The key to managing your stress is to establish which of these tools work best for us. The only way you are going to find out is by trying them!
Balance your blood sugar levels
Blood sugar balancing is the No.1 thing you need to focus on to support your body to deal with stress. A blood sugar rollercoaster will add significant stress to your body and cause havoc with your thyroid hormones. When the body is under stress, the adrenal glands will trigger a release of glucose from the cells. This results in high glucose levels in the bloodstream and lower levels of thyroid hormone conversion.
I have created a free guide to talks you through the best ways to balance your blood sugar. You can also read the full post here.
Here are a few tips:
- Increase protein
- Manage your carb intake – this doesn’t mean you have to stop eating carbs! (your thyroid needs them)
- Eat regular meals
- Limit sugar and refined foods
- Move/exercise regularly
Your thoughts have just as big an impact on your physiology (if not more) as your actions. Keeping yourself locked in a state of stress through your thoughts, will trigger a cascade of physiological responses that will keep you locked in fight or flight.
During times of stress, it can be incredibly helpful to reflect on your thoughts. In many cases it can really help to challenge your thoughts as very often they are false and unfounded. When you find yourself completely stuck, you can use things like breathing and meditation to help ground yourself
Eliminate Food Sensitivities
Food sensitivities can cause chronic inflammation, putting large amounts of stress on the body. I recommend following a six week elimination diet, or working alongside your healthcare professional to support you with this. We eat on average 3-5 times a day. If you are constantly exposing your body to something that triggers a stress response, you are adding to your stress load and ultimately impacting thyroid function, hormones, gut health and immune function and more.
I have seen phenomenal results using the elimination diet with my clients and find it to be incredibly effective. In some instances, especially in cases of Hashimoto’s you may need to go further and invest in a good quality food intolerance test. This is something I encourage all of my Hashimoto’s clients to do, but please note that food intolerance test are NOT created equal. This is one thing you have to get right!
Exercise / movement
Almost any type of exercise can improve your fitness levels while lowering your levels of stress. The first place to start is to choose something you enjoy doing! Secondly, it helps to be really honest with yourself whether your body feels better a couple of hours after this type of exercise or worse. Does it impact your sleep in a positive or negative way?
Whilst yoga, pilates and strength training can really benefit the thyroid, high intensity workouts can put too much stress on the thyroid and for some women, this can result in lower thyroid function and worsened Hashimoto’s. I personally know just how frustrating this can be as I absolutely LOVE HIIT workouts and pushing my body physically. In this post looking at the impact of stress on the thyroid, I explain why too much stress on the body, especially when your body is already struggling, may not be such a good idea for your thyroid.
My go-to exercise is yoga, pilates and strength training.
A buildup of toxins in the body can not only stop the formation of haemoglobin in your blood, thus accelerating the aging process, but it can also reduce your resistance to oxidative stress, raising your risk of developing diseases such as cancer. Reduce your toxic load by:
- Limiting alcohol
- Getting quality sleep
- Drinking more water
- Reducing your intake of processed foods
- Cleaning up your cosmetics (I like to use the app ‘ThinkDirty’ for this)
- Taking a close look at your cleaning products
- Ditching the plastic containers and water bottles
- Considering what type of candles you are burning
- Paying close attention to your home and whether you are living with mould.
Just 10 minutes of meditation can help you achieve a deep state of relaxation, and reduced stress levels. Try to concentrate your attention on your breath to clear your mind during practice.
Therefore, this experiment was designed to investigate the ability of mindfulness training to buffer the effects of psychological stress and dermal neurogenic inflammation in healthy individuals. It is important to note this experiment was not designed to test the impact of an acute laboratory stressor on the inflammatory response or vice versa.
The results of the present study showed that changes specific to mindfulness practice may reduce the development of cutaneous neurogenic inflammation and promote a more salubrious pattern of HPA-axis function, after
In an 8-week study, a meditation style called “mindfulness meditation” reduced the inflammation response caused by stress (2).
Furthermore, research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, and fibromyalgia (3, 4Trusted Source, 5Trusted Source).
Deep and Slow Breathing
Deep and slow breathing has been shown to increase:
- Parasympathetic activity by increasing heart rate variability
- Central Nervous System activity by increasing EEG alpha power and decreasing EEG theta power
There are many other benefits of breathing and many different methods of breathing that all show benefits in supporting the body to deal with stress. If you want to understand more about breath-work, then I highly recommend that you read or listen to The Breathing Cure by Patrick McKeown.
There are so many different ways in which you can help your body to mitigate stress. Find what works for you, but make sure that you create the time and space in your day to prioritise this. Very often we want to take a pill to fix it all, but sadly in 90% of cases this alone doesn’t work!
If you need guidance on what steps to take next with your health and you are ready to feel like the best version of yourself, then book in for a free breakthrough session with me. My schedule is busy, so if you can’t find a suitable time you can always send me an email with dates that work for you.