Dr. Doni, author of The Stress Remedy, reveals the most common stresses that have a negative impact on our health.
Stress has existed as long as life has, but the stresses we experience in 2014 are very different than what our ancestors experienced. Being aware of what stresses you increases the likelihood you’ll be able to master those stresses and optimize your health.
Here are the top 10 stress triggers:
1. Sugar and excess carbohydrates, including bread, pasta, cookies, and candy.
These spike your blood sugar levels, challenge insulin function, and ultimately lead to weight gain and inflammation. Each time you ingest sugar and/or excess carbohydrates, you are adding stress to your metabolism.
2. Gluten, including anything made from wheat, barley, spelt or rye.
Gluten is not easily digested by humans and is known to cause leaky gut and inflammation in at least one out of four people. Even if you are not one of those people, gluten is still likely to stress your whole system as it is a known irritant to the nervous system, skin, thyroid, joints, and more. Read more about gluten here.
Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – such as pesticides and industrial byproducts – are known to cause oxidative stress (damage to your cells and aging), as well as hormone dysregulation. What this means is that your hormones (thyroid, estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and others) are thrown off track—potentially resulting in fatigue, mood changes, hair loss, weight gain, and decreased fertility.
4. Genetically modified foods.
GMOs trigger damage to the digestive tract, immune system, and DNA, creating stress on the human body. The most common genetically modified foods are corn, soy, alfalfa, squash (zucchini and yellow), canola, beets, and papaya. When purchasing these foods (or foods with these as ingredients), look for packaging that says “non-GMO.”
5. Airplane travel.
Fear of flying is stressful, but it is minor compared to all of the other stresses that air travel puts on the body. Exposure to radiation (although considered minute), cramped spaces, and potential infections (from other passengers on the plane), and the stress of changing time zones (forcing your circadian hormone levels to adjust) can all add up to quite a stress, especially for frequent fliers. For my travel tips, click here.
6. Skipping meals.
Busy schedules that lead us to rush from one task to the next (or to perform multiple tasks at once) make it exceedingly difficult for us to feed ourselves on any sort of regular schedule which is what our bodies need. Comments on my Facebook page expressed that “work” was one of the main reasons for skipping meals. And yet each time a meal is skipped, your stress goes up, leading to increasing insulin levels, cortisol levels, and potentially weight gain and insomnia.
7. Disrupted sleep.
Whether you are waking due to a baby, a puppy, a work project, or peri-menopausal sweats, disrupted sleep decreases your body’s ability to rest and restore. Even one night of missed sleep starts a vicious cycle of unwellness that makes infections, irritability, fatigue, and pain more likely. In fact, it is known that disrupted sleep increases rates of cancer and heart disease.
8. Overuse of antibiotics, antacids, and anti-inflammatories.
It is all too common—and research journals consistently report—that overuse of antibiotics leads to more trouble than they are worth. Antibiotics destroy healthy bacteria, which we now know to be essential for health, and they lead to leaky gut, as do antacids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Use them only when they are necessary, but when you can fight an infection and resolve reflux and pain by getting to the root of the issue, you’ll be stopping an extremely vicious cycle of stress.
9. Too much to do, too little time.
Any of you feel that way much of the time? The to-do list seems to grow longer, not shorter, as the expectations to work, care for family, be involved in your community, plus care for yourself, can easily overwhelm both men and women (and children too). Even managing the to-do list can be too much!
10. Overstimulation from communication.
New modes of communication—email, texts, phones, videos, and photos—while wonderful, also result in us seeing more information in a week then our grandparents did in a lifetime. Processing all of the information we see and hear is inherently stressful.
How has your body been impacted by these stresses?
Each of us experiences stress in different ways. Whether you have palpitations, sleepless nights, or heartburn, it is all the result of stress on your body.
- If you haven’t already completed the online stress quiz I designed, that is a good place to start to understand how much your body has been affected by stress - click here.
- To read more about our body’s stress response, including the influence of the stress hormone cortisol, click here.
- And for the most thorough evaluation, The Stress Remedy book includes several questionnaires intended to help you get to know your body related to stress.
Now that you have a sense of where stress is coming from, and how it affects your body, the goal is to minimize it in order to prevent health issues from developing.
After all, we know from research that stress underlies just about every health problem, from acne and autoimmunity, to cancer and heart disease.
One of the best ways to get a quick start on avoiding exposure to these top ten stresses is the Hamptons CleanseTM, which I designed.
It involves avoiding the top four foods that trigger inflammation – gluten, dairy, eggs and soy – as well as sugar and alcohol, while choosing organic foods to eat every 2 to 4 hours, along with the Hamptons CleanseTM protein shake, and a healthy amount of sleep, exercise, and stress remedies for you each day. You can also use the cleanse to establish healthy practices for managing communications, technology, and family routines.
The Hamptons CleanseTM is different because while many cleanses and detox programs feel stressful to complete, the whole goal of the Hamptons CleanseTM is to lower your stress and restore your body to health. It is designed as a three-week program to help you integrate these changes into your routine for life. Read more here.
By becoming aware of the top ten stresses that impact your body each day, you are already more likely to make choices that benefit your wellbeing.
How many of these stressors are you exposed to each day? Please share below.
Wellness wishes to you,
10th April, 2014