Stress. We all have it. In our fast-paced world, it surrounds us 24/7. How we internalize and deal with stress either keeps it small and manageable or allows it to become overwhelming, which can lead to anxiety and adrenal fatigue.
During stressful situations, our bodies release cortisol and adrenaline from the adrenal glands to prepare us for a fight-or-flight reaction that our ancestors needed to survive. We become extraordinarily alert, and our heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure, and metabolism all speed up. Our pupils also dilate to sharpen vision. Today, we do not have any saber tooth tigers chasing us, but it can feel like it at times. We still react in the same way.
The good news is that there are many ways to manage stress and keep our adrenal glands healthy.
Here are 10 ways to manage stress and anxiety:
1. The first is easy, and we do it all day without thought: breathing. In stressful situations, we tend to take short, shallow breaths. So breathe deeply, exhale to let go of what is causing the stress, be mindful and feel yourself relax.
2. Eat healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, nuts, good fats and lean meat. Do not skip meals. Your mind needs quality nourishment, as well as your body. Avoid processed and sugar-laden foods. Avoid table sugar and high fructose corn syrup, which are hard on the adrenal glands and have no nutritional value. Highly processed foods are packed with unhealthy fats and too much sugar, so steer clear of those.
When blood sugar gets too low, cortisol is released to maintain blood sugar, which stimulates your appetite and causes cravings. It can also mimic a fight-or-flight reaction in people with weak adrenals. Eat three meals per day with healthy, high-protein snacks in between to maintain a level blood sugar. Chew your food thoroughly, savoring the flavors versus wolfing down your meals.
3. Drink at least two quarts of filtered water daily. Limit caffeine and other stimulants such as sodas and energy drinks. A cup of coffee in the morning to help wake up is okay. However, continuous caffeine intake triggers adrenaline production. This keeps us alert but taxes our adrenal health at the same time. Limit alcohol intake, too. Alcohol is a refined carbohydrate and acts like table sugar producing a release of insulin to decrease excess blood sugar.
4. Exercise regularly. For cardiovascular fitness, it is recommended to get 30-45 minutes at least three days a week. Alternate aerobic exercises with resistance training. A word of caution, if your adrenal glands are weak and you do not tolerate stress well, be gentle with your exercise. Do more stretching exercises like yoga, tai chi or walking.
5. Get enough sleep and rest. Adults need around eight hours of sleep per night to recharge their body. Many insomniacs struggle to fall asleep at night because their cortisol curve is off and they release more cortisol in the evenings. These are the night owls or party people who can keep going when everyone else is ready for bed. It is tough on a night owl to work in the day world because their natural tendency is to sleep in.
6. Do things you enjoy. Cut back on obligations. Simplify your life, clean out closets and get rid of “stuff.” Avoid procrastination. Manage your money to avoid financial worries. Practice being positive and thankful and then stress will have no place to hide. Pray, and let go of stressful thoughts.
7. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts to relax. Epsom salts are made of magnesium, which relaxes your muscles.
8. Practice meditation to help you de-stress and find peace.
9. Try Dr. Hotze’s new calming formula: Tranquil. Tranquil contains Hemp Oil Powder, L-Theanine and Inositol to help you decrease your stress and anxiety.
10. Check your adrenal function. Could you have adrenal fatigue? Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol to meet the demands of your body. Your adrenal glands are tired and worn out, so you feel increasingly fatigued, stressed, and anxious.
A Word About Progesterone Deficiency and Anxiety
While there are many things you can do to curb your anxiety, if your anxiety is caused by a deficiency in progesterone, then you may be fighting a losing battle until you restore your progesterone levels. Progesterone acts as a natural antidepressant, enhances mood and relieves anxiety. It has a calming effect on the brain. It stimulates the brain’s GABA receptors, the feel-good, calming neurotransmitters. So it is easy to understand why anxiety can surface when your progesterone levels are low.
Women notice a positive difference in their health and get anxiety relief when their progesterone levels are restored to normal with bioidentical progesterone. Research shows that progesterone produces a clear dose-dependent anti-anxiety response.(1,2) Metabolites of progesterone may play a physiologic role as anti-anxiety agents, perhaps modifying mood and anxiety, alleviating some PMS symptoms relating to anxiety and irritability.(3)
Dr. Hotze discusses the role of progesterone in alleviating anxiety:
One of the best ways you can support your body during stressful times it to make sure your hormones are at optimal levels. Take our Symptom Checker to find out if you could be suffering from hormone decline and imbalance. Contact us today at 281-698-8698 for a complimentary wellness consultation. It will be our privilege to serve you!
1. Anti-Anxiety Effects of Progesterone and Some of its Reduced Metabolites: An Evaluation Using the Burying Behavior Test
2. Anxiolytic Activity of the Progesterone Metabolite 5 Alpha-Pregnan-3 Alpha-o1-20-one
3. Efficacy of Progesterone Vaginal Suppositories in Alleviation of Nervous Symptoms in Patients with Premenstrual Syndrome