As a result of Covid-19, the presence of stress and high anxiety has unsurprisingly grown dramatically within the UK. In fact, when we entered lockdown on 23rd March 2020, over 25 million people were affected by high levels of anxiety, with concerns about their health, job security and finances the chief causes of concern. This number had more than doubled from that of late 2019.
The link between stress and hormones
You may ask what our rising levels of stress have to do with our hormones? Well, stress involves the two main communication systems in our body; our nervous system and our hormonal system.
What Do Hormones Do?
Hormones are our messengers of communication, that allow us to interact with our environment. Our hormones are responsible for balancing our metabolism and ensuring we have the flexibility to adapt to what goes on around us. When this process works well, our hormones balance each other out to create homeostasis. But when there is imbalance within or around us, our hormonal balance can be upset. It is often not our hormones that are at fault, they are simply responding to to lack of balance elsewhere. There are a number of fundamental hormone communication systems that work in tandem around the body to help keep us healthy. Our hormones are made in our endocrine glands, which collectively form the endocrine system.
The glands of the endocrine system are as follows:
- Pineal Gland
- Pituitary Gland
The HPA Axis
One of the main controlling components of our endocrine communication system is via what is known as the HPA axis (involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenal glands). This plays a central role in our stress response, regulating many of the homeostatic systems in the body, including the metabolic system, cardiovascular system, immune system, reproductive system and central nervous system.
The Problem with Chronic Stress
When we are faced with an immediate threat, our body knows what to do; we have an acute stress response to rise to the threat to ensure our survival, and once the threat passes we ideally return to a balanced state. However, it is with the psychological challenges we face, such as with the uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, that our stress response can be elevated and maintained over a longer period of time. It is with this type of chronic stress imbalance that negative health consequences start to arise.
What are the consequences of chronic stress?
In addition to mental health problems, such as depression and anxiety, chronic stress can also obesity, menstrual problems, ski and hair problems, and a variety of gastrointestinal problems.
10 simple ways to manage chronic stress
There are a number of measures we can introduce to help manage our chronic stress, these can include:
- Developing an Exercise Routine:
Research has shown that if you exercise regularly you are less likely to experience anxiety than those who don’t exercise.
- Using Aromatherapy:
Here are five of the best scents to help improve your mood:
- Monitoring your Caffeine intake:
Studies have shown that high doses of caffeine can contribute to stress and anxiety. Only drink caffeine in the morning to avoid a build up in your body.
- Being Grateful:
Keeping a gratitude journal of the positive things in your life can work wonders with lowering your stress and anxiety.
Even if you don’t feel up to it, spending time with friends and family can help reduce your stress. Join a club or group to socialise with those who have the same interests as you.
- Learning to Say No:
If we feel in control of what we are doing, our anxiety and stress is much lower. Do not underestimate the power of saying no to the things you don’t really want to do.
- Starting to Meditate:
Learning to train your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts can bring many benefits, including lowering your stress and anxiety levels.
- Improving your body awareness: Building awareness of how your body feels can help reduce a busy mind and unwanted thoughts. Join a yoga class or develop a regular stretching routine to improve this.
- Slow Breathing:
Deep breathing can help activate your body’s relaxation response. Start slowly and focus on prolonging your out breath. Aim to get to 4 seconds in and 6 seconds out.
- Listening to Calming Music:
Slow paced, instrumental music can be particularly effective at helping to calm a busy mind. Find a piece you really enjoy, sit back and relax.
Stress Benefits of PEMF Therapy
There is a final piece of the jigsaw to add to the way our bodies communicate. Extensive research has highlighted the ability of our cells to interact with each other remotely without the use of chemicals, often referred to as non-chemical, distant cellular interactions (NCDCI). This type of communication is electromagnetic, and can help account for the sheer speed of our reactions when faced with a sudden threat; which is far quicker than is possible via molecular interaction alone.
The fact that our cells can also communicate via electromagnetic waves, accounts for the many well-being benefits that can result from using low level PEMF therapy. It can also help account for why daily PEMF therapy can form such a powerful well-being solution, when it is combined with the many principles of functional medicine.
Optimising the quality of communication within our body can dramatically improve the way we feel. This can be achieved by optimising the balance of our hormones, supporting our nervous system and adding daily PEMF therapy.