Feeling moody and stressed lately? Gosh, I don’t know about you, but my stress level is just a bit too high lately with all the craziness in the world on top of 2 years of a pandemic. If you’re scrolling through your news feed for updates constantly causing jaw clenching and poor sleep, then hopefully this will help ease your stress response.
Stress and your Body
Stress reduces your energy, ages you faster, and turns on inflammatory compounds which lead to disease. One of the best things you can do to support your body is to take omega fats and get more nutrients into your body. That means taking a high-quality nutritional supplement along with eating healthy, whole, nourishing food.
The Stress Response
There are different stages of the stress response. Adrenaline is for the short-term danger response. Like running from a tiger. Your blood pressure goes up and the blood supply is diverted from the digestive process. Nourishment is therefore compromised. One in three Americans has increased adrenaline.
The Thing with Cortisol
The thing with adrenaline is it’s supposed to be used for the short term. Like running from a tiger. With the constant output of adrenaline, your body responds with inflammation. As a result of that, your body starts producing cortisol to reduce the adrenaline. Cortisol slows down your metabolism causing you to get fat around the middle, back and arms. That’s the dreaded muffin top and lunch lady arms! Cortisol used to be made by the body in times of famine. So that’s why your body packs on the weight. It’s in survival mode. Going on a diet just increases stress and your body to believes there really is a food shortage so it holds onto fat for survival. One of the keys to weight loss is stress reduction.
If this scenario continues, your body becomes exhausted with deep fatigue. The cortisol levels drop and this is called adrenal fatigue. When you properly nutrient your body, it has the resources to reduce cortisol without fatiguing the adrenals in the process.
A State of Constant Threat
We are now living in a constant state of being ON. With all the devices and the ability to connect and respond to everything at a moment’s notice, your body thinks it’s under constant threat. Adrenaline and cortisol used to mean life was under a death threat. Now, in response, you need to nutrient your body at a much different level than previously needed.
Begin to Combat Stress
So, the first thing you can do to combat stress in your body is to get it optimal nutrition with supplements and food. Next, you need to engage the parasympathetic nervous system. That’s the one that is calming and repairs the body. The only way you can engage it is to increase the length of your exhale. So simple and yet so hard. Deep belly breathing communicates to every cell in your body that you are safe. Taking 20 deep breaths a day will get you into the safe zone. My favorite is 4/7/8 breath. Inhale through your nose for 4, hold for 7, exhale through your mouth for 8. Repeat 3-5 times. I use this whenever I’m feeling stressed or anxious.
Carbs and Stress
The other interesting connection between fat and stress is that when you are stressed, your body burns glucose for fuel. It’s fast-burning and once it’s used up, your body will crave more carbs and sugar to replenish the fuel. It won’t even realize that you’ve got fat stores that are the potential for energy production. Fat is slow-burning fuel. So when you get calm and relaxed through breathing, you’re body will slow down and use fat for fuel. Another key to this formula is to increase your fat consumption. Eating healthy fat at lunch will help reduce your desire for sugar.
Stress and Sleep
Do you have trouble sleeping as well? You may have guessed it by now, but yes, adrenaline disrupts your body’s ability to get deep sleep. It will also disrupt non-vital functions of the body such as healthy hair and nail growth. Here’s a crazy tip for you to try if you wake up between 3-5am and can’t get back to sleep or if you wake in the morning feeling anxious or depressed for no real reason. Eat a small cooked potato before bed. Yep. It works. If you want to read more about the how and why it’s all explained in “Potatoes Not Prozac.”
Herbal Support Options
There are a few herbs that I use regularly with patients that I find to be very effective at helping with mood and stress. Here are my favorites in addition to Omegas and USANA Cellsentials.
- TriGandha – 650mg of a blend of three unique and well-researched forms of ashwagandha. You only need to take one capsule per day. This is the ideal formula for those of you who have chronic perceived stress and could also use mood and cognitive support. Its effects are subtle and yet powerful at the same time. You’ll notice a change in how you handle stress in about two to three weeks. Also, for those of you wanting to lose weight, this formula can also help decrease cravings. The info sheet for this product is very informative. Please email me if you would like it!
- Mood-Stasis – It’s a blend of vitamins and botanicals to support a calm and positive mental outlook. Mood Stasis includes a patented saffron extract. Dr. Daniel Amen is a BIG fan of saffron for mood and cognitive health. And as you may know, he has looked at thousands of brain SPECT images! Sceletium extract is also included in this formula. It works similar to a SSRI, without the side effects. I used to work with a psychiatrist in the Bay area who recommended Mood Stasis for patients that were good candidates for a SSRI but who could not handle the side effects of a SSRI. It takes about two weeks to take effect.
- NeuroCalm – Formulated to promote GABA and serotonin metabolism and support a calm and relaxed mood. This formula, like the other formulas featured here, can be taken during the day, which is a plus!
- Fx Chocolate Focus – Therapeutic dose of ashwagandha (Noogandha extract) delivered in chocolate made by an award-winning chocolatier. This specific ashwagandha extract is used primarily for focus…as the name implies! Great feedback especially from teens and younger adults for focus. An alternative for some of the focus drugs out there?
The Action Plan
Here is your action plan to reduce stress and support your body
1. Eat healthy whole food meals and more fat at lunch.
2. Take omegas to reduce inflammation.
3. Take USANA’s high-quality nutritional supplements.
4. Spend more time in the safe zone with breathing, yoga, meditation, chi gong, etc.
5. Start your day with warm lemon water to assist the body’s elimination process.
6. Focus on gratitude and kindness. You can’t feel gratitude and stress at the same time.
Life happens for you, rather than to you. I love the analogy that life is like a dance. The point of dancing is not to end up at a certain place on the floor when the music stops. The point is to dance and enjoy the movement and music.
If you have any questions, or need help, I’m here to support you.
Have a great week. Donna