Perhaps it sounds harsh but I think this is the reality today. We complain about our situation without actually trying to improve it– We wish that the day would have more hours, the week would have more days but still we´re not thinking about that the problem may lie in the fact we have an overloaded schedule.
I was one of those people that actually tried to do everything and more as well as that I complained about how exhausted and stressed I was. How could I possible be anything else from exhausted? Was I happy? Probably not. I did not have time to actually feel that much. I got a reality check when I became sick. Through a relatively long period of processing I figured out many things that I needed to change in my life. I needed to reduce my stress levels – period. The stress I felt was connected to achievements and unrealistic expectations I put on myself as well as my inability to deal with my situation connected to the disease. I actively started to work on changing my mindset. The main things were that I started to accept my situation and to feel gratitude for all wonderful things in my life. I also tried to see possibilities instead of limitations. The autoimmunity causes limitations for me physically so I started to think about alternatives. I cycle instead of walking, I´m kayaking instead of running etc. After some time I could feel the difference. I was more balanced. My family also started to notice a difference. I no longer got panic attacks when a new flare appeared and I was more positive in general.
It´s an active choice to actually start to feel better. Reducing stress caused by e.g. a busy lifestyle or a traumatic experience will benefit you, your family and everyone around you.
You may think, “easy for her to say with no kids” … I understand that it´s not easy but I believe we have to do something about our lifestyle before things get out of hand. It can be small things like taking 10-15 minutes to meditate every day and to practice gratitude. I still get stressed from time to time and I notice the difference in my autoimmune symptoms instantly. The difference now is that I know the cause, I know it´s a sign to slow down and I listen. I have a strong and clear communication with my body which I didn’t have before.
I strongly believe many of our diseases could be reduced or even prevented by reducing chronic stress. Whatever causes your stress – start to actively work on reducing it today before you create an imbalance in your body. During stress a part of your brain called hypothalamus send signals to adrenal glands to produce hormones named glucocorticoids that leads to a range of different effects in your body. Glucocorticoids bind to receptors that are present almost everywhere in your body. When some of the glucocorticoids bind to its receptor it will signal to the body that you are in a “fight or flight” situation. Your body rapidly creates a priority list of things that are important during an acute situation. Digestion, immune functions, growth and reproduction etc. are not highly priorities during crises therefore chronic stress can mediate problems in those areas. After some time, the receptors are not responding as well to the glucocorticoids as it should and your body needs to produce more of these hormones which leads to a viscous cycle. Interestingly, the onset of many autoimmune diseases are caused by “unknown factors”. Many researchers believe that stress, both physical and emotional stress are associated with the onset of many of these autoimmune problems.
In my situation, I believe stress (mostly emotional stress caused by a reduction in quality of life as well as overwork) was a big factor in the onset of my autoimmunity. Working on those areas have helped me tremendously. I will never ever go back to the lifestyle I had. It’s not worth it. Chronic stress will eventually make you sick! The sooner we realize that, the better! Hopefully before your body use the emergency break to let you know….
I wish you a happy balanced long and healthy life! Take care.