Could your past stresses affect your present health?

Stress is normal – breakups, an ill child, a nagging mother-in-law and a lack of job security are all moments that we may be familiar with.  Stress is a killer and science has proven that years of stress knocks years off of our life.  But why is it that when things are better the ill health remains?

Let me take the example of Cassandra* a client of mine who suffered an abusive relationship, a scary and ugly divorce then diagnosed with high blood pressure, osteopenia (weakening of the bones) and irritable bowel. Years later she met a lovely man from Sydney, who treats her like a queen and they have since opened a landscaping business and are doing exceptionally well.

There has now been 5 years of happy times but her question to me was “Why am I still sick?” Her blood pressure is still high, her bowels are still creating dramas and even her cholesterol has gone up.

My answer to her:

“Adrenal Stress”.

What is the definition of adrenal stress? – The overproduction of stress hormone (cortisol) by the adrenal glands (situated on top of the kidneys) which keeps a person in attack or stress mode (flight or fight).

She has been to doctors and also other naturopaths who gave her calcium for her deteriorating bones, told her to stop eating dairy for her bowels and gave her medication for her blood pressure.

In my abrupt and upfront way I told her it was all useless.

Why treat all these separate symptoms? It’s useless because it’s all happening due to the overproduction of the stress hormone ‘cortisol’. The mind and body were very stressed for a long time during her first marriage. When life took a turn for the better, the adrenals were not ready to stop the cortisol production. It’s like the adrenals never met her new guy. They didn’t realise her life was now amazing. They didn’t get the memo. They just kept producing cortisol.

Cortisol ruins you bones, heart, gut, hair, skin, mind…. anything it wants.

So what did we do? We used specific herbal medicines which have been scientifically proven at the correct strength and dosage to reduce cortisol and eliminate adrenal stress. How long did it take? About three months.

We also did salivary hormone testing and blood cortisol pathology testing to prove to her how quickly this could be fixed.

Diet and lifestyle are also of high importance when treating adrenal stress. The 5 tips I gave her to help with stress were:

-Go to bed at a similar time each night and use dim lighting or a candle for an hour before bed. Dim lights prepare the brain for relaxation and sleep by producing melatonin in the brain.

-Drink 750ml of water first thing in the morning, even before breakfast. Add a squeeze of lemon or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. This will prepare the stomach to digest breakfast and flood the brain with water to help the brain process stressful situations.

-Be grateful. Be thankful for your health, children, life, job, house, food etc. There are so many things we should be thankful for. This positive thinking first thing in the morning sets the tone for a good day.

-Do some morning exercise. Walk up and down the staircase in the house twenty times, or practise ten minutes of yoga. You could even just pick up two tins of baked beans in each hand and practise repetitive lifts. Anything that gets the blood pumping will help the brain be alert for the day. Eventually this home exercise may build towards a morning walk or jog.

-Write things down. If there are many tasks on your mind, keep a daily notebook and cross items off as they are done. It is useless to keep it all in your brain because this leads to worry and stress.

So if you are still sick long after the stress, consider getting checked up for adrenal stress and take a look at where some lifestyle or diet changes can be made.

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