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Sleep, Energy, Anxiety, Mood, Stress: 5 Common Health Concerns in (Most) People

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Sleep | Energy | Anxiety | Mood | Stress

Sleep issues (e.g. falling asleep, staying asleep, insomnia, restlessness, and other)

Energy issues (e.g. fatigue, exhaustion, inability to function, and other)

Anxiety issues (e.g. nervousness, anxiousness, agitation, and other)

Mood issues (e.g. depression, mood swings, irritability, and other)

Stress ‘issues’ (e.g. stress easily, a persistent state of ‘fight-or-flight’, and other)

Can you relate, or struggle with these?

  • Do you have trouble sleeping?
  • Do not have enough energy to get through the day, or even get the day started?
  • Do you experience constant anxiety?
  • Do you have mood swings, feeling down or depressed, or irritable?
  • Do you find yourself ‘on-edge’ most of the time, or find that you stress easily?

You are not alone. These are common.

How can that be?

The main reasons are that there is a general sense of overwhelm (keep in mind that it is all self created!)

  • less emphasis on cultivating personal growth and self-care (not, selfish care)
  • less emphasis on cultivating personal relationships
  • less emphasis on cultivating connection with nature
  • less emphasis on cultivating creativity and play
  • less emphasis on focusing what really matters

Your Mind, Your Brain, and Your Nervous System

Every day you are subjected to external stimuli, or anything in your external (and, internal – thoughts, feelings) environment requires your brain to process, filter, sift through, tune out, or tune into various aspects of that outside (and, again inside) world. This truly means that your energy goes where your focus flows.

In order to process information, your brain becomes metabolically active in various areas. In order to “respond” accordingly, your brain processes information in the prefrontal cortex, and depending on the stimulus, it activates or shuts down the activity in various other parts of the brain.

Your brain has to process information in order to keep you safe, fed, and nourished. The more information that comes in, the more activity there is and the more sorting and filtering there is. The more comes in, the more there is to process, the more that comes in, the more there is to do. You get the idea. Now, you get to a point, where even a simple, or traditionally a trivial task, becomes overwhelming. What happens now? You perceive any type of input to be “unsafe”, because you simply cannot handle anything else, and your “glass is full and overflowing”, you are up to your “max”.

You now are reactive, or in other words, you are in your “emotional brain”, which is your amygdala, and you are now in a state of fight-or-flight. Once your brain perceives danger, the hippocampus, in the center of your brain becomes highly-active to keep you safe. This part of the brain instructs various parts of your body to conserve energy and reduce its function, so that you can now “run away from that perceived-danger”. What happens now, is that all of your blood rushes to your extremities. You blood moves away from your digestive, which  slows down, since the last thing you want to be doing is digesting the delicious lunch that you just ate, increases your heart rate and breathing, and in general, the sole focus of your brain now is keep you safe. Ready to run?

Over period of time, your brain can wire those pathways together. In neurology, there is a phenomenon, when two neurons fire together they wire together. Those same pathways can now be activated and re-activated with thoughts alone, even without the external stimuli.

That is how you may be living most of the time. This is what I have observed in thousands of my office visits with people in my clinical practice. How is that the vast majority of people, and this may very well be you too, live in this hyperactive state? The answer is that everyone is susceptible to it, and the more you give your attention away, the more it impacts your well-being. Your attentive-mind and your attention requires you to train your mind to focus, which in turn affects your brain and in turn affects your overall well-being.

We make choices every day, both conscious and unconscious. Because our neural pathways are changeable, we can augment our reality by simply making a different choice.

The only way to live a life of well-being is having the understanding that medicine is all around us, sunshine (or, light), air, water, food, rest, and training your mind.