Feeling Stressed?

By on August 1, 2014

By Sandra Zwollo –

Of course we are! Stress affects our whole person: body, mind and behavior.

Our adrenal glands are each no bigger than a walnut and weigh less than a grape, yet they are responsible for some important functions in our body, namely producing three stress hormones: Adrenaline, Norepinephrine and Cortisol. When our adrenal glands are overtaxed, a condition known as adrenal fatigue sets in, resulting in feeling chronically tired.

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There are four main reasons for adrenal fatigue:

1. Emotional stress, which is related to grief or loss.

2. Poor diet. Cortisol regulates secretions in our gut. When we are stressed, good bacteria give way to bad bacteria causing an immune deregulation in our gut. Processed foods, white flour, carbohydrates, sugar and sodas all indirectly destroy our adrenal glands. Eating fermented foods helps restore the balance in our gut.

3. Inflammation is the hallmark of virtually every disease we can think of. When chronic, it stresses our adrenals. One combat strategy is grounding or ‘earthing’, which requires taking off our shoes and walking barefoot outside. Connecting our naked soles to the earth will increase the influx of free electrons into our body, dissipating inflammation.

4. Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. Most everybody with high cortisol levels has low thyroid hormone levels.

So, how can we combat stress?

It is proven that doing something new and interesting, which absorbs our attention fully, or even surprises us replenishes our energy, even if it takes an effort. The same studies show that it does so even when the interesting task requires a lot of effort.

If we feel stressed, we probably try to cope too much with things we have no control over, and we should let them go. Talking things over with someone who is willing to listen can often help to de-clutter the mind and clarify our perspective of whatever stresses us out.

  • Stop procrastinating by creating an active ‘do it now’ mentality and say ‘no’ more often. Learning how to be more assertive will enable you to say what you believe and be more honest with yourself. We don’t need to be perfect.
  • Step back from the situation. Walk around the block, sit in silence for ten minutes, meditate.
  • Focus on one single project and follow it through to the end. This involves planning, delegating, setting an agenda, and not wasting any time doing the unnecessary things we tend to use as an excuse to avoid tackling the real issues.
  • Start the day with confidence, gratitude and optimism. Wake up and take a minute to think of all the people you love instead of immediately focusing on everything that is wrong. If you expect things to go right, people to be nice and situations to have positive outcomes, that’s what will happen!
  • Prepare properly for the coming day so you’re not rushed in the morning and you don’t have to rely on your memory. Memory is the first thing to go when you’re stressed.
  • Be on time. Plan less, but follow through.
  • Allow yourself some personal time, everyday, and start exercising. Feeling healthy generate higher levels of self-esteem and self-image as well as improve your mind, mood and efficiency.
  • Breathe. Oxygen re-energizes your body as well as releasing hormones that affect your mood positively.
  • Eat healthy meals.
  • Have a good soak to relieve the tension in your body. It’s tempting to stay in front of the television in order to ‘relax’, but having a cup of chamomile tea and going to bed early with an interesting book will be much more efficient in getting to sleep. Make sure your bedroom is completely dark because only then is our brain able to manufacture Serotonin and Melatonin, two hormones needed to regulate our sleep.
  • Laughter and sex are the biggest anti-dotes to stress. It’s hard to be stressed when you’re having fun.
  • Take time for a massage, a pedicure, or an hour of soft yoga regularly.
  • Eat lots of Basil. Basil helps to normalize our levels of cortisone, lowers blood sugar, and brings adrenal glands back in balance.

About Sandra Zwollo

Sandra Zwollo, a Dutch citizen, has been living in Morocco for seventeen years and runs luxurious retreats called Harem, exclusively for women. Guests are invited to escape into an oriental paradise, encouraged to leave behind the stresses of the world and let themselves be pampered with massages, facials, footbaths, hammams, body masks, yoga, meditation and deliciously healthy meals. At Harem there are no obligations, no restrictions, no demands, no complexes, and most importantly, no guilt…since eighty percent of our profits go to a local charity. www.harem-escape.com.

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Feeling Stressed?