Stress Index. 

Strategies to manage stress include a life style change or at least a plan to make a transition to a better life position.  Product strategies include Bach's Rescue Remedy, Stress Formula, or Natural Creations Anxiety HP.  Adrenal support may include Gaia Adrenal Health, Natural Creations Adrenal Complex, and/or Nutraplenish Adrenal (multi-vitamin).  Essential oils are helpful for relaxation and include Wyndmere Stress Relief, Anger Management, Joyful Spirit, or Road Rage Relief.  These are great for relaxing baths.  Adding Epsom salts to your bath can also have a relaxing effect.

Stay Well!

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