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Achieve Freedom From Stress and Anxiety Naturally so You Can Handle All Your Many Responsibilities Effectively and with Ease!

Achieve Freedom From Stress and Anxiety Naturally so You Can Handle All Your Many Responsibilities Effectively and with Ease!

 

Are you a busy overwhelmed professional who is feeling run down and burnt out?  Does high stress and anxiety negatively impact your productivity, performance, health and relationships?

What would your life look like if you were completely free of your stress and anxiety AND handling all your many responsibilities effectively and with ease?  

I’m here to tell you, it IS possible.  Let me tell you how.

The truth about stress

Prolonged stress and anxiety can impact the body in many negative ways such as weight gain, fatigue, diminished immune function, elevated blood pressure, disrupted sleep and digestion to name a few!  It can ALSO have a negative impact on your mind…making it hard to focus and remember important tasks, stop you from pursuing big goals and dreams because of the worry and fear, and leave you feeling resigned and depressed about your life.

Stress leads to increases in a hormone called cortisol, and elevated cortisol levels over time can lead to other issues such as:

Stress > Increased Cortisol  > Causes Increased Appetite, Blood Sugar & Stored Fat; Lowers Testosterone

Although you cannot always remove the stressors in your life, you can change the way your body responds to it.

Understanding Your Nervous System

When your body or mind is stressed, your “sympathetic nervous system” is activated. It is better known as the “fight or flight response.”  What happens to our bodies when we’re in this “stress” mode is our heart races, pupils dilate, we sweat, and our blood pressure and cortisol rises.  It’s an important system to have to be able to exercise or handle dangerous situations.  However, the problem is, if we are ALWAYS in this “stress mode,” it overworks our adrenal glands, which is responsible for the output of the hormone cortisol in our bodies.  Eventually the adrenal glands will be depleted over time, which can lead to the brain fog, fatigue, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and it make us more susceptible to getting sick.

The opposite of the “sympathetic nervous system,” is the “parasympathetic nervous system,” which is responsible for “rest and digestion.”  In this state, our heart rate and breathing slow down, our blood pressure lowers, and our fingers and toes can become warm because your blood is pumping through the whole body rather than mainly to your heart (in stress mode, blood pumps to your heart to be able to run away).  The “parasympathetic nervous system” mode is where our bodies need to be the majority of the time, but the high demands of work and life make that challenging for many people.  However, it is possible to train your body and mind to enter the “parasympathetic” state even in the most stressful situations. It does take time and commitment to achieve this but it’s entirely possible with the right tools and support system.

 

What have you done so far to address your stress and anxiety?

Medications:
Maybe it helped a little, but not as much as you would have liked.  OR it helped in the beginning but after a while, it just stopped working. OR maybe it does help a lot but you don’t want to be on meds for the rest of your life.

Therapy:
Maybe it helped a little, but not as much as you would have liked.  OR it helped in the beginning but after a while, it just stopped working. OR maybe it does help a lot but you don’t want to be doing therapy for the rest of your life.

 

What if I told you there were MORE than those 2 options to tackle your stress anxiety? Not only are there other options, but BETTER and MORE EFFECTIVE options!

I will share about a 5-step holistic approach called the AMOUR system that will help you…

✔achieve freedom from your stress and anxiety without medications in 6 months or less so you can be more productive, effective, and focus on what matters to you!
✔feel good in your body and mind
✔improve health concerns that are exasperated by your stress or anxiety

✔be a source of calm for the people around you
✔ACTUALLY ENJOY YOUR LIFE

AN OVERVIEW OF THE AMOUR SYSTEM – A 5-Step Holistic Approach to Optimal Wellbeing

Amazing Foundation – Nutrition and healthy lifestyle habits are the foundation of health.

Mindfulness –  This could be psychological inquiry, therapy, meditation, self development.  Anything to bring more awareness to your body and mind and explore how your thought processes contribute to the stress and anxiety.

Order Labs – Bloodwork and labs give you valuable information about your body and brain.

Uncover Root Cause –  It’s important to look at any underlying medical conditions that contribute to your stress and anxiety such as thyroid and/or adrenal problems, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, and digestive problems. Addressing the root cause is how we resolve our symptoms in the long term.

Revitalize Putting all the pieces together and taking the right actions WILL renew, re-shape, and re-energize your body and mind. It is not just about giving your relief from stress and anxiety, but it is also about creating a life that you love and enjoy.  Breathing life back into your fullest potential.

 

Helpful Tips and Resources for Each Step of the AMOUR system

Amazing Foundation

You would not want to build a house on an unstable foundation.  We have to make sure the foundational components of health are strong and in place before we do anything else.  That would include good nutrition, exercise, getting enough sleep, and drinking enough water. Nutrition plays a huge role in mental wellbeing. The food you put into your body can significantly impact your mood and energy levels.

  • Focus on whole, non-processed foods
  • Stay away from the SUGAR!
  • Lean meats, veggies, fruits, seeds, some nuts, and healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, and fish. A little bit of rice and quinoa are okay too.
  • Focus on QUALITY food, not calories
  • Some paleo recipe books I like include: Practical Paleo, Make Ahead Paleo
  • Some workout apps I like include: 7 Minute Workout, Freeletics, BeachBody
  • A general rule of thumb for how much water to drink, is half your weight in ounces.
    • Example: A 150 lb person should drink 75 ounces of water a day
  • Have a consistent morning and bedtime routine. Wake up and go to bed at the same time every night.
  • Get a nutritionist and/or personal trainer
  • We have a 6-Month Survive to Thrive Program that includes a customized nutrition and lifestyle plan that a licensed doctor will guide you through

Mindfulness

Developing self awareness is crucial for you to achieve freedom from stress and anxiety.   It’s important to look deeper into your relationships, job stress, and self worth issues that influence your thought patterns because it can help you discover the source of the negative or stressful thoughts, where they come from and how to free yourself from those thoughts.  Having a regular daily mindfulness practice can help you stay relaxed and calm in the long term.  Or do some personal development or go into a psychological inquiry with a trained professional.

  • Some mindfulness apps I like include: Insight Timer, Breathing Zone, Headspace, Calm, Muse
  • Some personal development books I like include: Loving What Is: 4 Questions That Can Change Your Life; The Four Agreements, Untethered Soul, Power of Now, Miracle Morning, Feeding Your Demons
  • My favorite personal development course: The Landmark Forum
  • Get a therapist or counselor
  • Go to meditation or yoga classes
  • Some mindfulness tools I utilizes in the Survive to Thrive program include biofeedback, hypnotherapy, meditation, coaching, and counseling.
    • Biofeedback is the process of becoming aware of our physiological (aka biological) responses and learning how to regulate these processes (such as breathing and heart rate) through the use of machines or people who offer feedback about those responses. Once we learn to regulate these, we can generalize it to our whole life to where it can impact our mood and autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system involves your sympathetic (fight or flight; stress response) and parasympathetic nervous systems (rest and digest; relaxation). Balancing our autonomic nervous system will allow us to better cope with the many stressors of daily living and ultimately improve our health and immune function. There are many various modalities within biofeedback.
    • Hypnotherapy or Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) is somewhat of a blend between counseling and meditation; I will put you into a relaxed state and converse with you over your areas of concern, as well as guiding you in visualizations. It involves accessing the subconscious mind to help your healing process. Very useful for stress and anxiety management, confidence and motivation, relationship issues, performance, inner conflict, personal growth and change. You will be in control the whole time. You will be aware of what is said and done during the session and continue to remember it afterwards. It is safe and powerful tool in working towards mental and emotional wellbeing.

Fast and Easy Mindfulness Exercise for Stress Relief

6 steps to breathing more optimally to promote parasympathetic nervous system activity:

  1. Use your diaphragm (belly) to breath instead of your chest.*  You can put your hand on your belly to feel it moving in and out to help with this.  Placing a hand on your chest can also help you assess whether it is moving or not (the goal is to not move the chest). Watching yourself in a mirror can also be a helpful tool.
  2. Breath slowly.* The standard medically defined breathrate is 12-20 breaths/min, but the optimal breathing rate for parasympathetic nervous system activity (rest/relaxed state) is 4.5-6.5 breaths/minute.
  3. Breath through your nose
  4. Do NOT take deep breaths, take SHALLOW breaths.  If you can’t inhale or exhale the length of time on the CD, just pause and hold the breath until it indicates for you to breath out.  Do NOT strain your diaphragmatic muscles when breathing (it defeats the purpose of relaxing!). People confuse deep breathing with belly breathing.  We want shallow belly breathing.
  5. Make your exhale (breathing out) longer or equal to your inhale (breathing in)
  6. Sit comfortably and upright (back straight to get good airflow)

* Indicates most important components

Watch the breath training video here.

Purpose of Respiration

  • Saturate blood with oxygen
  • Saturate blood with CO2- dissolved as carbonic acid
  • Maintain blood pH ~ 7.4 (7.35 – 7.45
  • Remove and retain alkaline and acidic kidney by products
  • Maintain breathing drive at optimal levels

Applications

  • Hypertension / Cardiovascular disorders
  • Asthma
  • Hyperventilation syndrome
  • Lung function – increase stamina in COPD
  • Anxiety/Panic Disorders
  • Pain Management
  • Relaxation/Stress Management

Practice this breathing exercise for 10 minutes a day for at least 5 days/week (ideally every day though).  The goal is to breathe at a slower rate on your own eventually with enough practice, it starts to feel more natural.

Learning how to breathe in a new way is a process in itself and takes time.  We are forming new habits/behaviors which requires continual training.  Keep a log of breath practice and record the date/time you practiced, and how you felt before and after the practice.

Order Labs

Bloodwork and labs give you valuable information about your body and brain.  We can measure your cortisol and other stress hormones to see how well your adrenal glands are functioning.  Other valuable measures in assessing our overall health and wellbeing include looking at food sensitivities/allergies, vitamin/mineral/antioxidant deficiencies, hormones, and neurotransmitters.

There are 3 incredibly useful labs I order when working with highly stressed individuals.  All 3 are included in the Survive to Thrive Program.

The NeuroHormone Complete Profile

  • This profile is the best starting point for initial assessment of hormonal status, adrenal functionand neurotransmitter balance. This profile is important for both men and women, providing baseline and monitoring information for patients of all ages. It is especially useful in individuals who are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
    • Mood disorders, depression, anxiety
    • Addiction, dependency
    • Fatigue, lack of stamina, insomnia
    • Chronic illness, immune deficiency
    • Cognitive confusion, learning challenges, declining memory
    • Weight issues, appetite control
    • Low libido, sexual dysfunction
    • PMS, menopause, andropause
    • Fibromyalgia, chronic pain
  • Neurotransmitters are the brain chemicals that facilitate the transmission of signals from one neuron to the next across a synapse. Neurotransmitters work with receptors in the brain to influence and regulate a wide range of processes such as mental performance, emotions, pain response and energy levels. Functioning primarily in the Central Nervous System (CNS), neurotransmitters are the brain’s chemical messengers, facilitating communication among the body’s glands, organs, and muscles. Numerous clinical studies have shown that inadequate neurotransmitter function has a profound influence on overall health and well-being. In fact, imbalances in certain neurotransmitters are associated with most of the prevalent symptoms and conditions seen in practitioners’ offices today.
  • This is a non-invasive urine and saliva test that you can do in the convenience of your home
  • Learn more here.

Micronutrient Testing for Nutritional Deficiency

  • The micronutrient test provides the most comprehensive nutritional analysis available by measuring functional deficiencies at the cellular level. It is an assessment of how well the body utilizes 33 vitamins, minerals, amino/fatty acids, antioxidants, and metabolites, while conveying the body’s need for these micronutrients that enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones, and other substances essential for proper growth, development, and good health. This test provides the basis of a personalized, functional approach in addressing a broad variety of clinical conditions.  The micronutrient deficiencies that can contribute to anxiety and stress include: Vitamins D, E, B3, B6, zinc, selenium, magnesium, copper, serine, choline, inositol, folate, chromium and carnitine. Rather than shooting the dark with what supplements to take, this test lets you know exactly what your body is deficient in so we can treat accordingly based on the results.
  • This is a blood draw. I will send you to lab to have this test complete.
  • Learn more here.

Food Allergy and/or Sensitivity Testing

  • Certain foods could be contributing to your stress and anxiety. Knowing how food impacts your body and mind can make a big difference! This test will check for IgG antibodies for 96 or 184 different general foods. IgG reactions can occur later in life and are generally more chronic long term reactions that are not typically life threatening, but can still cause great distress or discomfort on the body in various ways such as mood changes, fatigue, sleep or digestive problems, headaches, and skin issues. IgG reactions can also be delayed reactions that make it more difficult to figure out which food a person may be reacting to, whereas IgE reactions tend to be more immediate. IgE reactions are the life threatening anaphylactic reactions, that typically are present from birth/childhood and require immediate treatment with an epi pen.
  • This is a finger-stick blood test that you can do in the convenience of your home.
  • See what foods we look at here.

Uncover Root Cause

When the check engine light of your car lights up, you have 2 options: get your car checked to figure out what’s wrong or ignore it.  It might be nothing or it could be an issue that will progressively get worse if you continue to ignore it.  Maybe you can figure out how to fix it yourself with YouTube to save a couple bucks, but what if it’s a bigger problem than you realize?  Do you want to take that risk on such a high ticket item like your car or would you rather have a mechanic look at it, run some diagnostic tests, and get to source of the problem?  Because sometimes if you just let the problem get worse, it ends up costing you more.

Now, are you willing to value your body and mind as much as you value your car? I hope so!

The results from the lab work give us a direction in how to best optimize both your mental and physical health.  More importantly though, it’s critical to look at any underlying medical conditions that contribute to your stress and anxiety such as thyroid and/or adrenal problems, autoimmune conditions, hormone imbalances, and digestive problems. Having a doctor on board as part of your diagnostic team is invaluable. Addressing the root cause is how we resolve our symptoms in the long term.

Revitalize

The definition of “Revitalize” is to give new life or vigor to.

Putting all the pieces together and taking the right actions WILL renew, re-shape, and re-energize your body and mind. However, it is not just about giving your relief from stress and anxiety, but it is also about creating a life that you love and enjoy.  What would it look like if you breathed life back into your job, your relationships, AND your health?

I want to explore what you live for.  What are you passionate about?  What would make your life more fulfilling and purposeful?  What would make you excited to wake up in the morning?  If this piece is missing from your life, then you are still just living to survive, rather than living to thrive.

I get it, you’re super busy. You feel like you don’t have the time to do all those things you used to love. Maybe it was playing guitar, or dancing, or shooting some hoops with your friends.

How often does the thought “I don’t have time” come up for you? Frequently, yes?  If that’s the case, I want you to shift your mindset and take FULL responsibility for why you don’t do the things you love.  Rather than being at the affect of your circumstances (aka time), acknowledge that you are not making yourself a priority and not giving it the time. When you take responsibility for your situation, THAT is when you regain your power, because now you can do something about it.   Even if you can only set aside 5 minutes a day for that activity you love, it’s better than nothing. That 5 minutes will give you life and energy and propel you through the rest of your day.

Giving yourself new life and vigor ALSO requires self care and self-love.

Practice the art of Amour de Soi…

It is a french term for love of self. A concept developed by philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, to describe the instinctive disposition of self-preservation which human beings have in the state of nature. Acts out of amour de soi tend to be for individual well-being. They are naturally good and not malicious because amour de soi as self-love does not involve pursing one’s self-interest at the expense of others. It is related to an awareness of one’s future and can restrain present impulse. The sentiment does not compare oneself with others, but is concerned solely with oneself as an absolute and valuable existence.

You know how on planes, during the in-flight safety demonstration, they always tell you that if in the rare scenario the oxygen masks get deployed, you should always put on your own mask first before helping children, the disabled, or any persons requiring assistance.  Do you know why? Because you can’t help anyone if you’re passed out or dead!

I know you have a lot of responsibilities, and perhaps a lot of people are counting on you. But if you are barely alive and not breathing yourself, you cannot be of much help or contribution to others.

So what is one act of self-love or self-care you can do TODAY?  Squeeze it into your busy calendar, even if it can only be a few minutes.

And each week, when you’re figuring out your schedule, PUT in that SELF CARE time NO MATTER WHAT and treat it AS BIG of a PRIORITY as a really important work deadline or meeting with a VIP client.  TREAT IT LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT!  When you start treating your self care time like that, that’s when you can feel like you handle everything that you have to do.

If you read through this entire post, congratulations! Seriously. That was an act of self-love in itself.  If you only skimmed it, that’s okay too. Pick just 1 step or recommendation to try out!

If you feel like need more support or guidance on how to navigate through all 5 steps of the AMOUR system, consider joining my 6-Month Survive to Thrive Program that will give you TWO 45-minute virtual telemedicine consultations with me EVERY month to walk you through the whole progress, so by the end, you’ll be a brand new human being!

Why Try a Naturopathic Doctor to Treat Your Anxiety or Stress?

Naturopathic doctors (NDs) focus on a holistic, proactive prevention using natural methods in combination with the rigors of modern science.  Rather than trying to mask symptoms of a condition with pharmaceuticals, naturopathy tries to find the root cause, remove those barriers to health, and help facilitate the body’s inherent ability to restore and maintain optimal wellbeing.

Dr. Alice strongly believes that the mind-body connection is an essential component of health. Mental and emotional wellbeing can contribute to one’s physical health, and vice versa.

She can act as your doctor, your nutritionist, your counselor, and your coach – ALL IN ONE!

Schedule a FREE discovery session with me if you would like to take it a step further in freeing yourself from stress and anxiety!

 

 

 

5 Helpful Healthy Tips to Fight Holiday Stress

5 Helpful Healthy Tips to Fight Holiday Stress

The holidays are a wonderful time of year to spend with family, eat delicious food, put up bright lights and decorations, and engage in fun and festivities. However, on the other side of that can be the stress of traveling, shopping, cooking, and even spending too much time with family. Not to mention, the dark gloomy weather isn’t exactly helping you get into the holiday spirit. So in case the holiday season isn’t all joy, cheer, and laughter, and you need some help dealing with the not-so-fun aspects, consider these helpful tips to get you through the end of the year.

Get a Light Therapy Box

I think the holidays were purposely placed in the dead of winter to increase social interactions so people would be less depressed about the weather. However, if you’re one of those people that finds yourself a little more blue regardless of the number of tinsel and twinkly lights there are, yes maybe it could be the stress of dealing with the holidays, OR it could very well be the fact that you haven’t seen the sun in forever. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) affects millions of Americans every year, most of which are women. Some symptoms include extreme fatigue, loss of energy, depression, and increased appetite. Consider getting a light therapy box (widely available in many retail stores and online). Sit in front of it for at least 30 minutes every morning. Other ways to help improve mood and energy include going outside more (I know it’s cold, but just bundle up), or trying Vitamin D supplementation.


When it Comes to Food and Drinks, Cut Yourself Some Slack, But Not Too Much

I understand how extremely difficult it is to turn down all the wonderful sweet treats and other temptations that will be constantly in your face around this season. And as a doctor, I’m giving you permission to indulge a little for these special occasions. However, just because you slipped a bit on your healthy diet regimen, doesn’t mean you have to completely fall off the wagon. It doesn’t mean you are allowed to avoid all vegetables until January. Enjoy a slice of Aunt Sally’s famous pecan pie that you only get to try once a year. Forgive yourself, move on. Do not tell yourself, “Well now that I’m eating sweets again, might as well eat that brownie, 4 cookies, 9 truffles, and 3 more slices of that pie.” Sugar is a very addictive substance and a slippery slope. Yes, it is hard to stop after just one treat, but believe in yourself. Continue to be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth. Help to avoid temptation by keeping it out of your house. Try diluting sugary drinks. Cut back on the adult beverages by drinking lots of water in between. And if you have to, consider keeping a diet diary by either writing it down or getting an app for your phone. You might start to notice you have been cheating a lot more than you realize. 

Avoid the Mall
Okay, maybe go to the mall so your kids can get a picture with Santa. But THAT IS IT! The mall is particularly crowded and chaotic this time of year. It’s hard to not have a stress response in this kind of setting. And if your body is constantly in a stress state, it can have detrimental effects on your health such as weight gain, poor sleep, fatigue, and high blood pressure. Even if you’re determined to get that perfect gift at that perfect price, is it really worth the harm it could have on your body by going to the mall. Okay, that might be a little unrealistic. But if you MUST go to the mall (and I’m going to assume you tried to buy it online from the convenience of your home first and it wasn’t available. Because why wouldn’t you?), try to make a list of exactly what you plan to get, and get in and get out as fast as you can. Also try to minimize the number of trips you have to go to the mall. Or try convincing your family to go the Secret Santa route, where everyone only has to get 1 gift for another person in the family, instead a gift for E-V-E-R-Y-O-N-E. Gifts are great and all, but quality stress-free time with each other is also nice. Consider instead going ice skating or caroling or maybe to the movies. Anything BUT the mall. 

Get Enough Sleep 
I know you might have lots to do, plans to make, commitments to fulfill, but sleep still needs to be a priority. Sleep deprivation not only makes you more irritable and fatigued, it can impair your judgment, make you more prone to accidents, and decrease your immune system so you are more susceptible of being taken out of commission by a cold or the flu (and then how will you get everything that needs to get done, DONE?) Chronic sleep loss also puts you at a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems. Not to mention the possibility of weight gain due to the hormonal imbalances created from lack of sleep. Helpful tricks, give yourself a time limit to get things done. Make a commitment to yourself and your wellbeing that by 10pm (or whatever time feels appropriate to you) you’ll stop everything you are doing for the night, and start preparing for bed. Leave electronic devices outside of the bedroom. And if you still need a little help, try valerian root, an herbal supplement to help calm down your nervous system. It is relatively safe to take, but consult with a doctor before taking it if you are on a sedative medication or Xanax.

Treat Yourself
There is no rule against having to focus all your attention on getting gifts and treats for your loved ones. Showing yourself some love is just as important. So go get a massage or facial. Or take a nice hot Epson salt bath at home with perhaps some lavender essential oils. The Epson salts have magnesium that will help with your tired, achy muscles. Or curl up with a good book in a quiet space or go for a walk. Let your spouse or nanny take the kids off your hands for an hour or two so you can have some ‘YOU’ time. You deserve it. If you’re having trouble relaxing, consider scheduling a naturopathic consultation to learn how to train your body, particularly your nervous system, to cope with those stressors in a better way. 

Have a great holiday everyone!