The Capability That Stress has to Damage Our Health is Grossly Underestimated in the Population Today.
The World Health Organization has characterized stress as a “worldwide epidemic.” With this understanding, it makes perfect sense that chronic illness is on the rise and more people consistently feel bad physically, mentally and emotionally today than in the past.
Unmanaged stress is linked to most chronic illnesses. Not only is it a catalyst for autoimmunity but it can inflame and irritate disease and cause flare-ups.
The fact is that in this life, you will always encounter stress. It’s just not possible to get away from it. However, it is possible to manage it and keep your body from going haywire resulting in disease. Now, if you’re like me, and you already have autoimmunity, I have good news for you:
By learning to manage your stress now, you will allow your body to fully heal.
Chronic Stress, You Just Can’t Ignore it Anymore
If you want to sustainably heal long-term, it’s time for a personal restart. You see, you can do all the other things like overhaul your kitchen, pantry and toiletries, cosmetics and even your cleaning products, but if you don’t reconstruct how you manage the stressors in your life, then you simply won’t heal.
According to the American Psychological Association and the American Institue of Stress, in 2014, 77% of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress. Additionally, 73% of Americans experience psychological problems caused by stress
Get Educated and Learn to Destress
In this post, I want to educate you about the profound effects stress has on your health, help you understand why you need to manage your stress and give you the tools to dominate your stressors rather than let them dominate you. Are you with me?
In order to thoroughly overhaul your stress and learn to manage it, you are going to need to download my “Overhaul Your Stress in 30 days to Heal Chronic Illness Workbook.”
Click the image below to get your free copy.
A Dramatic Shift Must Happen in Order to Manage Your Stress
There were a variety of factors that brought on my Hashimoto’s, the first being root canals, and the second being a lifetime of gut degradation from antibiotics and ibuprofen along with a high sugar diet and lack of nutrition. Additionally, there was one specific factor that worsened my chronic illness to the point of almost dying.
That factor was my unmanaged stress.
In a matter of a few years, I had dealt with the birth of my first son, two heartbreaking miscarriages, the birth of my second son and marital problems maneuvering us to the path of divorce all while trying to figure out this thing I had called Hashimoto’s.
Thankfully, God had a plan and makes all things good in His time and He redeemed my marriage, has my sweet babies in heaven with Him and turned my pain into my purpose. However, needless to say, the stressors in my life were absolutely unbearable at times and I had literally no clue that managing stress was a thing.
The Top 20 Stressors Today
Read each of these slowly and as you read, think about whether any of these categories are a source of stress in your life.
- Constant Input From Media
- Negative Thought Patterns
- Negative Mindset
- Physical Pain
- Emotional Pain
- Pulling All-Nighters
- Harsh Physical Exercise
- Environmental Toxins (like in your kitchen or cleaning supplies)
- Over Commitment
As you read through that list, did you say yes to any of those stressors? If you agree that even two of those categories cause stress in your life, then I strongly recommend carving out some time to evaluate and analyze the stressors in your life and take action to manage them.
It will take effort, and purposeful time spent to start to understand what stresses you out and then brainstorm ways that you can either eliminate or reduce the stress for that particular situation but you can do it!
Don’t forget to download my workbook which will give you a practical guideline to identify the stressors, work through them and take action to manage your stress to reduce its negative health effects on your life.
The Startling Health Consequences of Unmanaged Stress
Most of us know that stress doesn’t feel good – physically or emotionally and, we can all agree that, to a certain extent, we understand that it doesn’t create a healthy body. But, do you really know just how bad it is for your health and well being?
Let me help shed some light on exactly the havoc that stress wreaks on your body.
- First, it shortens your lifespan. Studies show that the better you manage stress, the longer you will live because you will have less oxidative stress in your body.
- Stress is ultra-inflammatory in our bodies and can lead to weight gain.
- It can negatively alter female hormones causing PMS, infertility, PCOS, Endometriosis and more.
- Stress can damage our endocrine system and hinder the thyroid hormone T4’s conversion to the active thyroid hormone T3.
- The adrenal glands sustain damage and cortisol levels can skyrocket and then crash during seasons of unmanaged stress.
- Stress significantly damages proper gut function which is where 70-90% of your immunity resides.
- It negatively restructures sleep hormones.
- Stress drastically suppresses your immune system.
- High levels of constant stress can bring on and exacerbate infections like Mono/EBV, Herpes, Parasitic infections and more.
- It continually keeps your body in the sympathetic state instead of the parasympathetic state where your body has the ability to detox itself. Being in a chronic sympathetic state causes organ congestion and malfunction.
- Stress can increase autoimmune antibodies (in Hashi’s, Graves, RA, etc.)
- It can cause or worsen depression and alter the feel-good hormones like dopamine, etc.
- Sleep can become scarce and a cascade of unwanted symptoms will arise from lack of sleep.
- It hinders the intestine’s ability to absorb nutrients.
- Stress increases cravings for unhealthy foods.
- It has been found to atrophy the Thymus gland which balances your T-Cells which in turn balance your immune system.
- Stress can cause migraines and persistent debilitating headaches.
- It can increase the risk of a heart attack.
Cortisol and Stressors
It’s really important that you understand the role cortisol plays in our body and in response to a stress signal. Once you understand the process, you will be able to take action to intentionally lower it in your body.
Here’s what Dr. Amy Myers has to say about stress and cortisol:
“Your body responds to stress of any kind by releasing a cascade of stress hormones – biochemicals intended to help your body gear up for a challenge. Chief among these is cortisol, a powerful chemical with a wide variety of effects. Cortisol is what you need to mobilize your energy – physical, mental, and emotional – to respond to an important demand. Cortisol helps you stay focused and motivated. It can also cause you to feel wired, edgy, and “stressed.” Another thing about cortisol is that it’s highly inflammatory.” (Pg 159 The Autoimmune Solution)
Getting to the Root of Your Stress and Overhauling It
As I do with all of my clients, we start with why. The reason I go backward to help women look at their why is because if she doesn’t understand why she’s overcommitted or why she continues to stay in the job that stresses her out or why she continues to keep the negative friends she has, then the changes she might make will only be temporary.
In contrast, I want the changes a woman makes to be sustainable long-term. If you’re putting in the hard work, why turn around 6 months later and have to start at ground zero again because you went back to your old ways?
Just like food has an emotional connection, the reason we allow certain habits and choices of life to bombard us comes from an emotional place before it comes from a physical place.
You have to deal with the emotional side of why you are choosing stress before you can address the physical things you can do to manage stress. Yes, I did say choosing stress. It’s a bit of tough love, friends.
I know the process because I am a recovered stressaholic! God transformed me and I want to help you find the same freedom I have by learning why you choose what you do, learn to manage your stress and decide to get rid of the things you can which add too much stress to your life.
To borrow the words of author Simon Sinek, “It all starts with clarity. You have to know why you do what you do.”
“Starting with why… helps you… know which decisions will pull you out of balance.”
It’s Hard Work but the Dramatic Results Make it Well Worth It
Are you ready to come on the journey of overhauling your stress in 30 days to heal chronic illness?
If so, download the free workbook below.
Your Stress Level is a Crucial Factor in Your Ability to Heal from Your Chronic Illness
Now that you understand just how damaging stress can be and have a practical workbook to help you overhaul your stress, you will be one step closer to healing. I am so excited for you because when you start enjoying more good days than bad, the more motivating it will be to continue on the healing path. You can do it!
Don’t Forget to Overhaul These Other Areas of Your Life to Heal Chronic Illness
There are several areas you can choose to make your lifestyle healthier and help prevent disease.
Other Articles in my 365 days of Change Series: