I'm getting ready for a local workshop around how stress affects hormone balance, and I wrote this for the venue to promote the event. Thought you guys might like to read it too... :)
Hormones and Stress :: Chaos to Comfort
There are many different kinds of hormones in the body, and all are charged with our mental and physical balance. Ideally these hormones nourish and support body and mind.
Sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone and the like) are probably what you think of when someone says “hormone”. But truly all of the hormones are connected in many ways, which is part of the reason that it seems that everyone has their own constellation of symptoms around hormone imbalance.
How do I know if I have a sex-hormone imbalance?
Common symptoms of imbalance in the sex hormones for women are: excessive bleeding, short cycles, bloating, cramping, hot flashes/night sweats, exhaustion, irritability, and anxiety.
There are less common symptoms like erratic cycles, insomnia, and migraines. Each woman seems to have her own set of symptoms, but despite the differences, there is a predictable set of experiences she is likely to have. And, that set of symptoms can tell her where the imbalances lie in the intricate web of hormones… if she knows what to look for.
What is going on to create these symptoms?
It might be more accurate to think of “hormone balance” as a harmony. There is not a constant level that is “right”… our hormones, particularly in women, are known for naturally fluctuating over the month. And the key to feeling good is that the hormones work together synergistically. When they are not in harmony they can cause chaos and discomfort in many different ways.
There are several things to consider about hormone harmony. It’s not just about getting the estrogen and progesterone into synchronicity with one another (although that’s part of it). It’s also about balancing the sex hormones that nourish and restore us, with the stress hormones that energize and focus us. Further, it’s about the whole body, the synergy of all of the hormones.
Unaddressed sex hormone imbalances often start to affect other organs and systems that are doing their own balancing act around blood sugar (insulin), metabolism (thyroid), and digestion.
The connections between all of the hormones can make imbalance feel like body breakdown, a “train wreck”, or like everything about you including your sense of yourself is falling apart. But you are not falling apart, and it can be corrected.
So what do I do to step into hormone harmony?
There’s the obvious: eat healthy whole foods, exercise, get enough sleep. But I suspect you know that.
The less obvious: Know how your sex hormones are changing, how stress affects them, and be honest with yourself about what you need to keep balance in your body and your life.
When we are young women we have abundant yin energy and abundant sex hormones. We are resilient to the stress hormones because we have a lot of nourishing energy. As we age, and our sex hormones decline overall, we become less resilient to the stress hormones, and therefore to the effects of stress. This often becomes noticeable in our late 30’s and early 40’s.
This is the body telling us that, as we age, our resilience needs to come from our wisdom rather than our sex hormones. We need to listen to our bodies, to notice our symptoms, and to be able to categorize them in such a way that we can clearly see our path to greater balance.
It’s time to listen to your body. Deeply. Whole-heartedly.
I call this listening to our Whole Body Wisdom. It’s time to hear the quiet voice of the body and we follow the path of the symptoms, and to take action to restore harmony.
I would like to invite you to the Hormones and Stress :: Chaos to Comfort workshop on Sunday, September 25th.
We will begin to hear and understand what the body is telling you about what in needs and wants in order to move toward hormone harmony. We will organize the symptoms you are experiencing and determine where you can most effectively begin to bring your body back toward balance. You will leave knowing the single most important action that you can take right away to begin to feel better. You’ll also leave with a way of thinking about your hormones that you can continue to use to determine each next step as you go through this journey to hormone harmony.
I'm an explorer of inner realms, a pattern observer, and an invitation maker. I believe that healing the world starts within.
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