Stressed and Tired Go Hand in Hand, with your Emotions, Mind and Physique out the Window!
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
On 26 May 2018, Alison Moncrieff and I held a workshop on Hormonal Health. It was wonderful and a big success. I want to share some information on why Hormonal Health is important and its relation to stress.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
Traditional Chinese Medicine is over 5000 years old and works on the principles of Qi/life force, balance, prevention and maintenance. It focuses on the well-being of the entire (energy) body instead of on parts or symptoms.
When the pathways of this Qi/life force are blocked or out of harmony, illness can occur in the body. This can display itself through physical, emotional or mental symptoms. For every health condition hormones play a vital role.
Nowadays, life provides many stressors ranging from mobile phones pinging every 5 seconds, computers, ipads, electrical wiring, wifi, air and water pollution, chemicals in our food and homes, travel and e-mails.
Not to mention the stress of juggling family and work, social engagements, finances and technological progress, which is increasing rapidly and creating multisensory stimuli adding more stress and overwhelm than we are able to perceive and manage.
The total sum of stress is more than the human body is able to process, creating more imbalance and it's affecting our (hormonal) health.
The sympathetic nervous system controls our fight/flight/freeze response and shuts down all processes that are not critical for survival under stress. In TCM it's called Triple Warmer. It distributes the energy it needs to be able to fight, flee or freeze. When the sympathetic system is continuously being triggered, it is constantly on alert and sends signals to make more adrenaline and cortisol to fight, flee or freeze.
The parasympathetic nervous system controls digestion, rest, a state of calm. It's offline under stress. Our body is not in homeostasis, a healthy state maintained by constant adjustment of biochemical and physiological pathways any more.
The many different kinds of stress we experience triggers our sympathetic nervous system to be on constant alert, rendering our bodies to be on a continuos fight/flight/freeze mode. Our capacity to rest or process things biochemically and physiologically in a healthy way is reduced.
The adrenal glands (located above the kidneys) keep making adrenaline and cortisol to fight, flee or freeze. The cortisol and energy is supposed to be used to fight or run away. Our bodies are wired to respond to a life-threatening situation like an attack by a wild animal by either fighting or running away or freezing (playing dead to survive).
However, in modern day society, we don't encounter these life-threatening situations anymore, but we do experience stress in various situations like being late for a meeting/train, being yelled at by a superior, meeting deadlines, standing in line at the supermarket, people cutting us off in traffic, shocking news from all over the globe, worry about the environment, money, pinging mobile phones, etc.
Since we are socially trained not to fight or run away or freeze instantly in these situations the cortisol in our bodies isn't being used and stays in our bodies. It's stored around the abdomen, below the navel and how hard you exercise, it doesn't seem to be able to go away.
Too much or too little cortisol also affects our perceptions and emotions. We might become more easily agitated, emotional, angry, sad, worried, rigid or anxious.
As continued stressors keep triggering the fight/flight/freeze response the body is not able to return to homeostasis. This process depletes the adrenals and we experience prolonged tiredness affecting our physical, emotional and mental well-being, indicating that hormonal imbalances like adrenal fatigue/burnout and thyroid issues might be at play.
Symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue:
- Complete exhaustion
- Reduced ability to cope
- Can’t deal easily with anger and stress
- Lack of feeling, caring
- Increased cholesterol
- Compulsive eating and other compulsive behaviors
- Increased fat in the lower abdomen
- Diminished sex drive
- Memory loss
- Vulnerable to illness, thyroid issues
Symptoms of Adrenal Burnout:
- Burning feeling around the adrenals, 12-15cm above and below the waist
- Chronic fatigue
- Difficulty breathing with exertion
- Severe (back) pain
- Inflammation or swelling above and below the navel (the 2nd and 3rd chakras)
- Dry mouth, dehydration
- Awake at night and tired during the day
- Unstable blood sugar control
The thyroid regulates the metabolism and functions of various body systems. The adrenals have an indirect affect on the thyroid. When the adrenals are out of balance and produce too little or too much cortisol, it affects the thyroid, resulting in thyroid issues and autoimmune disorders (Grave's disease or Hashimoto's).
According to some statistics 70% of women have a thyroid issue before they reach menopause. Modern life has become more complex with the global changes in societal roles of more women entering the work place, either balancing family and career or being single and the expansion of more life-style possibilities with the accompanying pressures and stresses.
Eden Energy Medicine (EEM)
What I've learned from Eden Energy Medicine (EEM) developed by Donna Eden is how to engage subtle energies to restore health and vitality in a non-invasive easy way. EEM is based on assessing the energy in being blocked or not in harmony and correcting the flow. It provides a comprehensive, integrative, easy, cost effective and preventative understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine, wisdom and philosophies from Ayurvedic and Celtic traditions.
By understanding how to manage the energies to flow better you control the body’s chemistry to evolve and adapt in a vital way to present day stressors.
What to do?
Consider what the energy is that you bring into a meeting, room, your home, your family, your thoughts, daily life?
Is it mostly vibrant, radiant, harmonious and joyful?
Or not? If not, think about your physical, emotional and mental state of being. Rate each from 0-10 to see how you feel at different times in a week, a month.
Simple Eden Energy Medicine acupressure exercises to balance your energies and hormones are:
The Daily Energy Routine by Donna Eden, a 5-minute exercise to help your energies flow better. Making it a daily habit like brushing your teeth is essential in repatterning the flow of energies.
The Triples Axis Hold is to help balance the hormones.
The Thyroid Stretch to help create space and balance the thyroid.
Do the Daily Energy Routine every day for a month and see how you feel, whether there's a difference in your physical, emotional and mental state.
By creating more inner balance we are able to tap into our true nature at a deeper level and bring this into our lives and the world. When we are balanced we can tap into our power.
" our feminine instincts are toward love, cooperation, justice, compassion, family, nature and peace." - Donna Eden
For more reading:
Hormonal Health and Happiness by Prune Harris
What is Energy Medicine by Prune Harris