I am constantly seeing patients with a host of symptoms that seem unrelated. They have cold hands and feet, their hair is falling out, can’t fall asleep at night because they are always thinking about something. They often complain about digestive disorders and if you are a woman add menstrual discomfort and irritability to the laundry list. But when I ask about stress, I always hear the same thing. I’m not stressed. These patients are always running around, have full schedules, work out, and eat healthy. And by healthy I mean at least one raw kale salad or smoothie a day. Let’s talk about how our healthy diets stress out our bodies in another post though shall we?
Even though we don’t feel stressed out due to a particular situation, our bodies get stressed out due to our lifestyles which are more connected and busier than ever before. Our bodies produce chemicals which put us in fight or flight mode. These chemicals cause the body to release sugar into the blood stream for energy. In the past we needed this boost to run away from a tiger. But now days we’re sitting in traffic and doing all our normal stuff which puts us in fight or flight. This is why you tell me you’re not stressed when in fact your body tells a different story.
Here are three ways to reduce your stress hormones:
1) Find an exercise that promotes the rest and relax hormones. This includes meditation, qi gong, tai chi, and restorative yoga. If you are having trouble sleeping I highly recommend looking to start with a 5-10 minute restorative yoga practice.
2) Stabilize your blood sugar. Working with an experienced practitioner or nutritionist is key here. It is so important to keep your blood sugar stable by planning meals and snacks with a good balance of protein and carbohydrates.
3) Adaptogenic herbs. These herbs enhance our stress response to both cope with anxiety and combat fatigue. I currently like Eleuthro aka Siberian Ginseng and Tulsi aka Holy Basil.
Once we take a step back from the stressors of life, and deal with each thing as it comes up mindfully, you will then realize how much better your body feels. Of course acupuncture also helps the body get out of flight or fight mode. It promotes the bodies rest and relax mechanism. Contact me today for a consultation on how we can work together to promote optimal health through mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and acupuncture.