Chronic stress, the silent killer

Chronic stress is a silent killer.  It causes adrenal fatigue.  Adrenal fatigue creates a constant elevation of cortisol levels.  As your cortisol levels remain high (an unnatural state for your body), eventually your body is unable to regulate them all.  This compromises your immune system and triggers chronic inflammation, which leads to disease and the gradual inability to produce these essential hormones at all.  Every living being on earth deals with stress day after day.  The effects of chronic stress put our bodies in danger.  Fortunately, adrenal fatigue is reversible with changes in diet, exercise, and mind-body therapy such as yoga or meditation.  People with adrenal fatigue tend to be vitamin deficient so adding living food (not processed) to our diet can improve vitamin levels quickly.*

I’ve recently begun a major shift in my life.  This decision has been a long time coming.  At 69 I’m living proof that it’s never too late to make a change in your health.  Habits are difficult to break but it only takes 28 days to reverse a bad habit and replace it with a good one.  I admit it; I had a boatload of bad habits.  I was an emotional eater; I ate when I felt sad or happy!  Didn’t matter to me.  Food made me feel good AT THAT TIME but eating “comfort” food always made me crash.  I fed my emotions for so many years and all it ever got me was fat.  Hey, that’s a good slogan for a t-shirt!

My atrial fibrillation didn’t just appear one day.  The heart is a hard-working organ but it can only take so much before it starts to give you direct evidence that “enough is enough”.  For me it was an accumulation of years of stress, stress that wouldn’t go away.  Each and every day I woke up to it, thought about it, tried to change it, and went to bed thinking about it.  What happened to effect such a reaction?  Well, like so many people, my husband and I were taken in by a con man who happened to be a friend!  Someone we trusted.  Before we knew it we’d taken out a loan, handed it over, and became one of his investors.  Over time reality sank in but it was too late.  He’d disappeared leaving us with a huge debt, and an overwhelming sense of shame.  Shame is a common by-product for those of us who have experienced fraud.  We’re ashamed so we keep it to ourselves.  We don’t tell anyone; we suffer in silence.    Only after I’d begun to share with trusted friends did I find out how common this type of fraud is.

We spent over four years of our life trying to find and prosecute this criminal.  Every single day we sunk deeper in this quicksand.  I had trouble sleeping; I was always fatigued; I ate to feel better; I isolated myself not wanting to be with other people.  I began having pain all over my body.  We were both angry and full of rage and began blaming one another.  Life spiraled out of control.  We finally  consulted a lawyer who told us that even if we found him we would never be able to collect on our judgment due to a “legal technicality”.  Suddenly, the nightmare was over.

I began to slowly crawl back into some sense of normal but the damage had been done.  My heart started giving out signals that it needed attention.  I collapsed one year ago today, ending up in hospital.  I came out in poor shape, very weak and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to bounce back.  I wish someone had given me some guidelines for dealing with this stress but I was too proud to ask, too ashamed to say why.  So, please, if you are under constant stress for whatever reason, confide in someone and try your best to follow these very basic guidelines:  NEVER skip meals; always eat breakfast with a high quality protein; don’t eat fruit for breakfast; have a nutritious snack mid-morning and around 2-3pm; go to bed before 10:30pm; eat a protein snack before bed to help you sleep; add healthy fats to your diet (think avacado/guacamole); add real food to your diet; drink at least 8 glasses of water per day; exercise in a way that works for you; never eat carbs on their own; get 7-8.5 hrs. sleep a night.  You secrete 50% more stress hormones if you sleep less than 6.5 hrs.  As you work through this list and make new habits, I guarantee you you’ll be better able to manage your stress.  Let’s face it, some stress just can’t be avoided but it’s how we handle it that matters.

So,  here we are, full circle, back to that “shift” I told you about.  Curious?  Details in my next posting so don’t miss it!

*Credit to: Holistic Dad and Underground Health Reporter

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Chronic stress, the silent killer

  1. Good word! I’m younger, but trying to live this out, too. Sometimes you get stress from fighting people who don’t want their own lives “upset” bc of your life changes! Oh well! Here’s to healthy living!

    • Thanks for your thoughts Tammy. I’ve pretty much kept my lifestyle changes to myself, for now. I’ll be “coming out” more through this blog so perhaps there could be some backlash but, hey, it’s my life and I want to LIVE it for as long as I can!

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