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Posts Tagged ‘stress’

Why is it that so many of us are so stressed?  It is the minority of patients who come to me and say, “My stress level is very low.”  Most feel overwhelmed juggling the responsibilities of work, family, finances, relationships and home.  Especially the most caring and giving folks tend to overextend themselves and put themselves last.

Our adrenal glands do lots of things, and one is to react to stress.  Our bodies are supposed to react to stress- that’s a good thing.  But when it is daily or almost daily for years, we just wear out.  This process, termed the General Adaptation Syndrome, happens in three phases over time.

  • In the first, we are “wired” or “high-strung”.  We have adrenaline (you know- fight or flight) pumping into our blood stream, which leaves less stored up.   During this phase, you might be underweight/undernourished, develop ulcers, experience insomnia, anxiety, or have frequent colds due to decreased immune function.  You might start to see problems with female hormones, thyroid and blood sugar because stress hormones directly interfere with these.
  • In the second, you seem to adapt to the stress.  You make more reserves of adrenaline and the other adrenal hormones and seem to coast through.  You may gain weight during this time.
  • In the third, you become exhausted.  Your adrenal glands don’t react like they used to, and fatigue is extreme.  You may find yourself to be more irritable and jumpy, depressed, anxious, less able to handle conflict, unpredictable things, or even daily responsibilities.  You may have insomnia even though you are exhausted.  You may find that you have gained weight over the years that the body was in survival mode.  “This is an emergency.  Better store all the fat possible,” says the lizard brain.

What do I do? (more…)

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This one is for stress relief and has “pink” noise to decrease stress layered with the sound of a creek running. Very relaxing. Not quite as good as acupuncture at Glow though 🙂

This one is a chakra meditation with singing bowls ( 15 min.)

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By Dr. Rachel Erickson ND

So. You can’t lose weight. Maybe you think you can’t lose weight because you just need to control your eating habits better, cut back on the heavy calories in the beer or wine, eat less sugar, or just stop that midnight snacking and weekend binge eating/drinking. Maybe you think if you just got some exercise, or more exercise, everything would be better. Or maybe you’re one of those really frustrated types who exercises like crazy (P90x crazy people), eats pretty well and can’t shed a pound and can’t figure it out.

Good news folks! You are probably dealing with some really high levels of stress! Yes there’s other reasons why you might not be shedding a pound, and we could certainly talk about that whenever you want, but for now I’m focusing on stress related causes for not losing weight, since I see it a lot, and it manifests in a lot of different ways, and no quick fix diet plan is going to solve your dilemma.

To all you postpartum women, men and women on decade 2 or 3 of high-stress jobs, or those of you suffering from the chronic stress of a tough partnership, parenthood or caretaking position of a loved one. This one is for you. You all have one thing in common. You are Stressed out, and probably not managing it very well.

How do people look when they are stressed and not managing it? They are eating too much, not exercising regularly enough, gaining weight around the middle, not sleeping well, emotionally volatile or turned off, drinking coffee in the morning and alcohol in the night, depressed, angry, unmotivated to make changed in their life for the better, just trying to hang on for dear life. Sound familiar? Maybe you are 5 of the 10 listed above. No matter, this affects you too.

So here’s your take home message: You can’t do it alone! You didn’t learn how to read by yourself, or ride a bike, or communicate, you had coaches all along the way. And if you’re really smart, you still have coaches, fitness trainers, business coach if you’re a lucky entrepreneur, counselors, mentors at work, pastors and priests at church, maybe even a dietitian or an acupuncturist, maybe even me. Point being. You’re getting older, things are shifting, you’re aging, stress has been sleeping in your bed for 7, 15, 23 years now and you think you can figure out how to manage it. You might even think that you can manage it, you know what to do, you’re just not doing it. Tricky tricky. Well I’m here to tell you another perspective.

You’ve never been here before, so how would you know how to get back? I mean, your stress levels have creeped up, you’ve managed them the best way you know how, and look where it’s gotten you? Read 2 paragraphs above! So clearly you don’t know how to manage your stress and weight by yourself. You need a stress manager, or 2.

Here are some easy things to remember:

  1. weight loss is very difficult when stressed
  2. relaxation techniques, meditation, prayer, breathing exercises reduce the levels of stress hormones in your body
  3. adrenal support is essential to modulate stress hormone production, talk to your naturopath or come see me
  4. acupuncture, massage, hot tubs, scrubs at the spa, saunas, craniosacral therapy or any other hands on therapies reduce stress levels
  5. stopping the addictive cycles of temporary stress reduction like alcohol, tobacco, watching tv instead of sleeping or exercising, eating when you’re not hungry.
  6. stopping the addictive cycles of uppers that keep you going and increase your stress hormones, coffee, red bull, sugar, monsters, etc.

But here’s the catch, you can’t just STOP doing the bad things, that doesn’t work, or you would have done it by now. So ADD in the good things, TAPER out the bad things, be GENTLE with yourself, and get a coach to lead you through this process. It’s not easy, but by reducing your stress, stress triggers and stress inducers you can start the gradual process of p

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By Dr. Rachel Erickson

Millions of you are suffering from stress, be it work related or issues at home. You may feel “tired and wired” or you may suffer so much that you are flat out on your face and can’t function. There are different levels of stress and what symptoms of stress you have tells a lot about how far down the path of Maladaptive Stress Syndrome (MSS) you are, and how far back you have to come to feel good again.

Let’s break it down. First, your body is designed to deal with stress in sequential stages. There’s acute stages and endurance stages and then when your body can’t endure anymore, the final stage of MSS.

The first stage of MSS is 0. This is what your body does every day to regulate your response to various stimuli in your environment. It’s a fine balancing act between hypovigilance and hypervigilance. This is your day to day ebb and flow of mental concentration and motor activity.

A Normal healthy response to stress is MSS-1. You meet a stimulating stressful moment, your body reacts accordingly, the stress goes away, and you go back to feeling normal again. For instance, if you were to get attacked by an angry dog. You would feel superhuman strong, amped up to defend your life, your eyes would dilate so you can see better, your heart would pump faster and your muscles would engorge with blood so you could run away or fight better. Many of you have experienced this kind of stress response. It leaves you feeling hung over and exhausted, but nothing a good night’s rest can’t fix.

Maladaptive Stress Syndrome-2 is characterized as the Suppression Phase. This is when you have an increased tendency to get sick, experience some depression or obsessive compulsiveness, anxiety, lack of appetite, high lipid levels, insulin resistance, diabetes and other chronic degenerative diseases. Adrenal androgens (testosterone) increase which can lead to abnormal hair growth in women.

The third and final stage is the Exhaustion Phase: MSS-3 is when your body can’t keep producing the high amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters it once was because you are flat-out tired and nutrient deficient. Commonly known as “adrenal exhaustion”, I see this in my patients who’ve had 2+ decades of high stress jobs, long term sickness and death of loved ones, or highly stressful long term relationships.

So what to do about all this stress? Let’s be unambiguous about this. The best thing you can do for yourself to deal with life in high-stress times is to eat right and move your body! This can be a difficult challenge especially while you’re stressed, so don’t do it alone. Involve a friend or a family member in your goals, see us at Glow to help you get on a good track with dietary choices and healthy exercise. Get acupuncture and Chinese herbs regularly to calm you down. See Dr. Rachel for stress testing, herbs, and diet and lifestyle counseling to balance out your stressful moments.

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