The stress response is regulated by the adrenal glands. These are walnut-shaped and can be found on top of the kidneys. They release stress hormones into the blood whenever we find ourselves in stressful situations. Such stressful situations may be to do with finance, relationships, work, and being stuck in traffic.
Some stress, specifically called acute stress, is fine. It helps us get away or protect ourselves from danger. And the body has no trouble dealing with this. Chronic stress is the one that’s detrimental to health. Our bodies were not made to cope with high levels of stress for long periods of times. Studies indicate that over 30% of the population faces extreme stress.
One of the most notable ways that stress affects thyroid health is by depressing the HPA axis (hypothalamic pituitary adrenal). This is connected to the production of thyroid hormones. In addition to this problem, stress hormones disrupt the convention of T4 to T3. And this leaves the body with insufficient T3, worsening the signs of hypothyroidism.
Stress hormones have also been found to weaken immune barriers. As such, foreign elements enter into parts of the body they are not supposed to. And this, in turn, causes autoimmune reactions.
This stress can cause an inflammatory response, which may trigger an underactive thyroid. Therefore it is important to manage stress to reduce your chances of hypothyroidism or other thyroid disorders.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways on how you can deal with stress. And we will talk about these here:
Adopt a good diet – some of the stress is because of the food we eat. So following a good diet is a good starting point. The diet I recommended in Chapter 2 should help you avoid most of the foods that stress the body. This particularly refers to sugar.
You must also avoid stimulants. Examples of these include alcohol, caffeine, and drugs.
Relax – our gigantic schedules usually leave us too exhausted to do anything else by the time the day ends. And this is bad since we all need some time to relax. The body cannot be healthy if it is being put in a state of high-productivity at all times. You will burn out in the end.
There are lots of options as to how you can relax. Meditation is one good example.
If you just need something simple, then you can try breathing exercises. Inhale while counting to 4, hold your breath for 7 seconds and then release it for 8 seconds through your mouth. Do this for at least 10 minutes.
Another great way to relax is to take walks in forests. Nature has healing capabilities. You can also watch the sun rise or set. Both these actions will provide relief from stress.
Sleep – Some boast about sleeping for less as if it’s a sign of strength. But this is simply a lack of knowledge. Whether you have hypothyroidism or are as healthy as the sun, you need to get adequate sleep every night. Studies have shown that sleep reduces stress, helps the body restore hormone imbalances, and strengthens the immune system. It is recommended that you sleep for at least 6 hours 30 minutes every day. But do not let this be over 8 hours. That will be unhealthy.
Also, the quality of your sleep matters. If you keep waking up, that is not quality sleep. Be sure to avoid caffeine in the hours before sleep. Also, avoid using phones or computers 2 hours before sleep: light from these devices can make falling asleep difficult.
Make sure that your room is dark and of the right temperature. Furthermore, create a regular sleep schedule by going to bed at the same time every day.
Laugh and have fun – make time to meet up with your friends to socialize. This can lower your stress and boost your mood. It’s why most of us feel so energetic after a good time with friends.
Also, as a way of having fun, make sure that you enjoy your hobbies. If you love hiking, then make time for it.
Keep a journal – although many think of writing in a journal as useless, several studies have shown that it has so many benefits. Among those are its healing capabilities. Writing things down helps reduce stress. And this, in turn, leads to better health.
You can write in a notebook or you can use any of the available journaling apps.
Take adrenal adaptogens – these can help keep your stress levels in check. Examples include licorice, ginseng, and ashwagandha.
Get support – you can talk to experts about your problem. And this is one of the best ways to deal with stress.
Remove the stressor – while all these tips are aimed at lowering stress, your real quest should be to find the thing that is stressing you and remove it from your life. All problems are best dealt with from the root. That is the only way you will be guaranteed of successful results.
Hope this helped you!