Today we’ll explore some elements to take into account when handling stress.
Marie is a dear friend of mine. She’s a single mother of two boys 10 and 12. Although she sometimes complains about being a single parent, which no one will deny has its disadvantages, she realizes that there are many plusses. Not having to negotiate with a spouse regarding the decisions made for the kids is ideal. Marie works long hours for a small family-owned business in her town, she has plans to launch her own initiative, but has not taken the leap yet. Marie eats right, tries to exercise a couple times a week and has few vices (a glass of wine or two with friends). All in all, she finds herself in good health with the occasional complaints of a headache, feeling tired or slow digestion. She thinks its normal for someone in her 40s and with her lifestyle.
Often times, we get accustomed to a new normal that is far from normal or ideal. This can happen at all levels of life and the physical is no exception. Knowing this, I suggest to Marie to have her annual check up. Her results are all within the normal ranges for her age. Then I ask her to dig a bit further and take the AHEAD Map ® assessment and the Right-Balance Hormone test.
Now these results were significantly more insightful. The AHEAD Map showed that her adrenal glands were under performing due to fatigue and that her intestines weren’t processing nutrients adequately. The hormone test indicated that her levels of estrogen were higher than normal possibly causing other imbalances in the body. All of this information from two tests that are free and require no blood work.
Surprised by the results? I’m a fan of getting as many tests as I can afford to have as much information as possible about my body’s overall performance. With that said, I can attest to the rigor and validity of the before mentioned assessments that exceed the expectation of top expensive analysis I’ve undergone throughout the years. The range of normal is rarely aligned with optimal performance, if you don’t take my word for it talk to a holistic or integrative medicine professional.
Back to Marie. So, after having these results she was able to better assess the multiple symptoms she was having that seemed normal to her because of age, lifestyle and stress that were in fact mini alerts of her body asking for more attention. Our body is always talking, and we rarely pay attention until it screams, and we hear cancer from across the desk.
Adrenal fatigue is very common among adults due to the excessive amounts of stress that we endure or fail to properly manage. These little glands play in important role in overall hormone regulation among many other functions. Stress depending on how you live it, thus interpret it, will affect you in one way or another. Converting negatively stressful situations into positive growth opportunities as much as possible, is the first thing you can do to increase your capacity and resilience to stress. With that said, there are circumstances that we will see as less than ideal, uncomfortable, dangerous or plain undesirable.
Let’s define stress as anything that alters the state of the person requiring effort to return to homeostasis. A divorce can be stressful as well as a new relationship although the sentiment to each one can be polar opposites because both alter the state of the person. Stress, especially the negative type, should be evaluated based on its intensity and duration. I would go even further to say that the principal factor is duration. It’s vital to recuperate as soon as possible from stressful periods or lower the intensity to reduce its impact. Prolonged stress has harmful effects to health that are often silent until they no longer are.
With this definition it means that we often see people stressed out about what they are going to wear at the same level as someone that has to testify before a grand jury. Clearly, modernity has allowed many of us to lose grounding with what is really important in life or better yet what deserves a stress response from our part. This perpetuates the ease with which socially everyone is stressed out over often times nonsense. It’s a perfect illustration of the old adage “drowning in a glass of water”. Let’s build up our immunity to this with the following steps to keep our head cool before life’s stressors.
1. Stay grounded. What is actually important at the end of it all? Health and love. Everything else is more or less negotiable.
2. Body consciousness. This means awareness. You need to have a sense of how the particular stressor is affecting your body. Is your heart raising? Has your breathing stopped? Is your digestion blocked? Are your shoulders tense? What is your body saying to you?
3. Put the stressor in perspective. If it’s running from a tiger or saving a child from a speeding vehicle, your mind must be cool and your body agile. Most of us are not under those stressors often, if ever, so put the report, call, or meeting in its proper position in the scheme of things.
4. Take care of the body. Be sure to incorporate some aerobic release at least a couple times of week like a cycling class, running, boxing and sex are excellent tools. Meditation, breathing and reflection techniques also help calm the mind to keep things in perspective. Also, detoxifying from heavy metals and reducing exposure to electromagnetic frequencies will do wonders for overall health.
5. Research. Investigate to learn more about wellness. You don’t have to become an expert, but you should dedicate time to look into new techniques, diets, reports, findings, etc. Traditional medicine has little to do with the latest research. Think of it like the textbooks for children. How many years have to pass before they are updated with the latest findings in any area? Your health and your body’s performance depend on you and not the professional that you have before you. So be informed. Dedicating one hour a week to the matter is doable for anyone. If that’s too much to start, do half an hour, but do your research.
Marie was able to apply the findings of her tests to help her body to not only better manage stress, but promote optimum health. With a couple of supplements to help her body return to balance, some simple changes to her diet in no time she was feeling better than ever. Health is not the absence of disease rather the presence of wellbeing and this requires preventing disease. Links to the tests mentioned are available in the show notes.
Tune in next week, when we will explore the hype around meditation and reflection through lens of the classic mystic St. John of the Cross. Ciao.
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