Anxiety, insomnia, and emotional instability have become top health concerns for everyone against the back-drop of vast forest fires, hurricanes, vitriolic politics, and social issues promoting call-outs & shout-downs.
What can we do?
To become part of the problem by virtue of angry outbursts, blaming others, and social media ranting is not a good option.
We need to focus on being solution oriented as calmly as possible.
We need to be respectful of differing points of view and willing to listen even if we do not agree.
This is not only the basis of a functioning democracy, but it is also the key to a healthy mind and body.
Disrespectful disruption, which is very popular these days, only adds to the stress and instability of our brains, our lives, and our social structure making everything worse for everyone.
Change is inevitable.
Things ALWAYS change.
Our culture has changed faster than any culture in history.
Change is the only true constant in life.
The only certainty is death.
We have a choice.
Be part of constructive change with rational, meaningful, respectful actions, or contribute to the negative change that disrespectful disruption brings.
I vote for respectful, constructive action.
It’s not a new word or concept.
You must give it, to get it.
My professional focus is encouraging and teaching people to respect their bodies, starting with learning how the human body works; stress response, liver function, digestion, energy pathways, the hormone grid, etc.
Lifestyle choices are critical and cannot go unaddressed. We live in a toxic and highly stressful environment.
Teaching some basics about recognizing stressors and how to avoid them is part of helping people get healthier.
I am also a “nutritionist”, which means I educate about food and how to nurture and nourish the human body:
What foods support the immune system.
Which foods are natural liver cleansers.
How food turns into energy in the body.
What foods are carbs, proteins, and fats.
What foods provide good soluble and insoluble fiber.
How to maintain good mineral levels.
What foods support the brain.
How foods interface with your hormone system.
What foods will elevate blood sugar and cholesterol.
There’s a lot to know!
We all tend to take our bodily functions for granted;
breathing, heart-beat, digestion, sleep,..
Until they malfunction!
Then, we start to pay attention.
Anxiety and sleep problems are among the most common problems people have.
Let’s explore the stress response for a minute.
Let’s say you lose your wallet with all your credit cards, ID, check-book, and all your cash. You are alone in a strange city with nothing; no money, no way to get any, nowhere to stay, and nothing to eat, and no way to prove who you are!
Are you stressed? Yes, you are!
This actually happened to me when I moved to San Diego in 1985. I arrived there with a U-Haul truck loaded with all my possessions and no purse. I had forgotten it at a rest stop. The friend I was planning to stay with got the dates wrong and was out of town. Long story short, I slept in the back of the U-Haul amidst all my stuff that night and crawled out of the roll-up back like a squinty, little rat the next morning only to discover that the truck was parked smack dab in front of a big, fancy church and was surrounded by very disapproving parishioners in their Sunday finest. It still amazes me that not a single one of them offered me any help at all. What if I was Jesus in disguise? I was raised in a Mennonite home and taught to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. That experience didn’t do much for my faith in humanity. However, when a total stranger who found my purse and mailed it, money and all, back to my parents address two weeks later, my faith was restored!
Now, back to the stress response…
Your cognitive brain identifies the situation as a problem and communicates this to your hypothalamus gland in your brain, which kicks out a nifty hormone that triggers adrenaline release from your adrenals instantaneously. Now your senses are on hyper-alert! The hypothalamus also signals your pituitary gland, which secretes another hormone, ACTH, that further triggers the adrenal glands to secrete adrenaline and cortisol. Now you are really alert and on edge. Additionally, your bloodstream is flooded with sugar from the liver so you can “fight or fly” as indicated.
Hopefully, your situation resolves relatively quickly, but if not, or if stressful situations keep happening, this hormone cascade from your brain (HP axis) to your adrenals (HPA axis) continues to fire off.
Over time, the effects of cortisol catch up to you. While initially, cortisol is an anti-inflammatory, its effects reverse with time, causing tissue break-down, inflammation, infection, and disease. Cortisol also eventually causes weight gain, high blood sugar, high blood pressure, hypoglycemia, and adrenal fatigue. Bad stuff.
As the adrenaline and cortisol continue to flow, your brain becomes inflamed. You might experience brain fog, memory problems, anxiety/depression, and sleep dysfunction. You might also develop digestive troubles, joint pain, headaches, and frequent illnesses.
So, what is the answer to this ever so common dilemma? You can take control of what you can control to reduce the flow of adrenaline and cortisol in your body. Here are a few basic things to start with:
MANAGE YOUR ELECTRONICS
Turn OFF the notifications on your cell-phone.
Every single time one of those little sounds goes off you get a shot of adrenaline/cortisol.
The tech companies hired neurophysiologists to figure this out.
Honestly, life will not end if you turn off the notifications and just check your phone when you think about it.
Minimize all screen time.
The less the better for your brain.
Our personal problems and concerns are a multitude,..
only now everyone’s problems and concerns are potentially ours as well via the internet.
It is just too much for most human brains and hearts to bear.
Hence the ramped up anxiety, insomnia, and all the physical and mental ills that follow.
Minimize/eliminate screen exposure after sunset:
We are diurnal mammals. Our bodies are designed to wake up with the sun and settle down to sleep when it sets. The more you can flow with this natural rhythm, the happier your brain and body will be.
Read books, listen to music, talk, do a puzzle, play a board game, go to bed early.
Screens (phones, computers, TV’s) stimulate the brain.
Never watch TV news (I’m serious, this is a big deal!)
Read newspapers, magazines, and books. Listen to the radio. But don’t let all that over-dramatized footage flood your brain with fight or flight messaging through your eyes and ears at the same time.
It triggers adrenaline and cortisol! It’s designed to.
Just listen to the pitch of many newscasters voices.
They are aggressive, shrill, and argumentative.
Just like the notification sounds on your phone, these “pitches” of sound are designed to trigger a hormonal response from you.
Do you think there is an opportunity for manipulation here?
I’m not advocating being uninformed about world events, but
TV coverage is shallow and sensationalist.
You will be better informed and less agitated if you
read and listen to better sources of information.
Choose to listen to people who sound smart, informed, and level-headed, not angry and reactive.
-Switch your light bulbs and shades to yellow/red tones.
Blue/bright white light agitates the brain. Go with soft white, yellow, or pink bulbs and shades.
We react. All species do: Horses, dogs, cats, tigers, bears, toads…
Unfortunately, we have created too much to react to!
We live in an increasingly toxic world; air pollution, food additives, agricultural sprays, heavy metals, nasty chemicals in cosmetics, compromised water, medications, and hormone pollution
Hormones govern our emotions. You might think otherwise, but I beg to differ. In general, our population is over “hormone-ized”.
Plastics give off synthetic estrogens: Plastic bags, water bottles, furniture, mattresses,… think about it.
Additionally, many pesticides work by virtue of being “hormone disruptors”. These pesticides run off the fields and into the groundwater which we drink and bathe in.
Everyone who is taking a birth control pill or hormone replacement therapy poops, pees, and flushes.
Those hormones end up in the groundwater, too!
Hormones make us emotional. Sometimes overly so.
Consider the effects on the function
of an entire population that is
The big “T”, testosterone, is really popular these days.
It’s being handed out like candy.
It increases aggressive tendencies.
It goes into the groundwater, too.
The sewage treatment plants do not manage hormones.
In addition to hormones, there are countless other toxins in our environment including
heavy metals and thousands of nasty chemicals.
Sorry about all the bad news.
In spite of it all, life is still beautiful, don’t you think?
Still worth living?
I think so.
Seeing people’s lives turn around and get perky again is what I live for.
I listen closely to my patient’s health stories.
I utilize food-plans and detox protocols, as well as organ & metabolic support using herbals & whole food supplements
to calm the brain, improve sleep, lower inflammation, increase energy, improve digestion, and stabilize metabolism.
I call my methodology “Metabolic Rescue”.
People start aligning with their stars again.
They start digesting their food quietly and efficiently
instead of blowing up like a balloon.
They start sleeping better.
Their aches and pains calm down.
Their anxiety decreases.
They stop melting down.
Everything gets better, including the ability to manage stress.
I’m here to help.
Dr. Deborah Penner
360 E 1st St. Chico, CA 95928