Have you ever experienced anxiety, insomnia, irregular bleeding, fatigue, a panic attack, depression, bowel problems, hot flashes, problems concentrating, mood swings? What was your reaction to these symptoms?
Over the years I have cared for many women – and a few good men – with many of these symptoms. Often, if they had been taking medication, they wanted a stronger dose because they thought it was no longer working. After questioning them, I would often learn that their life situation was the root cause.
In our modern society, stress can impact us at work or at home, although not usually in the form of a lurking saber‑toothed tiger! Stress keeps pumping hormones into the bloodstream until they assault the blood vessels, the heart, the immune system, and the liver. This can produce problems such as high blood pressure, increased susceptibility to illness, viral and bacterial infections, ulcers, headaches, chronic muscular tension, high cholesterol levels, heart attacks, hormonal imbalance, and even cancer. For women, it can also cause menstrual irregularities.
In many instances, women do not realize that many life events, both the positive and the negative, can precipitate stress. Some examples of stressful triggers are: getting married or divorced; bearing children; children moving away from home; changes in partners; a chronic illness (or a partner with one); shifts in financial status; changing or losing a job; the death of a friend or family member; moving, selling, or buying a home; accidents; and environmental stressors, to name a few. Stressful events are a part of reality. More often than not, the root cause that lays in the subconscious is unresolved childhood issues.
Women are more vulnerable to stress than men. We have been raised to become caretakers, good mothers, and spouses, and to care for our elderly parents and animal companions. When we begin to feel overwhelmed and ask for help, we are often told that we’re being selfish. People around us know very well how to play with our guilt.
Women in the military are also at higher risk of being stressed – away from family and friends, being deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan, or being a victim of military sexual trauma, especially if they feel that they are not being heard.
Your body will tell you when something is not right. Listen to it as you would a friend and become more self-aware of the underlying cause of your symptoms before reaching for medication.
The next time you are experiencing abnormal symptoms, ask yourself the following questions:
- Are there unresolved childhood issues that I am still dealing with?
- Have I been ignoring or denying intuitive messages from my body?
- Have I been reaching for a quick fix for symptoms?
- What is my body trying to tell me?
- Have I been practicing preventive health care to be able to handle normal stress?
- Am I under increased stress due to the way I’ve been leading my life?
- Is it time to do things differently?
Listening to your intuition can be a great self-protection tool. It can be the lifeline to what’s affecting your body and your good health.