In his first inaugural address, Franklin Roosevelt famously said “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Let’s be honest, though—there are plenty of things in this world you may be fearful of. If you walk with fear as a regular companion, however, it creates its own set of problems that go well beyond the thing that generated the fear in the first place.
Fear begets fear. Terrorists use this knowledge as a weapon, aiming to destroy just enough to create a panic. Politicians use fear as a strategy, urging us to vote for them or support their plan in order to avoid the dire consequences that they themselves have planted in our minds like seeds. Marketers use it as an inducement: “Buy this to avoid that….”
It is a uniquely human trait that we can make ourselves sick through our own thinking and that we can spread ideas to one another at a large scale. Under the right circumstances, which we seem to have at...
Why is it that two people facing the same stressful situation can respond so differently? Thousands of years of training is one reason. Throughout human history, it was advantageous to have a vigilant person on high alert to detect danger. The stressful situation would pass, and that person could likely take a break from the stress before ramping up again.
Stressors today are different, but our wiring to be on high alert is still the same. Most folks experience and interpret stressors that are generally low-threat, but constant. Fear then becomes a permanent state as folks worry about the threats at hand and those to come. There is no break from the fear. No rest.
That constant state of fear is unsustainable.
Watch the video to learn more about this evolution of fear. It can help you to be more gentle with yourself when you feel consumed by the experience and symptoms of your stress/fear response.
After the video, visit our special newsletter space to download the Fear...
Perhaps you feel unmotivated, have less interest in things, feel weakness, or an unrelenting achiness in your muscles.
Maybe you want to sleep too much, or simply wake feeling unrested.
Your mood might be sad or down, or perhaps it’s just flat.
But your biggest concern? The one that never seems to go away?
It’s this profound fatigue.
Adrenal fatigue is not a term accepted by mainstream medicine. Trying to care for symptoms like those above will usually start with routine blood tests that look for adrenal insufficiency (known as Addison’s disease). The result will likely be normal. Most doctors will then look for other causes of the fatigue, doing routine blood tests to rule out things like low iron, low hemoglobin, or a thyroid problem. After this series, symptoms will usually be attributed to untreated depression or fibromyalgia. Treatments (if any are offered) may focus on symptom relief without ever finding an underlying cause.
“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” -Michael Pollan
Nutrition can be quite confusing, but it doesn’t need to be. Focus on eating a wide variety of whole plant foods and don’t worry about being perfect. The latter advice is key, especially when transitioning from a processed food- or animal product-laden diet to a more health-promoting, plant-based diet--keep yourself successful by celebrating your journey and your progress rather than your perfection. Just as Dr. Henry Emmons recommends to acknowledge your moments of happiness amplify your joy, I can strongly attest to that same principle applying towards acknowledging your feelings of success and pride in your progress.
I believe knowledge is empowerment, and that is no less true for nutrition. Let’s briefly dive into the what and why behind eating plants and provide you with the best scientific resources to make you feel confident on your journey to eating...
“Life is short. Stay awake for it.” Caribou Coffee nailed it with that promotional tagline. It’s funny, memorable and a widely shared sentiment. If we want to get the most out of life, if we don’t want to miss anything, caffeine offers a safe, legal and increasingly pleasurable way to feel more enlivened.
I have nothing against caffeine. In fact, I personally love it. I’ve given it up several times over my life, thinking it might have negative health effects on me. But each time I’ve come back to it, finally accepting that I just plain enjoy it. I like the effect it has on me, the flavor, the ritual and the communal nature of sharing a cup of coffee with someone.
I believe that the research on the health effects from caffeine come out mostly on the side of it having an overall positive impact on health. It’s a legal stimulant. It can temporarily improve energy, focus, even mood. So long as it is not used in excess, it...
Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC... what's the difference? Can any of them help with anxiety? Depression? Do they make you high? Learn the basics below so that you can decide if any are right for you.
A Trip Down Memory Lane: Hemp, Marijuana, CBD, and THC
Cannabis is thought to be one of the oldest domesticated crops. Throughout history, humans have grown different varieties of cannabis for industrial and medical uses. These sturdy plants were grown by early civilizations to make a variety of foods, oils, and textiles. These plants were bred with other plants with the same characteristics, leading to the type of cannabis we now know as hemp.
Other varieties of the cannabis plant were identified as psychoactive (causing euphoria or the “high” experience) and were bred selectively for medical, recreational, and religious purposes. This led to unique varieties of cannabis that now known as marijuana.
While hemp and marijuana are both...
Adaptogens and nervines have gained popularity as options to support resilience in body and mind, and there’s growing evidence that they’re fit for the job. These substances are generally well-tolerated and can help your body and mind adapt more skillfully when faced with stress.
Adaptogens are typically plant-derived substances that work to balance your body and mind. You may also hear them called “adaptogenic herbs.” These substances can help your body adapt to physical, chemical, environmental, and emotional stress; and can also exert a normalizing effect on bodily processes.
As an integrative, developmental pediatrician, I’m often asked how I deal with a constant flow of defiant, agitated, or hyperactive boys and girls who come in with their frustrated and burned out parents. It’s a fair question.
It may just be my wiring, but all that negative energy doesn’t get to me all that much. I actually enjoy the intense, creative, and outspoken kids and teens and can appreciate what I like to think of as their “leadership qualities.”
Of course, there are days when my emotional and cognitive reserves are low, and I experience compassion fatigue and get irritated or stressed myself. I have learned to practice self-care skills to help myself along on these more challenging days—techniques such as breathing, meditation, and inhaling my favorite essential oils to rebalance my mind/body/spirit. It’s on these more difficult days that I also recall the story of the Bengali Tea Boy which...
The "Window of Tolerance" is the optimal zone of arousal where a person is able to thrive in everyday life. This zone has been described by Drs. Dan Siegel and Pat Ogden as “sailing within a river of wellbeing where we are able to respond to all that comes our way with equanimity-without being thrown off course" (learn more here).
When you find yourself outside of this desirable zone (e.g., a nerve-wracking social situation), then your nervous system gets revved up and you can become emotionally over-reactive and quick to anger. Or, you may go the other way, and shut down or withdraw.
As the saying goes, "You can't direct the wind, but you can adjust the sails." So how can you adjust your sails when you find yourself outside your window of tolerance? You can use awareness, grounding, and mindful breathing skills to help you get back in the zone for more optimal functioning.
The regular practice of...
It's here! The kit to get you through winter without that mind-body crash has arrived.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is common in winter. The Winterize Your Brain Kit includes key supplements and tools that work synergistically to help you create more warmth, light, & happiness- even during the coldest & darkest days. Learn more about your kit below.
Watch the video above and learn more about the kit here.
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