Stress and inflammation underly most chronic illness. It is never one thing that fixes it. Everything has to work together.

Stress can take many forms. Think of it as dis-stress that the mind or body senses.

  • Physical such as pain, heat, cold, trauma, injury
  • Mental/Emotional – fear, worry
  • Toxic- chemicals, air pollution, heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium & arsenic found in the environment, medications, herbicides & pesticides, etc
  • Infection – bacteria, parasites, viruses, fungus or yeast
  • Nutritional – overeating, undereating, nutritional excess, nutrition deficiencies, food sensitivities

health icons on blocks being picked up

All of these can cause inflammation which is at the root cause of most chronic illness.

Just as many things can cause stress, many things can cause inflammation. Decreasing dis-stress and inflammation paves the way to healing most chronic illnesses. You may need specific supplements or medication for certain conditions but taking these steps will make everything work better. Take the steps outlined below. It can change your life.

This- Not That

1. Sleep Soundly

  • This: Your day will be as good as your sleep the night before. Have a wind down routine. Do not do anything stressful or exert yourself before bedtime. Block blue light on your electronics, lower the lights, sleep in a dark, quiet room. Use melatonin, magnesium, calming herbs and/or lavender to relax. Take slow deep belly breaths, write down what is on your mind and set your intention for good sleep and a good day.
  • NOT that: Exercising vigorously before bedtime, watching something too gripping or exciting, using computers, TV, phone, or tablets without blocking blue light, drinking too much alcohol before bedtime, drinking caffeine after 3PM, allowing your thoughts to race and muscles to tense (journaling or list making helps racing thoughts and relaxation techniques and supplements can release tension).

2. Attitude is everything

  • This: If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it. Think and visualize positive things in your life. It may sound hokey, but all great inventions and great leaders and innovators know that everything is first created in thought. Your thoughts create feeling, feelings create physical symptoms and action and these in turn produce results. You have the freedom to choose your thought. Why not choose empowering thoughts that uplift you and move you in the right direction? An attitude of gratitude brings you more of what you want. Positive thoughts pave the way for healing.
  • NOT that: Giving in to conditions and thinking and saying negative things or focusing on things as they are not how you want them to be. You get what you focus on.

3. Environment

  • This: Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Drink clean water, filter and purify it, filter the air if you live in a polluted environment and use clean, chemical free personal care and cleaning product. It doesn’t have to be expensive. You can make cleaning products for pennies and clean personal care products have drastically come down in price.
  • NOT that: Mingling with people who are negative, feel sorry for themselves or reinforcing all that is bad with everyone and everything. Using chemicals in the air, on your skin, in your food and in your water. What you save in cost in products will go towards medical bills and pollute how your feel.

4. Diet has a major role

  • This: Eat a rainbow of colors of fruits and vegetables, organic, when possible, clean lean protein and omega 3 rich fats such as fish, olives, avocados, nuts, seeds and their oils and lots of purified water.
  • NOT that: sugar, simple and/refined carbohydrates, processed foods, saturated fats, food additives, herbicides, pesticides, overconsumption of alcohol and caffeine

5. Digestion and Assimilation

  • This: Practice portion control, eat slowly, chew thoroughly and be calm and relaxed while eating to enable your body to make digestive enzymes. Hydrochloric acid (HCL) production can be impaired when stressed and declines with aging. Replace HCL with Betaine & Pepsin and if food sits in your stomach, you may need other digestive enzymes to break down the food you eat so it can be absorbed.
  • NOT that: Overeating, eating too fast, multitasking while eating, not allowing the production of digestive enzymes that break down food and kill bacteria stops digestion and absorption in its tracks!

6. Elimination and Detoxification

  • This: Move bowels 1-3 times a day with 25-30 grams of fiber, exercise, water, and probiotics. Eliminate toxins from water by drinking purified water, choose chemical free personal care products, use air filters and eat organic.
  • NOT that: Going more than a day without moving bowels and elimination toxins. Use Aloe (not too often), and take the above steps

7. Harmonize your hormones

  • This: Lower the stress hormone cortisol by reframing your attitude toward what is going on, praying, meditating, exercising moderately, doing yoga, tai chi, deep belly breathing, relaxation techniques and eating a healthy diet. Get your cortisol and other hormones measured.
  • NOT that: Stewing in anger and resentment, constantly on the go, losing sleep, not taking a mental break, reacting instead of responding, taking quick shallow breaths, eating sugar, processed foods, too much caffeine, alcohol and stimulants and simple carbohydrates. This will raise cortisol and lower thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone and give you blood sugar swings that raise insulin and cause belly fat.

These 7 things may seem trivial; however, they form the basis of health and healing.  Start with one and then go to the next and the next. Small changes can make a big difference and have a compound effect. If you need support, seek a functional medicine physician who can put all of the pieces together. Don’t put your health and healing on hold.