Last week’s blog referred to willpower NOT being an issue regarding health and weight gain, phew.
However, I believe STRESS is. Why did disease and weight gain increase since the 80’s?
My grandma lived until 96 in good health and on minimal medications. But her life came with its own struggles. Living on the farm making her meals from scratch, and being self-sufficient and resourceful. Now, the world as we knew it changed dramatically. We became more sedentary, more industrialized, consumerism dominant, and giant increase in medications, and chemicals in foods and soil thus shifting our microbiome, and brain chemistry, and a whole new type of stress was introduced.
The disconnect from nature, our food resources, using heaps of technology, community-based living and much more caused us to create a new normal.
Anxious feelings affect several chemicals in the brain, including the stress hormone cortisol and the happy hormone dopamine.
“These chemicals are related to mood and can cause a person to feel happy, which explains why they might seek out stressful situations,“ he explains. “They may enjoy the feelings brought on by surges of dopamine and cortisol in the brain. This causes them to repeat the behaviors over and over again.“
A stress addiction could also stem from growing up in a household where stress levels were high at all times. As an adult, stress could be a “comfortable“ natural state for you to exist within, even if it’s uncomfortable.–Dr. McGrath-PsychCentral
Ultimately, cortisol can become addictive, as high cortisol establishes a new set point in your body, around which you organize the rest of your life. Two studies published in the January 2013 issue of Science illustrate elevated cortisol levels as a potential trigger for mental illness and decreased resilience.
The more stress we’re used to growing up, the harder it is to have less stress as adults. It becomes a high that we crave. And when we’re not stressed, we might even get stressed about that!
A few tendencies of cortisol addiction:
- Saying “yes“ when you wish you’d said “no”.
- Lacking self-care and time spent keeping yourself well
- Experiencing physical pains (ex. back or neck pain)
- NOT recalling the last time you were NOT stressed out.
When you are stressed, are you a fight, flight, freeze, or fawn-er?
I am a fawn-er. When I am stressed I am not a total deer in the headlights, but want to seek comfort and retract.
How do we cope with our stress response?
Of course, we want to eat well, exercise, and be nice to others, but when we are in a cortisol addiction cycle, looking for a HIGH, it makes it harder to make conscious choices.
Besides the go-to coping mechanisms to reduce stress, the one I recommend MOST is…
*Do a MICRO-change in your normal routine*
When we are in a rut of stress, we dig into a deeper rut.
1. If you start the day hitting the ground running, and it isn’t working for you anymore. Try when you wake up to go wander outside for a few minutes. Instead of grabbing the phone, coffee, or just rushing for no reason.
2. Throughout the day, check your stress level from 1-10. When you get to a 7, it is time to make a micro change. Whether you pour a cup of tea, stare at the birds, or pet your pooch, just shift. This will help your next action steps not feel so clumsy and cumbersome.
I created Nourish YOUniversity to help us do just this.
Reveal, Unravel and take those SIMPLE baby steps every day vs. living a life filled with stress and cortisol.
I will be hosting two LIVE webinars in January of 2023 to support you in NOT signing up for another extreme, radical program, that may leave you feeling depleted and frustrated.
Register today so you can feel supported to enjoy and be present for your holidays!
I will send out the webinar details the first week of January!
And if want more details about Nourish YOUniversity before the end of the year, please set up a time for us to chat!
Have a joyous holiday season,
with abundant nourishment,
Heather Fleming, C.C.N. Conscious. Compassion. Nutrition.