Stress and chronic illness
Chronic illness is a bitch. I know this first hand. As someone who has had anxiety and depression on and off for most of my adult life and Fibromyalgia for at least the last five, I know what it’s like to have chronic illness and chronic pain creep into your life, permeate your existence and literally change everything from the shoes you wear to how often you see other humans. But there are things you can do that will really make a difference...
Doctors, medications, natural medicine, diet, nutrition, psychologists, exercise all play a part in helping you to regain some sense of normalcy. Now that (for the most part) my conditions are manageable and I have 90% of my life back I spend a lot of my time talking to people who are still struggling and still fumbling around in the dark looking for answers as to why they feel so sick and tired all the time and what they can actually do that will make a difference.
A lot of the time my advice is to drop gluten, dairy and refined sugar out of the diet. It’s the quickest, most effective way to bring down inflammation in the body (which can be a major player in chronic illness even anxiety and depression). In a lot of cases we aren’t giving our body a chance to heal itself. But that’s where stress comes into it. I did a Facebook Live video the other day on my facebook page about it - but the main premise is this: In order to heal, we must be able to rest.
We are constantly bombarded with stuff that stresses us out. Even little stressors, when they add up, mean that our brains are constantly firing out doses of cortisol and adrenalin. We spend so much of our time stuck in ‘fight or flight’ which is NOT designed to help us if we’re in it all the time. Back in the day that process would help us to fight of a bear and save our tribe. Or allow us to scale a tree to get away from another life-threatening attack from a lion or tiger. Fight or flight is our natural human instinct to preserve our life and ensure our survival. The only problem with it is, is that when you’re in it, you can’t digest your food properly, you’re body is creating inflammatory responses (just in case so you don’t bleed to death), and those stress chemicals pumping through the veins are not meant for regular every-day use!
We need to be able to ‘rest and digest’ so that a) we can literally digest our food and get the nutrients we need b)we can flush out the toxins in our body and c)our body can have a chance to repair and heal damage.
Now this is not just for when we sleep. We are actually supposed to be in that state WAAYYYYYYY more than we are fight or flight. It’s just that these days we are stressing as soon as we open our eyes “I wonder if he commented on my photo?” “Ewwww, why is she doing that?! What the hell!?” Ok, maybe thats just those of you who open up facebook before they’ve even got out of bed. My point is, we have more going on now than we ever had before - at least in our HEADS.
Our amygdala (which is responsible for the fight or flight response) can’t tell the difference between a real threat or an imagined one. So even those thoughts that we are having about things that haven’t even happened yet are causing this stress response.
Long story short: if you want to impact your chronic illness and health then you NEED to learn how to stress less.
So I’ve designed something for you. It’s called STRESS LESS: How to reduce your stress levels and increase your inner peace. It’s an audio training and it’s available now on iTunes but if you want to get your copy completely FREE then sign up HERE. A link will be sent to your inbox once you’ve confirmed your subscription.
I’m going to keep creating content that serves. I know what it’s like to have chronic illness rip your life apart. I know a LOT of the things that you can do to really make a difference and this is just one of them. But it’s an important part and a great place to start.
Ciao for now…