Got stress? Sure, you do!
As a human being, making it work in these wild times, you’re bound to find yourself facing overwhelming, irritating, time-consuming, or intense circumstances. We’ve got no shortage of stress triggers like busy schedules, tricky relationships, big responsibilities, global & political strife, complicated families, tight finances, a pandemic…need I go on?
But just because we all encounter stressful situations doesn’t mean we all experience the same effects of stress. I’ve been helping stressed-out humans get to the root of their health concerns for over a decade, and I’ve seen everything from panic attacks to hives to Type 2 Diabetes as a result of chronic stress.
In this short series, in celebration of Holland PRIDE month, I’d like to show you how to recognize the downstream effects of chronic stress, help you understand why chronic stress impacts your whole person (body, mind, and emotions), and discover integrative, evidence-based strategies to stay healthy despite the chronic stress in your life.
You in? Great.
But first; why is it important to recognize ALL of the potential effects of chronic stress, even the sneaky ones? Because we’ve been conditioned to believe that stress is just “in our heads,” even though stress is a very real, very physical cascade of biochemical events that happens in our bodies, not just in our minds. Yes, stress greatly impacts our mental and emotional health. But if we stop the conversation there, we’re ignoring some super important risk factors for chronic disease outside of the mind.
Let’s start by talking about some emotional consequences of stress, because we typically think of these effects first. How about anxiety and depression? Folks with chronic stress often experience the sadness, fear, apathy, or emotional numbness associated with these conditions. But anger, irritability, mood swings, disgust, and even emotional pain can also be effects of chronic stress.
What about the mental health impacts of stress? You might think of anxiety or worry again, but we also see issues like brain fog, trouble with word-finding, racing or scattered thoughts, loss of attention, slowed or impaired learning, and even loss of confidence and self-worth in folks with chronic stress.
But the really confusing, frustrating, and often misdiagnosed effects of stress are typically in the physical category. Yes, you probably know that panic attacks can result from stress and trauma. But so can hypertension, hives, weight gain, migraines, vertigo, autoimmunity, irritable bowel disease, hair loss, unstable blood sugar, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, hot flashes, and even acne!
You might be thinking, “Ok, Dr. Kate, I get it. I need to reduce my stress! But how?”
Surprise! You don’t have to reduce, avoid, or even manage your stress in order to live a healthy, happy, full life. What you DO need to do is learn how to stress BETTER – to train your mind and body to respond to stress appropriately, and to create stress resilience.
I’ll explain exactly what I mean in part two of our mini-series about stress – The Myth of Stress Reduction.
Until then, if you’d like some quick ideas and resources, sign up for your free Stress Better Starter Kit by clicking the link below.
Dr. Kate Lyzenga-Dean is a Functional Medicine Healthcare Provider, Speaker, Writer and Consultant with a decade of experience in private practice. She offers a new perspective on stress-related conditions and, utilizing evidence-based, integrative, and CAM therapies, helps clients find root-cause solutions that actually work. An engaging and insightful educator, Dr. Kate aims to help her audience understand “The Why” behind any health challenge, resulting in a wider variety of treatment options, better compliance, and lasting results.