The CDC has stated that by 2020, stress will be one of the most critical health issues for Americans. While stress is a part of life, if it’s excessive and we don’t take proper steps to handle it in a healthy way, we can experience devastating effects on our health.
First, I think it’s very important to understand what happens in the body when it encounters too much stress. The adrenal glands are the body’s “emergency” system. When the body is under chronic stress, the adrenals will send out cortisol into the bloodstream. Over time, this chronic cortisol output will weaken the endocrine system, liver, digestive system, the brain, slow down your thyroid, etc.
9 Ways Stress Can Destroy your Health:
1. Stress increases cortisol production in the adrenals which wreaks havoc on the entire endocrine system.
2. Stress elevates cortisol production which depresses the immune system. The adrenals are your “emergency” organs. When they fire, your body goes into “fight or flight mode”. The body has to make a decision – do I want to save my life right now or fight infection. The body will choose to “save your life.” This is often a root cause of autoimmune disease.
3. Chronic stress overworks the adrenal glands which can lead to low DHEA, low progesterone, abnormal estrogen/progesterone ratios, pituitary and thyroid imbalances.
4. Elevated cortisol decreases your liver’s ability to detox excess hormones out of the body which can lead to estrogen dominance, PMS and menopausal symptoms.
5. Stress elevates cortisol and decreases T3 production. This has a negative effect on thyroid health.
6. Elevated cortisol tells the body to stop using fat as energy which can lead to hypothyroidism and weight gain around the waist.
7. Elevated cortisol decrease the amount of stomach acid produced in the stomach. When this happens the body can’t use the nutrients in your food.
8. Elevated cortisol lowers white blood cell production making it harder for your immune system to fight.
9. Chronic stress increases insulin output and can cause insulin resistance or even type II diabetes.
We all encounter stress of some kind each and every day, but we each have the ability to deal with it in a healthy way.
Here are some of my favorite ways to deal with stress:
1. I love to use essential oils on a daily basis to help deal with stress. It’s by-far the easiest and quickest way to help me feel better! Why? Because your sense of smell is the only sense that’s directly connected to your emotional brain. So, when you smell an essential oil, it immediately makes you feel different. If you’d like to dive into exactly how to use oils for stress, check out my free online training that I teach with a fellow NTP.
2. Exercise, but not too much. Long walks, Pilates, yoga, swimming, or light weight lifting are all great ways to exercise without putting too much stress on the adrenals.
3. Spend time in a near-infrared sauna.
4. Disconnect from electronics. I turn off my phone each evening at 6pm. This allows me to be completely present with my family and also helps me to unwind.
5. Spend time with family and friends who encourage and build you up.