Category Archives: Stress

How To Reduce Chronic Inflammation

Many people think of inflammation as being skin redness, joint swelling after exercise, or even a pimple. And it is. But there’s a different kind of inflammation that is more insidious. This is chronic inflammation, or systemic inflammation. It’s a slow, silent attack on your body and health that never switches off. And worse, it’s the underlying cause of many serious chronic diseases in our lives. Luckily there are simple changes you can easily make to reduce the chronic inflammation in your cells.

chronic inflammation

 

You actually need some degree of inflammation in your body to stay healthy. However it’s more and more common for the inflammatory response to get out of hand.

Inflammation serves an important purpose but when it continues indefinitely it can become dangerous. You know your immune system is stuck in “high alert” when inflammation doesn’t recede. And this is where chronic disease develops.

 

Effects of Chronic Inflammation

 

Most of the common chronic illnesses today are thought to develop when the body is in a state of chronic (or systemic) inflammation. Osteoarthritis, autoimmune diseases, allergies, asthma, IBS, heart disease and even cancer are just some indicators of chronic inflammation.

Many things in life both contribute to and maintain chronic inflammation. Excess weight, lack of exercise, poor diet, excess alcohol, poor oral health and ongoing stress are just some factors that lead to it. Others such as pollution and toxins in our environment can also contribute.

 

Stress And Chronic Inflammation

 

For many people stress can be the major problem. Cortisol is an important part of your body’s stress response to perceived threats. So levels of the hormone cortisol rise in response to any stressful situation.  However, when stress of any type is ongoing the cortisol release mechanism doesn’t turn off. This results in persistent low grade inflammation. In some cases it can go on forever.

The first step to turn off the chronic inflammation response is to change your lifestyle. Simply switch to an anti-inflammatory diet for a significant impact.

 

Conditions Caused By Chronic Inflammation

 

  • Heart disease – stroke, hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Lung issues – asthma, hay fever, COPD, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, breathing difficulties
  • Bone and joint disease – all forms of arthritis, osteoporosis
  • Depression – including feeling down, sleep problems, appetite loss
  • Cancer
  • Anger disorders, aggressive behaviour
  • Autoimmune – Crohn’s, Lupus, Type 1 Diabetes, colitis, IBD,
  • Neurological disorders –  Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, Multiple Schlerosis,

 

Common Causes Of Inflammation

 

Excess Weight

Stacking on the kilos causes fat cells to grow. This leads to immune system distress and results in an inflammatory response within the fat cells.  Over time these cells become insulin-resistant which can lead to diabetes.

 

Chronic stress

Whether it’s a terrible job, unhappy marriage, sick parents, overfull diary or worry about your kids makes you anxious, they’re all chronic stressors. And chronic stress causes unchecked chronic inflammation.

 

Poor Air Quality

Chronic inflammation is one result of smog or any other form of pollution. Tobacco smoke is probably the worst form of air pollution.

 

Gut Health

The gut is integral to your immune system. Seventy percent of it is seated within the gut. Therefore bacteria balance is crucial to the regulation of inflammation. Beneficial bacteria suppress inflammation and harmful bacteria activate it. Boost the beneficial bacteria and reduce inflammation.

Certain foods contain inulin, a prebiotic which feeds beneficial gut bacteria and keeps your gut healthy. These include onions, raw asparagus, raw dandelion greens, raw banana, yoghurt, sour cream, and raw leeks.

Gut inflammation can initiate diseases like Crohn’s or rheumatoid arthritis.

Discover how to fight inflammation in your body.

Continue reading …

 

Disclaimer

 

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only. They are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

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Learn To Truly Love Yourself

Learn To Truly Love Yourself

 

Most of us are so busy waiting for someone to love us that we’ve forgotten about the one person we need to love first—ourselves. While we’re caught up looking for love from a partner we miss out on receiving love from the one person who has the most amazing love to give. That is the person who stares back at us from the mirror. However you can learn to love yourself unconditionally.

 

love and value yourself

Falling in love with yourself does not have to be loaded with guilt. It’s not selfish when we do it with appreciation. And best of all we discover a source of love that never runs out.

It’s often said that we “can’t expect others to love us if we don’t love ourself first”. While this is true to an extent it’s not the whole picture. Because the reality is, others DO love us even when we don’t love ourself. They see the beauty within us even when we can’t.

When we don’t show ourself genuine love we can very quickly find ourselves caught in a cycle of negativity. Lack of self-confidence, insecurity, jealousy and self-loathing feed off each other and escalate our unhappiness. If we continue in this pattern we begin to push others away. This perpetuates our belief that we are not worthy of love, and reinforces our self-dislike.

Conversely, when we love ourself and treat ourself with kindness and respect we always have someone around who sends us love. We feel more confident, positive, and secure. We draw others to us and we receive even more love from them also.

 

How To Love Yourself

So how do you start falling in love with yourself? The whole idea of turning this concept into a process may seem a bit ridiculous. However, it’s not really so silly.

Engaging in a process of introspection and appreciation makes the process very possible.

Enjoy what you’re reading and want to know more? Continue here…

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Is Your Life In Balance? Take The Quiz

If trying to maintain balance in your life makes you feel like a tightrope walker, you’re not alone. Most of us have so many demands on our time and energy life can feel like a three-ring circus.
Balance has become just another thing we desire but believe we can only have once we’ve  earned it, through overwork or overwhelm.

Is your life in balance

Finding balance across our life, whether it’s in work/life, caregiving/self care, routine/creativity or a host of other areas, can feel more and more out of reach and elusive with every passing day. Many people feel life just isn’t delivering all it promised. They can feel let down, unhappy and in some cases, even bitter.

But you can find balance right now. Once you make the decision that you’re worth it, you open yourself to the changes you need to make in your beliefs and practices to support you and allow you to once again find joy through the creation of balance.

 

True Or False?

Take this quiz to see how well you are meeting responsibilities while at the same time recognizing and fulfilling your personal needs and wants.

How well do these statements match you…are they true for you or false?

1. The only way I can successfully manage my life is to take care of myself physically and emotionally.

2. Nurturing myself increases my capacity to help others.

3. I eat healthfully.

4. I exercise regularly.

5. I get check-ups, go to the dentist, and take preventative precautions to prevent illness.

6. I set aside personal, quiet time for myself, whether I’m meditating or simply letting my thoughts drift.

7. I experience the gifts of each season: walking in the rain, cosy fires, bundled-up beach walks; gardening, hiking, more time outside, smelling the roses; camping, swimming, barbeques, walking barefoot on the earth; harvesting the bounty, gathering wood, spending more time inside, walking in the mist.

8. Creativity nurtures me. I do what I love, whether that’s cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, singing or any other creative pursuit.

9. Cleaning out the old makes way for the new. I recognise when things and attitudes no longer serve me and regularly declutter the old and outdated in my life for a lightness and clarity.

10. Reaching out to others enriches my life. I spend quality time with family and friends.

11. Contributing to the world provides connection and purpose, so I give my time, energy and experience where it is most useful.

12. I notice and heed the emotional signals that tell me I’m out of balance: irritability, overwhelm, resentment.

13. If I feel that I’m catching a cold, I realize I may have stressed my immune system with overdoing things, so I stop and take care of myself.

14. When I need or want to, I say no to requests for my time.

15. I acknowledge my successes, no matter how small. I give myself permission to feel proud of all my achievements.

16. I listen to and honor the requests my body makes for such things as a nap, a walk, green vegetables, hot soup, time out.

17. Gratitude practices build inner strength and resilience to help me bounce back from stress. I remind myself every day of just how fortunate I am and of all the bounty and wonderful people in my life.

18. If I have something planned for myself, I don’t just toss that aside when someone makes a request of me.

19. I’m busy, but I find time to do the things I want to do.

20. I’m happy. I regularly experience well-being, contentment, even joy.

If you answered false more often than true you may want to make changes in your life to support you. After all, burn-out often leads to serious health problems ranging from aches and pains, through adrenal fatigue to depression plus many, many more.

Even the smallest child knows the frustration of having no time for activities that make you feel alive, that fire your joy and passion, that nurture you so you feel needed and special. Don’t wait until sickness strikes to change your life practices for the better.

Take a close look at those questions to which you answered false. Is there a pattern? Is it just one area of your life that’s impacting on your wellbeing and sense of balance?  Do you have strong boundaries? Consider or meditate on how you can incorporate the message into your life. And please, don’t hesitate to call if you’d like to explore this issue further.

So go ahead…consider yourself!

How balanced are you? Take the quiz

Author’s content used with permission, © Claire Communications

28 Awesome Ways To Rebalance, Revitalise And Renew

Do you feel burned out, run down, and exhausted? That’s no way to enter a New Year! 2015 has been a tough year for many, many people and it’s important to regroup and recharge as we roll on towards the year-end. Because I want to help you stay ahead of your game I’ve put together this list of ways to rebalance and revitalise body, mind and soul so you can be your renewed best, ready for any challenges the New Year throws at you.

28 ways to rebalance, revitalise & renew you

 

 

Revitalising yourself has much to do with releasing what no longer serves you and many of these practices involve letting go of the old. With the year drawing to a close it’s the perfect way to say goodbye to the old and make space for all the future holds for you.

 

REVITALISE YOUR MIND

revitalise your mind

1. Know Your Limits And Set Boundaries

Whether you’re someone who’s driven by a burning passion or like me, fired by curiosity always jumping to the next intrigue, you need to set your boundaries. Establishing boundaries isn’t about limitation. It’s not only to ensure your adrenal glands don’t give up from over-stress, and it’s not about conserving physical energy. Rather it’s about giving you the space and energy to spend more time pursuing those parts of your life that give you joy. When you have strong boundaries you can keep right away from others dramas.

2. Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

This is so important. Perhaps the most important step you need to take to revitalize your forgive and let gomind as well as your soul is to let go. If you’ve been hurt by someone in the past and are still carrying that heavy, painful, angry burden it’s now time to release it. Even if they’re not aware they hurt you it’s time to forgive. It’s not about negating what happened, but about you releasing the weight and the toxic, destructive impact anger and resentment have on your body and your soul.

3. Meditate

There’s absolutely no question about the benefits of meditating – studies just keep underscoring the many ways it benefits your health and wellbeing. Whether you snatch five minutes in the morning, adopt mindfulness through the day or join a meditation class, it’s simply a matter of finding the form that’s right for you and then sticking to it.

4. Build Better Relationships

It’s vital to get out of toxic relationships as they cloud your life with negativity. If you feel it’s too drastic to release them completely start small and schedule a day or a weekend free from all the negative people who drain you – even if you love them. Include anyone who’s quick to criticize or totally self-absorbed.

5. Get Creative

When you’re completely absorbed expressing yourself creatively just for fun, whether it’s singing, painting, sewing, gardening or whatever, it’s really difficult NOT to relax and stop stressing

6. Expand Your Experience

Challenge yourself by setting a date with get out of your comfort zonejust you to do something outside your comfort zone. Spend time alone discovering your capabilities. Find something that challenges you like hot air ballooning, scuba diving, attending a gallery, or even public speaking. When you challenge yourself you discover how capable you are. You may even find a new interest.

7. De-clutter Your Space To De-clutter Your Mind

Clean out the old and make way for the new. And that applies whether it’s material possessions, outdated attitudes or even people. The amazing thing is that when you start to de-clutter on any one level it flows through into all levels of you, the physical, emotional and spiritual. After you clear out the living room you’ll find your thoughts shifting and you may even look at the people in your life with new clearer vision.

 

REVITALISE YOUR EMOTIONS

revitalise your emotions

8. Give Back

Volunteer – your time, your knowledge or your support. Volunteer at a food truck, a shelter, or anywhere you are reminded of all the blessings you have in your life.

9. Be Present

Set aside some time each day for a thought diet. Limit your thoughts to the here and now, focusing only on the present. Forget the past and let the future unfold in it’s own time.

10. Count Your Successes

We can be quick to criticize our failings but often completely overlook our successes. Give yourself permission to feel proud of ALL your achievements, no matter how small.

11. Cry And Release

If you need to let it all out! cry, and release emotional hurt as well as toxins from your cellsRun a warm deep bath, add some Epsom salts and essential oils and soak. Cry out all the burdens of the last twelve months. Let it all flow until you feel relaxed, lighter and more positive. Emotional crying releases toxins that are byproducts of stress so your body will be cleaner and lighter too.

12. Create a Worry Time Window

If you’re someone who worries chances are it keeps you awake at night and stops you enjoying life to the full. Setting aside ten to thirty minutes each morning or night for just “worrying” frees you up for the rest of the day. When you find yourself starting to worry outside this time put the thought aside to revisit at the designated “worry window” time.

13. Be Honest

Lying to others doesn’t honour them or you. Allow yourself the gift of honest thoughts and communication with others. Having to keep up a lie is a heavy burden to carry.

14. Special “Me-Time” Alone

Time spent with just you is pure gold. Learning to say “no” to others and making space for yourself in your busy life provides an opportunity to heal and revitalize. It not only helps you connect with your inner wisdom more deeply, it also recharges you. Make time for yourself.

 

REVITALISE YOUR BODY

revitalise your body

15. Get Outside and Ground Yourself

Go outside, take off your shoes and sit or stand on the earth, the grass or in the water to ground yourself. Just being in nature lifts your spirits. Our modern environment has a toxic effect on your body and directly connecting your body to the earth through your feet creates a chemical reaction within your cells that helps rebalance you. Focus on being present and breathe deeply to oxygenate your blood and fire up your brain cells.

16. Simple New Year Detox

Instead of vaguely vowing on January 1st to “lose weight”, “eat healthy” or “exercise more”, do a mini detox to help you quickly recover from too many festivities. Set aside a day, weekend, even a week to take a break from alcohol, processed foods and sugar. Plan ahead. Get in fresh fruit and veges, wholefoods or minimally processed foods, or even go totally organic. Drink lots of pure water to flush out the ‘nasties’. Add warm lemon water in the morning. Do whatever you can manage. You’ll feel clearer with more energy.

17. Reset Your Sleep Clock

Adults need 7 to 8 hours sleep every night. Having a sleep-in on the weekend doesn’t balance your sleep bank. When you’re chronically sleep deprived your brain stops getting the ‘tired’ messages so you’re not even aware any longer that you need sleep. If you’re not getting at least 7 hours sleep a night your brain needs retraining.

18. Get Physical

Research shows we need physical exercise every day. It could be weights, running or a gym workout. Or instead you could do gardening, walking, swimming, tai chi, rope skipping or any other activity you enjoy. I have a really, really long hallway and I love reading. So when the weather’s foul I walk briskly up and down the hall for 30 minutes, reading all the way. Just get active!

19. Love The Sunmake a daily date with the sun

Make a daily date with the sun. Not only does it brighten your outlook it also provides you with vitamin D. It’s the only natural source of this essential building block which is required for hundreds of functions in your body.

20. Drink Up

Carry a bottle of water with you and sip through the day. You’ll be surprised at how much you manage to drink. Surprisingly when you’re chronically dehydrated your brain mixes up the messages it gets from your cells and tells you “you’re hungry, go eat” instead of “go drink”. Also too many substitute coffee, tea or soft drinks for water, which act as diuretics and deplete your body of moisture.

21. Eat A Rainbow

Who doesn’t love a rainbow? eat a rainbowThe colour of fruit and vegetables tells you what it contains. It’s not enough to have one or two, you need the full range. So aim for five or more different colours on your plate to get a broader range of antioxidants.

 

REVITALISE YOUR SOUL

revitalise your soul

22. Practice Gratitude

Remind yourself of just how fortunate you are and of all the bounty in your life. Keep a Gratitude Journal to record three things you are thankful for each day, no matter how small.

23. Evict Your Inner Critic

We’ve all got one, that voice inside our head that’s so quick to point out all the holes in our silence your inner criticplans, to warn us we don’t have what it takes to succeed and to remind us of our past mistakes and failures. I used to call mine “The Committee” because sometimes it felt like a whole group ganged up together to completely overpower me. But you can evict them. If you’re a gentle person bribe that inner critic outside your head, or explain nicely that you’re the boss and have the final word. If you’re a bit blunter you could do as I did. Whenever that “Committee” started criticising I’d jump in with “sit down and shut up” before they could get going. It’s amazing how quickly you can silence the critic simply by deciding that YOU’RE the one in the driver seat who makes all the final decisions.

 

24. Release Guilt

Guilt is simply homework from your Inner Critic. When you reclaim control from the critic you don’t have to carry the guilt either. Write down what you feel guilty about, the whole story if you want, and finish it with “I forgive you” (that part’s really important). Next read it out loud. Lastly burn the paper. The three steps of this small ritual each plays an important role. By writing you crystallize the issue, including your forgiveness of yourself. Speaking the words out loud empowers them. Burning the paper symbolically releases your guilt.

25. Listen With Your Whole Self

Open yourself to someone trying to tell you something, and listen without any judgement and without giving advice. Don’t relate what they say to your own experiences. In fact just listen, nothing more – unless they ask for your thoughts. Listening without engaging your inner critic or your life story is one of the greatest gifts you can give and nourishes your soul.

26. Give, And Wish For Nothing In Return

Cultivate generosity. Giving enriches somebody else’s life. Giving without expecting anything in return also equals deposits in your happiness bank. Passing it forward is one simple way to give. Check The Wake Up Project for mindful living tips, uplifting kindness stories and free kindness cards.

27. Gain Clarity By Connecting With Inner Wisdom

Taking time to meditate or pray connect to your inner wisdom to get clarityor any practice that connects with your inner wisdom and develops your spirituality is an investment in defining your purpose and passion. Your inner wisdom is like the GPS for your life and provides you with guidance and clarity about who you are and your life path.

28. Ditch “Rule” Words

Words like should, must, don’t or can’t are all ‘rule words’ that indicate somebody else’s expectation of you. Ditch rules set by others that contain any of these or similar words. When you set new standards that honour your needs and rights you reinforce your personal boundaries.

What other methods do you use to recharge and revitalise yourself?

 

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

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Clear Your Crap For Clarity And Control

So many people feel overwhelmed today, and stumble through their life trying to stay a-top the wave of obligation and busyness, without falling and crashing. Just staying up there requires energy and effort. Getting rid of stuff can help clear some space in your life and your head to make that balancing act just a little easier.

As life continues to speed up the feeling that we need to simplify, if only to stay on top and survive, is expanding and gaining importance. De-cluttering is often the first step towards a simpler life. The beauty of clearing out the junk in your life is that it’s not limited to just the old clothes you no longer wear but can be undertaken as a conscious project where you target clearing on every single level of your being.

Clear Your Crap

Everyone is familiar with spring cleaning but not so many set themselves up to undertake the “whole enchilada”, to declutter more than just their possessions. When you begin to view de-cluttering as a “life-cleanse” rather than as simply a bit of a clean-out you set yourself on a path for a cascade of dynamic life-changing effects.

Everyone has stuff in their life that no longer serves them, baggage that no longer supports them to be the best they can be. Sad to say this outdated stuff can even include people.

To do a full de-clutter of your life really takes some hard soul-searching. In order to totally renew ourselves on every level we need to clear not just belongings but also outdated or negative beliefs, debt, bad habits, people that who leave us feeling bad about ourselves, judgments and criticisms of self and others, or mental clutter.

For many of us holding onto excess possessions, thoughts, emotions or beliefs, has to do with our past experiences and what we learned as we grew up. Relationships, feelings of obligation, debt can all be tied tightly to emotions that are rooted deep in our early years, so they can sometimes be difficult to dislodge. Often we are not even conscious of where they arose from.

The process of life de-cluttering can seem a mammoth exercise. It can seem completely overwhelming and confusing. Where to actually begin could even stop you from starting.

But the same rules that apply to spring-cleaning also apply to making the total life clean out happen. Just as you start spring-cleaning in one room and work systematically through the whole house, so too do you start with one small part of your life and clear that first.

It is all about recognizing what needs to go and then breaking the huge challenge down into small steps that are easy to manage and succeed at.

The beliefs, habits, and possessions in our life can have a great hold on us and shifting them out of our life can be very challenging and difficult. Often by clearing out excess possessions in our life we create a ‘roll’ that then eases us into decluttering the trickier things.

By starting in our homes and removing the excess we open the way for a decluttering on all levels. We open the way for clarity and space not just in our surroundings but also in our mind, body and spirit. Once we declutter our possessions we can begin to recognize, examine and discard those more challenging things in our life, the mental clutter, debt, bad jobs, even relationships.

Often we can have a sense that we don’t really feel happy, or passionate about life. But we may not be able to pinpoint where the feeling stems from. Sometimes we have just become so caught up in living, juggling work, kids, friends, parents, money, plus all the other obligations of life, that we have lost sight of our own needs. The negatives in our life have been absorbed and become so ingrained that we don’t even notice them as being less than ideal anymore.

I like to think of these outdated rose-and-pearlparts of our life as the grain of sand in the oyster shell. The sand grain sits there irritating the poor oyster. But with work the oyster is able to transform it into a beautiful gem, a pearl. By opening up the shell of ourselves and working on the irritating grains of sand in our life we can transform problems into pearls.

 

When we de-clutter we learn to let go and create space. There is a saying that if we want something new in our life we need to first make a space for it to fit in. With our life becoming even fuller and more challenging every single day it seems imperative that we clear every aspect of it that we can. New things will always move into our life, it is the nature of living, but whether we have the space in our life to embrace the positive that waits to arrive depends on whether we are prepared to release the negative first.

As we declutter we gain a sense of lightness as each non-supportive thing leaves
us for good. These are heavy burdens and releasing them lifts the weight from our shoulders giving us a sense of freedom.

Whether the clutter in our life is physical, emotional, or mental it takes a good deal of effort to maintain our relationship with them. When we own less we need to devote less attention to stuff and so we gain the precious commodity of time.

To begin your declutter start by drawing up a plan. Don’t worry if everything isn’t included. Things that need to good will become apparent as you go ahead. Start simply with releasing the most obvious things. Break the process down into small steps and tackle one at a time, then move on to the next. Stop along the way to acknowledge what you have cleared and pause to notice if more stuff has arisen.

If you need help to get clarity about where to begin, or help to form a plan of action, or you know you’ll be able to do this if you just have the support to keep you on track, I am here to help.

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Adrenal Fatigue, Cortisol, and That Overwhelmed Feeling.

While everyone knows about adrenaline and the ‘fight or flight’ response, not so many know much about the hormone cortisol, the “other” stress hormone, or about how it contributes to Adrenal Fatigue. Both adrenaline and cortisol are produced in the adrenal glands but each performs a very different role.

stressed2

Adrenalin is the hormone released when the body is in danger, It promotes quick reaction, throwing you into the best response to get you out of the dangerous situation. It is meant to be released, used quickly and then switched off.

Cortisol also plays a part in the stress response. It is essential for maintaining homeostasis in your body and actually regulates many of the changes in your body that are related to stress. It is released in high levels during periods of stress alongside adrenaline. As with adrenaline it is vital that the cortisol response then shuts off so levels can return to normal.

It is only when stress is ongoing and cortisol continues to be released into the body for prolonged periods that it becomes problematic. Under constant stress cortisol release never gets turned off and this has a negative effect on many body functions.

 

EVERYONE’S STRESSED

Unfortunately, our modern lifestyle which is relentlessly stressful produces the perfect platform for the Stress Scenario.

Stress itself can be very addictive. It’s not uncommon for people to even be proud of the fact that they can juggle a high-power job, family and relationship on caffeine, nicotine and very little sleep. Often we actually applaud people who are able to do it all, and pull off the seemingly impossible.

But stress burns you out, it comes at a cost. And that cost is chronic illness. – diabetes, cancer, a whole gamut of autoimmune diseases, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or a host of others

When someone lives their life in a constant state of prolonged stress where stress hormones are continually released into the bloodstream, never getting switched off, further symptoms continue to develop until eventually the Adrenal glands themselves are affected.

Your adrenal glands simply can’t keep up with the amount of stress. They become overworked and can no longer match hormone production with demand. The production of cortisol plummets and that’s when Adrenal Fatigue kicks in. The Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce sufficient cortisol to release that extra boost of cortisol when an emergency situation arises.

stressed6 overwhelm18876841_s

 

WHAT IS ADRENAL FATIGUE?

Adrenal Fatigue is the umbrella term for the group of symptoms caused by this deficiency.

The primary symptom of Adrenal Fatigue is fatigue that is not improved by sleep. Those who suffer with this syndrome wake feeling exhausted, drag their feet with tiredness all day, only to find they get a second wind and wake up right at the time they should be going to sleep at night.

You can read more about Adrenal Fatigue at “Are You Suffering From 21st Century Syndrome?”

 

YOU DON”T NEED TO BE ANXIOUS TO BE STRESSED

It’s really important to understand that stress does not just refer to a state of anxiety. Living with a feeling of overwhelm, insufficient or poor quality sleep, eating a poor diet, worrying (about anything), unhappiness, or living with pain, are all situations that create a state of stress within the cells of your body, without you ever feeling anxious at all.

Stressful experiences like the death of a loved one or a divorce, undergoing surgery, financial hardship or job stress, bullying, even negative thinking can create adrenal fatigue just as easily as poor diet, lack of exercise or pollution and environmental toxins.

Many, many people spend their entire life in this state, and so live with raised levels of cortisol in their body all the time.

 

THE EFFECTS OF CORTISOL IMBALANCE

The effects of a cortisol imbalance fall into two groups.

The first group of symptoms occurs when circulating cortisol levels are too high and happens during prolonged stress. The second group of symptoms occurs later, once the Adrenal glands are no longer able to produce enough cortisol and circulating levels have dropped significantly, as happens with Adrenal Fatigue.

The negative effects of higher levels of circulating cortisol:

Suppressed or weakened immune system
Raised blood pressure
Increased blood sugar levels
Impaired cognitive performance
Disrupted sleep
Hardening of the arteries
Increased fat storage, especially around the abdomen which is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, higher LDL and lower HDL cholesterol levels,
Lower growth hormone and testerone production
Hyperglycaemia (high blood sugars) and other blood sugar imbalances
Lowered thyroid function
Decreased bone density and osteoporosis
Muscle loss
Inhibited protein synthesis
Loss of collagen in the skin and inhibition of the formation of more
Depression

Long periods of raised cortisol levels can also damage the brain and memory, reducing the ability to learn.

The negative effects of lower levels of circulating cortisol:

Low energy
Brain fog, fuzzy-headedness
Mild depression
Blood sugar imbalances, hypoglycaemia (low blood sugars)
Fatigue, especially in the morning
Disrupted sleep
Low blood pressure
Lowered immune function
Inflammation
Cravings for salty or sweet foods
Difficulty recovering from illness or stress
A feeling of being run down or unable to cope
Feeling awake and alert in the evening in spite of being tired all day
Body aches
Moodiness
Decreased libido
Increased allergies
Hair loss

Overworked Life Plan
Overworked Life Plan

 

SUPPLEMENTS FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

Natural Health modalities can help speed up your journey back from Adrenal Fatigue, which can otherwise be slow. But if you are also deficient in simple vitamins and minerals you lack the basic building blocks your body requires to build your health. Consulting a Natural Health practitioner will provide you with the advice and treatment you need, and replacing some of the deficiencies will also help.

These are just some of the vitamins and minerals that Adrenal Fatigue sufferers tend to lack, although not every person will need all these. Your Natural Health Practitioner can guide you best.

B Vitamins

B5 contributes to cellular respiration and the breakdown of nutrients. Start with 100mg a day.
B6 helps create adrenal hormones. Take 50 mg a day to begin.
B12 helps with energy production, cell repair and red blood cell maintenance. Start with 100mcg a day.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant directly involved with the production of cortisol, and in addition offers many other benefits to your immune system and more. Start with 100mg of buffered Vitamin C a day and increase this gradually.

Probiotics

When Adrenal Fatigue affects the digestion, which it frequently does, probiotics play an important role as they contribute towards a better uptake of nutrients to assist the body on its healing journey.

Magnesium

As most of the population is thought to be deficient in magnesium supplementing is a great benefit. As well as causing depression and sleep problems deficiency can also lead to muscle cramps and stiffness. Start with 400mg a day.

There are a number of other supplements that I often like to include in the treatment of Adrenal Fatigue such as CoQ10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, Spirulina (although it is not strictly a supplement) and the herb Tulsi (Holy Basil).

 

NATURAL THERAPY

I repeatedly find that Homeopathic medicine and Herbal Essences help provide good recovery in my clinic for cases of Adrenal Fatigue. Both these forms of Natural Medicine are effective on their own without the use of additional supplements. Best sustained results occur when Homeopathic medicines are individually prescribed according to Homeopathic prescribing guidelines, by an appropriately qualified practitioner.

 

LIFESTYLE CHANGE

Making lifestyle changes that assist in reducing the impact of Adrenal Fatigue is helpful. Walking, yoga, meditation, tai chai, and qi gong are all gentle forms of exercise that will not result in you crashing after providing an initial burst of energy, which often happens with more strenuous exercise.

Controlled breathing exercises and techniques are excellent and can be done through the day wherever you happen to be.

Modifying your sleep preparation rituals can help reduce insomnia and the impact caused by adrenal fatigue, to improve your sleep.

 

EATING FOR ADRENAL FATIGUE

Moderating your diet by reducing sugars, caffeine, and alcohol at the very least will also help support you to recovery.

If you must drink coffee or cola do it in the morning and then steer clear of it as it interferes with sleep and adrenal recovery.

Watch for hidden sugars and replace sugar with stevia where you can

Alcohol contains sugar and creates a boost and crash scenario, interfering with the sleep cycle and causing insomnia later in the night.

Hydrogenated oils lead to adrenal inflammation, Use good fats like coconut oil instead.

Processed foods or microwave foods contain many difficult to digest preservatives and fillers.

 

Have you experienced Adrenal Fatigue? Leave a reply below.

For more information and advice about how best to treat your symptoms contact your Natural Medicine Practitioner.

 

stressed3

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

 

Source Articles

http://www.psychologicalharassment.com/stress-and-stress-management.htm
http://www.adrenalfatigue.org/cortisol-adrenal-function

 

10 Top Tips To Survive The Holiday Season and Start the New Year Powered-Up

December, the end of the year – a time of good will and the ‘Season of Stress’. At this time of the year we are all weighed down with stress – at work, at school, shopping for the Holidays, coping with crowds everywhere we go, financial worries. For almost everyone, everyday stress levels in their everyday life are ramped up right now.survive christmas

And then there are the parties! With so much going on it’s almost impossible to reach the New Year without crashing in a heap.

There is no point waiting until after the damage is done and the celebrations have finished to try to pick up the pieces. The key is to get on top of the extra stress right now.

Of course, that brings us right back to one of the big the stress triggers – you have no time right now to add anything extra into your busy life.

Fast Simple Strategies To Regain Calm Control

While the stress hormones, adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol, were essential to life in the wild, our bodies have not caught up with our lifestyle. Too much of the hormones designed to save our life in cave-man days surging through our body can have dire consequences on our health now. The constant level of stress we live with keeps them permanently switched on, constantly increasing our stress.

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There are many quick and easy ways you can defuse stress in just two to five
minutes. It is simply a case of learning them and then remembering to use them.

Here are ten health hacks that take less than five minutes to get your stress levels down and have you on track to hit the New Year running. Try them all out or just one, but do yourself a favour this holiday season and practice a little self-care.

#1 Sweetly Scent-sual

Far more than just being pleasant aromas, the fragrance of flowers contains volatilelavender-76476_640 plant compounds that can reduce stress as powerfully as certain drugs. Keeping fresh flowers or a plant in your workspace will help, but to get a powerful effect opt for aromatherapy essential oils. Coming in little bottles they can be carried in your bag and quickly sniffed whenever you feel stress levels rising. Lavender is one of the best, and frankincense often the first choice to reduce stress. Rosemary is my favourite to increase clarity and focus, and peppermint is another good choice.

Simply take a long, deep breath from your bottle, or dab on your temples whenever you need it.

Or if you find your stress levels rising when you are out shopping duck into the closest florist and take some good deep calming breaths.

Flower Power can also be accessed through flower essences. These come in small bottles to carry with you, and you simply drop a few drops on your tongue whenever your stress, anxiety or worry levels start to rise.

While many find Bach Rescue Remedy helpful, The Australian Bush Flower combination essence ‘Calm & Clear’ is fantastic for helping you keep your cool. Buy it from you Natural Health practitioner or local health food shop.

#2 Tame Those Racing Thoughts

Sometimes when you are under stress and your mind is always busy, thoughts can go a bit wild, running round and round your head, building up your anxiety and increasing your stress.

When you find this happening simply begin to focus on an object – it can be any object, even just a pen, although I prefer something that is more engaging. You need to really focus on it, concentrate so other thoughts don’t creep in.

Once you are focused start to breathe deeply and slowly, right down deep into your abdomen. If you are not sure about doing this try it out a few times when you are calm to get the hang of the process which you can learn on Mastering The Breath Of Life.

Keep the breathing going for three minutes while you maintain your focus. This is an excellent way to calm your mind and relax you.

#3 Breathe…

image credit: Shawn Rossi
image credit: Shawn Rossi

You don’t necessarily need to focus and breathe when you feel stressed.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing alone soothes your nervous system and increases your alertness. Once you have mastered this technique it is easy to simply stop and do it. Even just breathing for two minutes can settle you down considerably.

Breathe down into your belly, through your nose, hold for a couple of seconds, then release slowly through your mouth.

#4 Tea Time

How often do you hear someone say in TV shows ‘let’s have a nice cuppa tea’ after some big drama is sorted? Full of antioxidants tea is the perfect way to calm down, especially if you stop rushing around and sit quietly to enjoy it.

Black, green and white tea, all have some calming effect. But if you want the big guns of relaxing teas you can’t go past some of the herbals.

Chamomile is the simplest and is readily available, even in most cafes, so is a good one to fall back on. It is far more effective when it’s brewed up with lavender though and works well in many blends.Tulsi Tea

Ashwaganda has been used in Ayervedic medicine for thousands of years to treat even severe stress. A great choice while you’re working as it calms your nervous system without sending you off to sleep. As a bonus it induces a sense of wellbeing and clears your mind.

Lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, valerian, lime blossom and oats are just some of the others that calm and relax.

There are so many herbs already combined into excellent relaxing blends now available that all you need to do is select the combination that you like the most. Try out a few different blends until you discover your favourite.

#5 Talk With A Friend

Whether you vent, speed-talk, shed a few tears, or simply sigh, talking to a good friend who is ready to just listen, can make a huge difference to your stress levels. Research has shown that as well as getting stuff off your chest talking to a friend actually reduces your stress hormones as well as your blood pressure.

#6 Smile

Frowning or grimacing, clenching your jaw, or wrinkling your forehead all suppress your immune system and trigger the release of more stress hormones.fruit smile free use

Simple smiling boosts your levels of the neurotransmittors serotonin from your thyroid and endorphins from your pituitary gland. These are the ones the one that produce good moods and make you happy. As smiling increases your endorphins it also lowers your levels of cortisol.

The more you stimulate your brain to release these mood boosters by just smiling the more relaxed you feel.

But here’s the amazing thing. You don’t have to feel happy. It’s the simple act of moving the muscles in your face that triggers the action. Putting on a happy face starts the process.

#7 Visualize – Let Out Your Imagination

Your mind is a powerful tool and the gateway to escaping your stress. Remember how good you feel when you are think of your favourite holiday spot? Or perhaps recalling time spent with close family or friends?

Closing your eyes and taking your thoughts inside your minds-eye to your favourite perfect, beautiful scene or happy experience allows you to return to those times when you felt secure, happy and relaxed.

Simply closing your eyes gives you the space to spend a few moments to ground and reduce the stress hormones surging through your body.

#8 Yuuummm…

Now here’s one many of you will love. Small amounts of dark chocolate really do make you feel better and reduce your stress. Eating dark chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels in your brain – the mood enhancers. Plus it lowers your levels of that difficult stress hormone, cortisol.

Just 40 grams of dark chocolate a day for a couple of weeks does the job. And the darker the chocolate, the better. It must be at least 70% cocoa. Sweet, milk chocolate varieties don’t offer the benefits, and don’t even consider white chocolate. But be sure to practice moderation, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing.

#9 Meditate

Not only does meditating calm you in the moment, establishing regular meditation practice changes the way your brain responds to stress.

The image many have of meditation practice is of sitting still for hours with a completely empty mind. But there are many forms of meditation, some still – some active, and some taking just a few minutes.

Have you ever found yourself gazing at something, perhaps a magnificent scene, completely caught up in what you are looking at, your mind a blank? You are in a state of meditation. Anything that totally pulls your focus and allows you to switch off distractions is a meditation.

Sometimes it can happen simply by watching something absorbing, at other times it helps to repeat a simple word or phrase in time with your breath. Words such as relax, I am calm, peace or serenity are all suitable choices. Find one that has the most meaning for you.

Concentrating on your breath is one way to focus and meditate. Zen masters may do this for hours on end but even doing it for just a few minutes has a powerful effect on your whole body – your brain, your nervous system, your emotions, your muscles.
You can even meditate by concentrating on your breathing as you take slow measured steps in time with each breath. LINK??

#10 Meridian Magic

This is a different take on how to relax and calm yourself.

This twenty second exercise is an ancient healing practice that rebalances the energy pathway in the body that affects stress. Realigning this meridian supports your immune system and improves your ability to manage stress and release tension, anxiety and fear.

So simple, quick and effective, you can do it anywhere, and it only takes seconds.
This year, set yourself up to hit the New Year running.

We can’t totally eliminate stress from our life in these times, it surrounds us day and night. But taking simple steps to prevent the effects of that stress building and building in your body until it reaches a level where you crash, just makes plain good sense.

Perhaps even more importantly it gives you back control of your life.

SURVIVE CHRISTMAS 2

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles
http://curezone.com/forums/am.asp?i=1457988
http://livingbodywellness.com/de-stress-5-minutes-less/
http://www.annehartley.com.au

Food Intolerance – The Lowdown. Are Food Intolerances Leaving You Washed-Up?

The number of people recognizing they have one or more food intolerances have been rising dramatically over the last decade, with more and more people becoming aware that they have problems with certain foods. Many more are not willing to even entertain the possibility that food intolerance may be causing their symptoms.

Food Intolerance
The reality is that as the body demonstrates an adverse response after they eat particular foods more and more people are becoming aware that they have problems with certain foods.

Many people live with the debilitating symptoms of food intolerance for years without anyone being able to diagnose their problems. In spite of extensive testing nobody seems able to help them. Often it is only after eliminating a particular food from their diet that they discover where their problems come from, and the extent of damage that food is causing to their body.

 

FOOD INTOLERANCE OR FOOD ALLERGY

For many the distinction between allergy, intolerance and sensitivity is not clear, but they are actually very different.

Food intolerances involve a completely different response by the body to food allergies. In food allergy the immune system identifies an ingredient as harmful and reacts by creating antibodies. Read more about allergies here.

Food intolerance is limited to the digestive system and occurs when food is not properly digested and ferments inside the gut. Where this gets confusing is that digestive dysfunction often causes dysfunction in other parts of the body and so symptoms from intolerance can appear throughout the body even though they arise from the gut. They can be quite diverse ranging from depression to weight gain, chronic fatigue, eczema, thrush and many more.

Food sensitivity is a delayed food allergy and can be particularly difficult to recognize. These are the least predictable reactions because you may be able to eat a food sometimes with no consequences but at other times develop symptoms like nausea, cramps or reflux. Fructose malabsorption is an example of a sensitivity.

While food allergies are more common amongst children, food intolerances are more prevalent in adults, partly due to stress, alcohol, the use of various medications which all compromise the digestive system, as well as to the decrease in digestive enzyme production as you age.

The onset of problems caused by food intolerance and sensitivity is generally not as rapid as that of allergy. Reaction can occur from about thirty minutes to even a few days after the food was eaten.

Where food allergies can produce fatal anaphylactic responses, food intolerances are not life-threatening, but they can lead to many chronic diseases such as thyroid disease, heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune diseases.

Many of those with food intolerance are actually able to eat small amounts of an offending food without too much problem. Dairy foods are a good example of this. According to the Food Intolerance Institute of Australia, in December 2013 75% of the population were intolerant to dairy foods like milk, yoghurt, cheese and ice cream, and most of these people were completely unaware of it.

Often it is the very foods that are not tolerated well by the body that are the foods that you crave the most. Nobody really knows why we crave foods we do not tolerate although there are a number of theories. As a good rule of thumb any food that is regularly craved should be treated as suspicious.

It can take some time before a person is willing to accept that they may have food intolerance. For many it is not until their symptoms become unbearable that they will even consider the possibility. This may be more so if the food is also one they crave.

 

INTOLERANCES CAN SUDDENLY APPEAR AS AN ADULT

It is not uncommon for there to be no apparent problem with foods during childhood and for symptoms to appear as an adult. Typically, but not always, lactose intolerance symptoms appear in adulthood.

The most common food intolerances are dairy, gluten, wheat, additives, fructose, yeast, although many other foods including alcohol can be the culprit. Sometimes it will be a whole food group that is the problem, such as the dairy group or nightshade foods (potato, tomato, capsicum, eggplant, chilli), or just single foods from different food groups.

Generally avoiding a food that is not tolerated allows the digestive system a chance to heal from constant irritation and the person quickly recovers, feeling happier, more energetic and able to live their life fully.

food tree-157673_640

 

SOME CAUSES OF FOOD INTOLERANCE

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

This is a chicken and egg situation…does the IBS cause food intolerance or does constant irritation and inflammation of the gut from food intolerance cause IBS? The symptoms are constipation, urgent diarhoea, and cramping.

Food Additives

Many additives including sulfites found in dried fruits, wines and the salads from salad bars, cause asthmatic reactions in many people. Additives are often a big contributor to ADHD and result in a wide range of symptoms including migraines.

Coeliac Disease

Coeliac disease is interesting as it is actually a gluten intolerance which resembles an allergy, because the immune system is involved as well as the gut. The symptoms are mostly digestive but can lead to many other symptoms through the body.

Specific Foods Or Food Groups

Certain foods, particularly dairy foods (milk, cheese, ice cream, yoghurt, cream) and grains containing gluten (wheat, spelt, barley, rye and oats) are often the most poorly tolerated. There are many other foods over a wide range of food groups that also cause symptoms of intolerance.

Enzyme Deficiency

Different enzymes are needed to digest particular foods. If production of any one enzyme is deficient, then the food it breaks down is not tolerated.

Processed Food

The processing of foods particularly grains, milk and soy products seems to play a part in food intolerance as the process makes the foods difficult to digest, leading to irritation of the digestive tract and a whole range of symptoms.

 

IDENTIFYING FOOD INTOLERANCE CAN BE VERY DIFFICULT

Often the symptoms of intolerance are very mild and so go unnoticed. Or, because of the time delay between when the food is eaten and when the symptoms occur, they are not connected with any particular food, or are attributed to a completely different cause.

When the problem is with a food that you eat every day, or even many times a day, it becomes virtually impossible to make the connection between the health problem and the food, unless the food is totally removed from the diet for a period of time, whereupon the symptoms improve or disappear.

If you have intolerance to more than one food it makes it extremely difficult to isolate all the foods or food groups that may be responsible for their unpleasant symptoms. Removing just one food only gives partial improvement at best.

Frequently it can take some time, even days, for the negative response to become evident. Given that you will have eaten a number of different foods in the intervening time it becomes virtually impossible to isolate the culprit.

 

SYMPTOMS OF FOOD INTOLERANCE

Symptoms caused by food intolerance can be mild or severe, specific or vague. If you suffer from persistent symptoms, or ones that recur more than twice a week, and they are not caused by another condition, you could suspect you are not tolerating one or more foods.

  • Bloating after meals or in the evening
  • Headaches, migraines
  • Eczema, skin problems
  • Asthma or cough
  • Nasal congestion, sinus pain, nasal discharge
  • Chronic diarrhea, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), constipation
  • Belching after meals, indigestion, abdominal pain
  • Muscular pain or weakness, generalized aching, back pain
  • Stiff, swollen or painful joints
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Poor concentration, memory loss
  • Depression
  • Repeated Urinary Tract Infections
  • Candida or thrush, vaginal irritations
  • ADHD
  • Food cravings
  • Low or no energy, tiredness and drowsiness
  • Poor balance, dizziness
  • Weight gain
  • Autoimmune disease, Type 2 Diabetes, Psoriasis

Bloated green man

 

GETTING ANSWERS

Keeping a food diary can help you identify problem foods. Over the course of two to three weeks record every single food or drink you eat as well as any symptom that occurs. By looking at the list of food intolerance symptoms it is obvious that it is very easy to miss symptoms, as well as difficult to make the link with the offending food.

If a certain symptom always occurs after eating a particular food you can recognize which food seems to be the culprit. Then it is necessary to totally avoid that food for about ten days and to see how you feel. If that food is a basic like gluten, wheat or dairy it is essential to read every label, as these foods all occur in many processed foods and are not always obvious because they may be listed under many different names.

It can be quite difficult to conduct an elimination diet on your own and is much easier under the care of a Natural Health Practitioner.

TESTING FOR FOOD INTOLERANCE

Testing, such as the Scratch Test, is normally conducted to detect allergies and it measures the response of IgE anti-bodies, that is, the response of the immune system. It detects a true immediate allergy.

Because food intolerance involves a different and delayed response a Scratch Test will not pick this up. Many people are left confused after a Scratch Test when they get negative results for foods they felt sure were problematic. Often they have an intolerance rather than an allergy.

While blood spot tests used to test for food intolerance check for specific anti-bodies to specific foods, they are not always definitive, as many people react with foods in which the antibodies do not show up on the test. When this occurs eliminating the suspected food and noting the response, can be a way to identify whether the food is a problem or not.

I conduct testing in my work (no, not a Vega machine) which indicates whether your various body systems respond negatively to a food. While it does not distinguish between allergy and intolerance it does identify problem foods. Usually the person is sensitive to a number of foods, not just a single food. I find that if the foods indicated as being a bigger problem are totally removed, the other foods are usually better tolerated, as long as you do not overindulge.

BEWARE HIDDEN DANGERS!

Wheat, soy, corn and dairy, are foods frequently found to cause reactions and are ones that are commonly added to many other products. In processed foods they are often not simply called milk or wheat, but go by a vast array of pseudonyms. Go Dairy Free provides a list of other names for milk proteins. Wheat-Free.org lists alternative names for wheat in foods. To actually stop eating the offending food, at least for long enough to allow your digestive system to repair, you need to be quite vigilant about avoiding it in ALL foods, including where it may be hidden.

The length of time you need to avoid the food depends on how bad your reaction was. It may take six months of total avoidance and then only very occasional exposure to keep you healthy.

But, most people don’t miss the problem food after it has been removed for about a month as they feel so much better, and as the chemical process that sets up cravings for problem foods is broken they no longer even want to eat the food.

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Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only. They are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation with your health care provider. Do not use this article to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think your condition may be serious or before discontinuing any prescribed medication. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.

Source Articles
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538
http://www.bodyandsoul.com.au/weight+loss/diets/do+i+have+a+food+intolerancer,18769
http://nourishholisticnutrition.com/could-hidden-food-intolerances-be-sabotaging-your-health/

Hidden Dairy: Foods, Medication, and Beyond

http://www.customfitnutrition.net/allergy.html
http://www.ift.org/knowledge-center/learn-about-food-science/food-facts/food-allergens.aspx

Reduce Exam Stress To Stay Sane

reduce exam stress with natural remedies

With the run up to, and on through, the end-of-year exams it’s a very stressful time for VCE and Uni students and their families. For many students it’s the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced and many succumb to exam stress. But natural medicine offers much help to overcome study and exam stress and give you the edge in exam performance.

Everyone reacts differently to challenges. While it’s normal to feel stressed at this time, for many the effects can spiral out of control. Read on for advice for managing study stress the easy way with the help of alternative medicine.

With so many high expectations, and so much riding on results it’s quite normal for students under pressure to suffer for many months causing a stress response in their body. The hormones released as a result of being under stress have far-reaching effects on every system in your body both at the time and later on down the track.

While some stress can aid performance, if stress continues over weeks and months it can take over and have detrimental effects. The immediate effects are often evident at the time but the long-term effects can continue after the exams are long over.

In addition, anxious and grumpy students have a big impact on anyone around them particularly on their family. Homes become a bed of tension, concern and even reach friction and confrontation if stress spins out of control.

 

EFFECTS OF STRESS

During worrying times the stress hormones produced effect the neural connections of the prefrontal cortex. This is where your working memory is located, as well as functions vital for reasoning, planning and problem solving, and for regulating attention and emotions all essential for academic success.

A sudent under great stress is therefore unable to function at their best in exams, no matter how much they study.

In addition stormy emotions weaken the prefrontal cortex and this hampers thinking and learning ability.

Students suffering study stress don’t learn effectively or remember well what they’ve learnt.

In order to perform to their best and to present their ability and knowledge well in their exams, it’s essential for students NOT to be in a state of stress. By actively reducing stress you increase learning capacity, memory, reasoning powers, and academic performance. By reducing stress you’ll feel calm, clear-headed, motivated and in control.

By stepping in early to reduce the effects of stress you support your health and it lays the groundwork for better performance. Reducing your stress can also reduce the tension in the home to restore peace.

 

REDUCE EXAM STRESS

While there are a number of exercises and lifestyle practices you can do to reduce stress the greatest impact is gained from using alternative medicine. Of these I see the best and fastest results with homeopathic medicines and flower and herb essences.

 

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HOMEOPATHY

Homeopathic treatment offers great benefit for all the problems associated with study and exam stress.

Remedies that individually selected to each persons needs for anxiety, difficulty focusing or remembering what was learned, problems sleeping, fear of failing, trouble settling down to study, irritability, feeling like giving up, even mixing up information or getting it backwards.

When the remedies are prescribed according to Homeopathic principles they are very fast acting and effective.

There are some great Homeopathic remedies to calm exam nerves and reduce the anticipatory anxiety and shakiness students experience before the actual exam.

Here are a few of my suggestions:
Gelsemium is a great remedy to take for performance anxiety. It’s perfect before an exam where there is a shaky or jittery feeling and a frequent need to use the bathroom.

Lycopodium is an excellent remedy during study break for someone who worries about being evaluated, who feels they know nothing and will look stupid in front of everyone, but who, once they get started performs wonderfully.

Nux Vomica is useful for an irritable person using too much coffee and other stimulants in an effort to push on through.

There are many other remedies for all those other consequences of study pressure and stress including:

  • feeling overwhelmed and out of control
  • self-criticism and negative thinking
  • irrational beliefs such as “nobody will respect me if I don’t score above 95”
  • feelings of catastrophe like “I’ll fail whatever so what’s the point”
  • inability to relax into sleep or waking up through the night and worrying
  • holding all the emotions inside until they explode
  • feelings of isolation and losing touch with friends
  • crankiness and irritability
  • problems getting motivated

Speaking to a professional Homeopath can clarify all the issues you are facing. They will put together remedies individually suited to YOUR needs.

 

FLOWER ESSENCES

Flower essences are easy to take – just a few drops on the tongue a few times a day. A few drops can even be added to a water bottle to carry around with you to sip in the moment they are needed the most.

Bach Rescue Remedy is a tried and true treatment for anxiety.

I find the Australian Bushflower EssenceCalm & Clear’ excellent for building and sustaining a state of calm in anyone, including students.

Australian Bush Flower Essence Cognis‘ is great for the student who can’t settle down and focus on their study. It balances daydreaming, confusion and a sense of overwhelm and gives clarity and focus to help with the assimilation of ideas. This is a great treatment for the next few weeks when you are trying to consolidate your study.

Individual flower essences are also great for study – Bach’s Clematis helps focus, Gentian for self-belief, Larch for confidence and White Chestnut for clarity.

I like to use and prescribe Herbal Essences as they can be combined in a mixture that specifically addresses the way each person individually experiences exam stress. This means it’s not a “one-size-fits-all” treatment but one that’s tailored to each person. Herbal essences are great as they combine the thousand year old knowledge of the healing power of herbs with the positive effects on the mind and emotions of flower essences

ESSENTIAL OILS

There are a number of studies that show burning essential oils can induce brain power. All the oils can be used in an oil burner but will be more beneficial in a diffuser which disperses the droplets as water vapour. Here are a few to try.

    • Basil is one of the best for clarity and encourages concentration. Mix it with rosemary to stimulate memory recall.
    • Peppermint stimulates the brain and promotes clear thinking.

Lavender is soothing and relaxing and is useful if stress prevents sleep.

 

FOODS

While foods alone won’t turn your exam stress around (unless you’re bingeing) they do play an integral part in how you cope with exam stress.

It’s essential to eliminate all those that hold you back such as sugar, caffeine, alcohol, simple carbohydrates, junk foods and nicotine. But it’s just as important to add those that boost brain power to enhance your study and performance. Right now is when you need lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meats and complex carbs.

  • Omega-3 enhances learning ability and boosts memory power. Itss found in many foods as well as fish oil or krill supplements, or sea buckthorn if you’re vegetarian. Some good sources are oily fish, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds and flax seeds.
  • Avocadoes increase blood flow to the brain.
  • Chocolate increases endorphin production to improve focus and concentration, and dark chocolate helps cognitive skills by boosting blood supply to the brain. But don’t overdo the chocolate and opt for dark chocolate over the sweet, milky varieties for a much greater impact.
  • Nuts and seeds help memory and cognitive skills and are easy to munch while you study

 

SUPPLEMEMTS

Taking a multivitamin can help keep up vitamin levels reduced by stress. Vitamin B and magnesium are both depleted during stressful times. Take B vitamins in a complex rather than as single vitamins as they work synergistically.

 

RELAX

Deep breathing is a wonderful way to calm and relax your emotions very quickly in times of extreme stress. Focusing on the breath helps to exclude outside thoughts and stop panic before it escalates. For the correct technique click here. 

Yoga is an excellent way to achieve relaxation quickly, and is perfect to introduce into your study routine. Alternatives are qi gong, tai chi or walking.

While it’s important to take time to relax, to take breaks, to eat well and get plenty of sleep, all the time allocated to study revision is no use at all if you’re not clear-headed, can’t retain the crucial information or are so strung-out you can’t even settle down to study. This is where alternative medicine steps in.

 

Here are a few things to take away with you.

  • Worrying about the study workload or exam outcome only increases stress hormones like cortisol, which impairs your concentration and ability to learn.
  • Food can be your friend. Reduce caffeine, sugar, junk foods and alcohol. Add foods that support study.
  • Steer clear of performance enhancers like Ritalin.
  • Don’t beat yourself up with guilt if you haven’t got everything exactly right.
  • Take time off as studying 24/7 doesn’t work. Exercise is a great way to get back focus.

And crucially, now you know how, use Natural Medicine to gain the edge in your exam preparation and performance.

 

manage study

Disclaimer

All information and opinions presented here are for information purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional advice offered during a consultation. Please consult with your health care provider before following any of the treatment suggested on this site, particularly if you have an ongoing health issue.
Source articles

http://www.evokelearning.ca/the-impact-of-stress-on-academic-success/
http://www.schoolatoz.nsw.edu.au/homework-and-study/homework-tips/managing-exam-stress

The Impact of Stress

WOMO – 2014 Service Award

1020745 Thanks to our customers and their lovely reviews, Nàdurra Health – Catherine Bullard was awarded with a  Word Of Mouth Online 2014 Service Award as one of the Top 5% of businesses based on customer reviews! WOW!