DETOXING NERVOUS SYSTEM
THE LOWDOWN ON STRESS AND ADRENAL FATIGUE
STRESSING OUT is HARMING our health, period. Stress lies at the root of a staggering 80-85% of all human illness, so essentially we are ‘stressing ourselves sick’. Many of us, especially women are in serious need of reducing our stress levels for our short-term and long-term physical and mental wellbeing.
how stress affects the body
Our adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys and naturally produce cortisol, AKA the “Stress Hormone” in response to stress. When we are regularly or overly stressed, cortisol levels become too high which is responsible for whole cascade aftershocks in the body including of hormonal imbalance. One direct effect of too much cortisol production is the repressing of melatonin and growth hormone secretions. Worst of all, it actually causes an inability to respond appropriately to the things that are stressing us out.
As things just seem to keep getting more and more hectic, more demanded of us, as a society at large we need to learn how to recognize the warning signs of heightened cortisol, incorporate stress-reducing practices across all areas of our lives, and maybe most importantly: move into a new appreciation of restorative downtime.
FIVE REASONS TO CHILL OUT FOR REAL
1. IMMUNE SYSTEM
Imbalanced cortisol levels caused by stress can wreak havoc on the immune system which can lead to frequent infections, chronic inflammation and allergies.
Heightened stress levels during the day can often translate into sleeping problems by night. Ironically, without sufficient sleep, your body falls short of the time needed to repair and heal itself from the very cortisol spikes caused by the stress. This creates a vicious cycle in which you feel more stressed and tired after each sleepless night.
3. LOW FAT-METABOLISM AND EXCESS BELLY FAT
High cortisol levels have been linked to an increase in excess fat around the mid-section. So if rushing to the gym is stressing you out, the whole exercise could actually be counterproductive. Some of the popular hardcore ‘boot camp’ style workouts and even running can actually cause more stress on the body than the cardiovascular benefits weigh in as: especially for women.
4. SEX DRIVE
More stress equals fewer sex hormones and lowers libido, preventing us from getting aroused. Decreased sex drive is a common complaint among those who work long hours for demanding businesses.
5. ADRENAL FATIGUE
This is the big one! Chronic stress weakens the adrenal glands to the point of no return. Once your adrenals are compromised you feel constantly tired, lacking in energy and enthusiasm and unable to handle the stress that caused it all in the first place – not an acceptable
THE AYURVEDIC PERSPECTIVE ON STRESS
In the ancient Indian healing system of Ayurveda, to manage stress it is first necessary to understand our unique emotional and physical compositions. We each have dominating doshas (biological energies) that bring about different responses to stress, which manifests in the body as a doshic imbalance. Ayurveda understands that each individual being requires a different stress relief strategy and works to provide specific solutions for a life of harmony and optimum health. It is the art of creating a steady balance between a person and their environment. It’s of great value to take the time to find out what your unique doshic constitution is, and how best to combat the effects of stress on your body.
The Ayurvedic Doshic approach to stress for each Dosha
Vata: Counter the Vata imbalance of stress by being still.
Pitta; Counter the Pitta imbalance of stress by being sweet.
Kapha: Counter the Kapha imbalance of stress by moving the body.
How to stay chilled OUT
Keeping stress levels under control is really about small actionable lifestyle choices, making certain priorities and most of all, recognizing when things start to spin out of control.
Sufferers of Adrenal Fatigue are often lacking in essential vitamins and minerals. Combatting the condition could be as easy as adding three invaluable supplements to your diet. Some of the best supplements for combatting adrenal fatigue are Vitamin C, the B Vitamins especially B-12 and Magnesium.
We already know that Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and can help with anything from curing a common cold to protecting the body from free radicals. Better yet, it is proven to directly help in the production of cortisol in your adrenals, indispensable for tackling Adrenal Fatigue. Meanwhile, Vitamin B12 produces energy, repairs cells and maintains red blood cells, boosting your get-up-and-go when you’re feeling low.
The third and final supplement is Magnesium, which a shocking 80% of us are deficient in. Countless studies have proven a Magnesium supplement can reduce levels of anxiety and depression. It is crucial for maintaining energy flow and has relaxing effects on your muscles and nerves.
These are herbal ingredients that support the adrenal glands and in turn, manage your body’s response to stress. They are energy-enhancing, mood improving promoters of inner balance and have a unique ability to adapt their function according to what your body needs, helping us cope with both external and internal stresses. More on Adaptogens found HERE
CHAGA + REISHI MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms have been revered as both food and medicine for thousands of years and can act as powerful adaptogens. Reishi mushrooms cultivate spiritual energy and promote longevity while Chaga mushrooms have soothing and immune boosting properties. Medicinal mushroom teas will ensure your body is receiving the support it needs, helping to eradicate the sensations of stress and anxiety.
The adaptogen Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs in Ayurvedic healing and medical researchers have completed more than 200 studies on its benefits. These studies have demonstrated that adding Ashwagandha to your diet decreases anxiety, enhances sleep, improves memory capacity and assists the immune system.
Sleep: the thing we all want (and NEED) more of. Stress can be intensified when we’re not getting enough quality slumber. It is necessary to reprioritize your bedtime if you want to beat stress.
For improved snoozing, pick a time to go to sleep and stick with it. This way you can train your body to unwind at the same time every day. A pre-sleep ritual can also help you to relax, for example using essential oils or employing deep breathing exercises.
Learn to unplug: make sure all electronic devices are turned off for at least 30 minutes before bedtime so you are not distracted by them. Reach a stopping point with any tasks you may have and leave them for the morning after your night of rest. Now quiet your mind and let your dreams take over.
Supplements like Skullcap, Passiflora Incarnata and GABA can also help promote deeper sleep.
It’s time to give the cardio a break and join the restorative yoga movement. All yoga is designed to calm your nervous system and align the physical body with the mind, but restorative yoga offers a greater capacity for total relaxation. Developed by B.K.S Iyengar, restorative yoga is the practice of stillness, in which gentle poses are held for long periods of time, with the body supported by props. It lets the parasympathetic nervous system slow down and do its job properly, meaning less stress and better health.
Restorative yoga is also a great precursor to meditation, which countless studies have proven is the ultimate stress-buster. Researchers have seen that meditation can actually change your brain waves, producing higher levels of alpha brain waves – the kind that promotes feelings of deep relaxation in the body. Try starting with just 5 minutes a day to begin feeling the positive effects. There are apps, youtube videos and hundreds of online courses. Just pick one and plug in.
AND FINALLY, DETOX
Almost everyone exposed to modern day stressors can benefit from detoxification. While a healthy body can eliminate many toxins on a daily basis, the natural detoxifier organs in our stressed-out bodies have trouble getting rid of them and need a helping hand. Detoxing allows for purification of the liver, kidneys and blood, enhances mental clarity, and is ideal for recovery from stress and Adrenal Fatigue. It improves the digestion, allowing us to extract more of the nutrients present in the foods (and supplements) that we eat. With more essential vitamins and minerals in our body, energy levels are maintained and we can produce the hormones that we need to function properly. Detoxing means an improved immune system, enhanced gut pH and better sleep – it, in fact, offers everything we need to counteract the effects of stress. It is fundamental that we learn to chill out in order for a detox to work. Pro-actively resting forces the nervous system to reset and repair. In this restful state, the body is free to eradicate toxins, process and expel digestive waste and regenerate on a cellular level for maximum health and energy. In my detox programmes, ‘chill-mode’ definitely needs to be switched on for my clients to truly receive the benefits to their body.
The above tips are essential for stress-free lives both in and out of detox programs, so put some effort into finding your best approach to keeping calm and letting your mind and body revive themselves.