Just Breathe

Are you stressed about being stressed? Do you wake up in the morning already stressed even though you haven’t even gotten out of bed yet? Is your mind racing day and night preventing you from getting a proper night’s sleep. Do the things in life, whether it’s your life or someone else’s, have you on constant high alert?

Are you experiencing anxiety, restlessness, digestive disturbances, relationship battles, trouble focusing, pain in the body, fatigue—so tired, yet you still can’t get to or stay asleep?

Ya, me too. Particularly the lack of sleep and chronic digestive issues. For me, it goes way back to having had chronic IBS-C in my early 20s up until now, having even gotten worse. With all that I have tried, I’ve discovered that diet and fitness are no longer the answer. Lifestyle, the very thing we are addicted to, is what needs a little fixing.

What I know is that when you don’t feel well on a physical level, you will do anything–ANYTHING–to feel better. I know that has always been my approach. Attack what’s causing the problem. I always thought the next step was to eliminate more foods from my plan. Increase my exercise or change the workout routine entirely. I would do cleanse after cleanse all in the name of getting rid of that “bad feeling.”

Over the years, I’ve taken more supplements, more herbs, and more superfoods than anyone should possibly consume. I’ve done more colon hydrotherapy sessions than the average person thinking “this is the one—this is the session that is going to “fix me”—-wrong again. All it ever truly did was leave me feeling “empty Inside.”

What most people don’t realize is that the digestive system, specifically your colon runs right through the emotional center of your body. This is why when we get stressed out, we feel it in our guts sometimes in the form of diarrhea, constipation, or other IBS related symptoms. The longer the stress continues, the more GI upsets will continue. The longer it continues, the more we will feel the fatigue and disconnect from our bodies.

Your digestive system, from beginning to end, is your gateway to health. It’s where your immune system resides. It’s where you breakdown and absorb nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. And it’s where you eliminate toxins and waste.  It’s an intricate system. When taken proper care of, it is hearty, strong, and resilient and it can handle day to day stresses. But if neglected and abused, it can lead to a plethora of disturbances that can truly interfere with your quality of life.

Think of your digestive system as your body’s inner skin. The skin you wear on the outside of your body is actually protection for what’s on the inside. It holds us together and protects us from outside invaders. It breathes for us. It insulates us keeping our inner body temperature within homeostasis—nice and balanced.

The digestive system, when kept in tact, does the same thing. It absorbs, digests, and eliminates efficiently and in a timely manner. There are no signs of distress. There is no bloating, constipation, leaky gut, candida, or dysbiosis that would ultimately lead to other health related issues within the body. The gut is strong and you are healthy.

Now we know in today’s world that there is a huge emphasis on eating healthy, exercising, and living a balanced lifestyle. This relates to those who are already doing “everything they can” to be healthy. You’re following the groups on Facebook for inspiration. You’ve got your Pinterest Boards all set up with recipes. You’re meeting with your trainer or Paleo coach 4 times a week. You’re measuring this and macroing that. You’re taking your probiotics, coconut oil, L-Glutamine, and supplements all at the scheduled time of day. And you are eating according to your body type, goals, and health conditions. So why the heck are you not feeling any better? Why are you not losing weight? Why, after 20 years on this plan, are you still constipated, bloated, fatigued, and loading up on energy supplements to get you through the day.

YOU’RE EXHAUSTED!!! Not now because you are probably on your 4th cup of coffee or chugging your 5 hour energy drink. But that jittery body of yours that absolutely must have all those stimulants to make it through the day is absolutely EXHAUSTED.

It stinks. I’ve been there. I am still there. There isn’t a thing out there that I haven’t tried that I haven’t said “This Is It–I’m soooo going to feel better.” It works for a little bit. And then it stops.

Why? Why does it stop? If it was working, why does it have to stop? I was feeling so much better. Because the one thing that needed to change, that over the course of your lifetime you refused to change, still needs to change. YOU!!

I’ve learned a lot over the course of my time as a colon hydrotherapist. A LOT about nutrition, cleansing, diet, fitness, health, wellness, and balance. I know this stuff. I really know this stuff. And I apply it to my life. I eat a clean diet. I exercise daily.  But the one thing I haven’t gotten the grip on completely is the balance. And for me, the balance comes in the form of stress reduction.

A little bit of stress is normal. It’s part of life. And it actually is healthy. In exercise, stress on the body helps to increase muscle mass and burn fat. In life or death situations it can propel you to safety. But chronic stress, day to day mismanagement of stress, will have your cortisol levels constantly elevated at all the wrong times. …like at 2 am when you should be in deep sleep.  Chronic stress causes migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Dysbiosis,  and Leaky Gut Syndrome. Even if you are eating the most pristine diet and have eliminated everything your naturopath has said is on your food allergy list….if you are chronically stressed, your gut simply will not heal.

Taken together, it’s a lifestyle entirely that needs to change. I’m learning the hard way. But I’m learning. I will always be that gal that eats clean, is a foodie at heart, sweats it at the gym, lives a clean lifestyle, and I will always be someone who invests my time in the latest and greatest nutritional and fitness plans out there. The lifestyle change, coming in the form of more meditation, relaxation, and deep breathing are the only things at this point that I plan on changing. Just 5 minutes a day can make all the difference in your health. It reduces cortisol and brings a full sense of well being. It reduces your appetite. It helps you sleep better at night. And most importantly, it helps you get in touch with yourself by reducing anxiety.

So today, before you go ahead and start your next cleanse, changing your diet, increasing your cardio and weight lifting routine…..try the simple act of sitting quietly, putting on some soft music, and just doing some nice deep breathing. You may see that this was just what the doctor ordered.

To Your Health!!

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2 thoughts on “Just Breathe

  1. Now that is a most valuable and heartfelt article. It is something that we can all use in our lives.

  2. temple1971 says:

    Awesome blog my friend- xoxo Wendy

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