Waving not Drowning – Negative Emotions, Stress and Weight Gain

A warning to do something to ease your pain and lower the stress in your life, before you get sick.

We have had so much rain lately, I’m sure I saw webbing starting to grow between Felix’s (my Blue Heeler) toes.

The river is running high, and racing by so fast that you can get swept away downstream before you have time to ask yourself ‘What was I thinking, jumping in there?’ and grab hold of a tree to save yourself.

Like fast-moving currents, we get so busy just living life day-to-day that emotions can sometimes catch us by surprise. If we don’t give ourselves time to deal with those emotions, especially the negative and stressful emotions, we may become ill.

From time to time I see patients who have put on weight for no good reason. If someone is doing everything right in the diet and exercise department, yet increasing in girth, one needs to look for less obvious reasons. If checking hormone and thyroid levels provides no culprits, then it could be stress Lightroom . This is a warning to do something to ease your pain and lower the stress in your life, before you get sick.

Stress in the body

When we feel stressed, the adrenal glands release two hormones — adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline, the ‘flight or fight’ hormone, causes the heart to race, skin to sweat, weight to drop and stomachs to knot. However, cortisol, adrenaline’s partner in stress, goes about its work in stealth. Long-term heightened levels of cortisol may increase the risk of osteoporosis, heart disease, depression and weight gain. Long-term stress can come from anywhere: family and relationship difficulties, caring for an aged or ill relative, long work hours, study or financial strain.

What you can do about it

If it is not possible to take action and change the stressful circumstances, you can reduce the effect cortisol has on the body, including weight gain. Herbs that can help include Siberian ginseng, Schisandra, Licorice, Withania and Rhodiolia. Vitamin C is used in large amounts by the adrenal glands during stress, so taking a vitamin C supplement and eating plenty of citrus fruits and green vegetables can help.  Conscious breathing techniques, including diaphragmatic cadence breathing as taught in my classes is one of the most effective stress hormone-reducing activities…and it helps you manage emotional stress and lose those excess kilos.

Emotions that make you sick

Most of us know already that negative emotions can make you ill: we feel ourselves getting run down when we’re riding the current of negative emotions. It stands to reason: the neurotransmitters that fire in the brain also connect with hormones, immune cells and organs, contributing to disease and poor health. The extent of the damage of an emotion or stressful event may take years to develop into a condition like a cancer, or may erupt immediately in an attack of shingles or an outbreak of cold sores. However, the news is not all bad. It works the opposite way, too: positive emotions and uplifting thoughts are able to create good health. So, before the straw breaks the camel’s back, the best course of action is protection.

Emotions are emotions. Guilt, grief, worry, irritability – they exist…like it or not. So, acknowledge you are experiencing the emotion, don’t beat yourself up about it, and try giving play, relaxation and positive emotions more space in your life. Affirmations, herbs and breathing techniques can help too. A visit to your friendly naturopath to look at ways to improve your diet and wellbeing can be a useful step.

An affirmation from the 12 steps that may be useful is the Serenity Prayer.

God (if you prefer ….insert Higher Power or ….) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change

Courage to change the things I can

And wisdom

To know the difference