A colleague at work once described my memory as a "steel trap". He'd ask me questions like, "Who said that thing about artist names at that meeting a couple years back...?" And after a few seconds of deliberation, I'd reply, "Oh, right, that was about two years ago at the meeting on the first floor on a Wed morning to discuss a digital launch of the new artist name features where Tim said..." Etc etc... You get the idea. Basically, I could remember awesome detail of just about anything from any point in time.
But if he'd asked me this same question a year ago, I'd have drawn a complete blank--my awesome memory had completely deserted me. And he'd have also noticed that my joints hurt, that I felt tired all the time, that I'd become incredibly sensitive to temperature, that small things stressed me out way more than they should, and that I'd gained weight around my middle even though I had a great diet and worked out loads.
Fast-forward two months. By that point, I could no longer sleep, no longer think, no longer move. And it's taken me 12 months of focused recuperation to get back to feeling mostly normal.
But what could have possibly caused so many different and divergent symptoms? Some terrible infection? A rare genetic disease?
Nope. It was caused by something that I bet you face, too: CHRONIC STRESS.
When we're stressed, mentally or physically (and even things like poor nutrition or chemical exposure are physical stressors), our bodies switch out of their normal state into 'fight or flight' mode--which basically means that they start churning out stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, like its nobody's business. And it's the ramifications of overproduction of and overexposure to these stress hormones that cause the downward spiral of stress symptoms. Your body simply doesn't care that it's an annoying email in your inbox rather than a lion chasing you as you flee for your life--to your body, it's all the same. And we weren't genetically designed to handle the amount of stress that we routinely have in our lives.
Eek! At this point, you're probably feeling stressed about feeling stressed... But there's a great way to find out if stress has started causing physical symptoms in your body:
I'll email you your results plus a few personalised suggestions of what you can do about them. And the suggestions won't be things like, "Find time to meditate for 60 minutes each morning." They'll be practical solutions that fit into your life without putting even more stress on yourself but that tap into our genetic ability to a) switch off the production of stress hormones and b) replenish the raw materials in our bodies (like magnesium and B vitamins) that stress depletes.
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