The way in which we have seen stress as a trigger for our clients since COVID hit is intense. How stress manifests in a body is quite individual, though understanding in what order stress hits our body as a whole is important in managing our overall health.
We see stress hit the cardiovascular system first. It’s easy to see if someone has had a recent stressful situation because of how they will test during their visit. For example, if they’ve just experienced a break up, it shows up in how their cardiovascular system tests. Once that system is in dysfunction, the stress will then hit the endocrine system with both hormone and blood sugar imbalance. Finally, the client will experience indigestion in some capacity as the digestive system will shut down.
Our society is experiencing one thing after another with the pandemic and the politics alongside. Stress is at an all time high for our clients. And it shows.
There is too much coming down on our mental and emotional health, and our society doesn’t have the resources to handle it.
What Triggers Our Stress?
Triggers for mental and emotional health include trauma, stress, and toxicity to name a few. In the pandemic, we see trauma related to family members becoming ill and concern of whether they will be properly handled. The fear alone has people in such a state that they become more susceptible to immune challenges as their system is in a constant state of fight or flight.
There is stress everywhere. Working from home only works for those who enjoy it. Months of distance learning WHILE holding down jobs. The uncertainty of when and if things will “get back to normal.”
Toxicity and immune challenges alone provide an immense amount of stress on the body, for which we experience triggers. We are triggered by food, by walking down the detergent aisle at Target, by pesticides being sprayed, by eating takeout. And sometimes we just experience the effect without being privy to the cause.
Subtle Daily Detox
Conventional medicine fails to address root cause of mental and emotional health and resorts to medication.
For example, I believe the birth control pill played into my depression at age 19. When I was 16 and experiencing both terrible cycles and acne, my pediatrician prescribed the birth control pill. By 19 I had been on it for three years and was then diagnosed with depression. What I wasn’t present to was the impact of being date raped four months prior. I didn’t see the ramifications unfolding and was unfamiliar with the panic attacks I was having. It wasn’t anything I had experienced before. By request of my psychologist, we reached out to the medical provider I had seen most recently, which was my gynecologist, to see what he suggested. Within a two minute conversation he prescribed Prozac without even seeing me, and I spent the next six months on the couch numb like a zombie.
By that point I had personally been on 24+ rounds of antibiotics and three years of contraceptives. My gut was in no way available to support my mental health. Talk therapy didn’t work for me, it only kept my story alive and well. There was no transformation there, no cause for moving my life forward.
I have since come to admire Dr Kelly Brogan, MD, a holistic psychiatrist. She says:
“I practiced in this way for a couple of years, prescribing and strategically augmenting, before understanding that true personalized, lifestyle medicine obviates the need for medication. It gets to the root. I no longer wanted to enhance psychotropics, I wanted to eliminate them.”
Dr. Mark Hyman, MD, functional medicine doctor, suggests the need for a subtle daily detox. It rings true with my training as a Metagenics First Line Therapy Lifestyle Educator and Clinical Master of Advanced Nutrition Response Testing. We need to be managing these five areas of life in order to meet the storm head on. The storm is whatever life stressor comes your way. These five areas include:
- Stress management
And you’re missing the boat and the opportunity to uplevel your health if these five areas are being ignored. In my humble opinion, your mental and emotional health will be affected by the mismanagement and/or abuse of these areas.
Getting to Root Cause
Now more than ever we are inundated with toxicity. If we can’t get to the root cause of your ails, the cycle of insanity continues. The following is highly overused, however so very true. Have you ever heard the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting the same result?
It’s easy to stay in the comfort zone of what you know to do. The first thing we request of clients who walk through our doors is to be willing to set aside what they have learned and know about their health and be open to hearing and learning something new.
Root cause is the toxicity keeping you sick. Since the 1990s, we have been increasingly exposed to glyphosate-based herbicides found in processed foods, on GMO crops like corn and soy, wheat and potatoes. We consume these foods and simultaneously build up our toxic levels. For many, a gluten intolerance will follow the inability to detox these herbicides.
Our personal care products are making us sick. They are known to be full of endocrine disruptors. What disrupts our endocrine system, makes us deficient in minerals, and has a detrimental effect on our microbiome will ultimately affect our mental health.
Food sensitivities and allergies create a host of “mental” symptoms, including depression. Gluten and casein are linked to mood disorders and altered brain function.
Addressing these factors head on has resulted in MANY of our practice members seeing improvements in their mental and emotional health.
Taking on your mental and emotional health may include…
- Establishing a reliable sleep pattern.
- Optimizing your diet with whole real foods (seafood, grass-fed meats, Himalayan sea salt, raw nuts/seeds, bone broth)
- Reduce inflammation by eliminating sugar.
- Find the bugs (these are your immune challenges-they are literally bugs) and get rid of them.
- Improve your digestion.
- Clean up the metal, chemical, and environmental toxicity in your body and environment
- Regulate the nervous system by calming your mind and body
- Exercise regularly
- Use supplementation (we can no longer get what we need solely from our food). Start with a vitamin D3 (2,000 IU/day) and therapeutic dose of omega-3s and grass-fed organ based supplementation (Standard Process). Collagen is an easy and clean protein to plug in here as well.
- Working with a practitioner who can serve as your guide to giving your individual body what it needs to function optimally.
- Read. Educate yourself. These are a good place to start:
- A Mind of Your Own and Own Thy Self by Dr. Kelly Brogan
- Food Fix and Broken Brain by Dr. Mark Hyman
- Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis
- You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay
- Additional mindfulness resources include: