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How Hormonal Balance Can Bring Tremendous Changes To Your Health

How Hormonal Balance Can Bring Tremendous Changes To Your Health

When it comes to hormonal imbalance, our minds go straight to teens going through puberty, women who are pregnant or having their period. We envision uncontrollable emotions that usually involve crying, anger and frustration, but in fact, this is a huge misconception as a hormonal imbalance can affect both men and women and can be the underlying cause for a lot of our health issues without us even knowing it.

Hormones play a major role in the way we feel, act and think so when we suffer from health issues or are looking to improve ourselves through losing weight or enhance cognitive skills, the first thing to take a look at is how our hormone balance is shaping up.

What Are The Symptoms of a Hormonal Imbalance?

Hormones are the chemical messengers that travel via our blood streams to our tissues and organs, and tell them what to do and how to function. In essence, the hormone balance in our bodies is very sensitive. That is why an imbalance can affect us greatly and manifest as common health issues and more stubborn ones such as easy weight gain.

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The most common indicators are:

  • Headaches: regular headaches or migraines.
  • Mood swings: these aren’t just apparent in menstruating and pregnant women, men often get mood swings that could be attributed to a hormone imbalance including anxiety, irritability and depressive episodes.
  • Weight gain: Men who gain weight easily around their abdomen, hips and breast area could be indicating they have a hormonal imbalance.
  • Sweating: hot flushes and finding you sweat a lot more either during the day or night can be a sign.
  • Cravings: constant cravings of a certain food or food group.
  • Digestion problems: feeling bloated or gassy after eating, stomach problems and slow digestion.
  • Insomnia and poor sleep patterns: the inability to sleep soundly and deeply could be down to cortisol imbalances that lead to difficulties in getting a good night’s rest.
  • Memory loss: a hormonal imbalance can affect the way our brains function and can lead to forgetfulness.
  • Fatigue: energy levels can take a significant dive and you are left feeling constantly tired throughout the day.

Most of these symptoms can be found equally in both men and women and it’s due to either the under-production or overproduction of different hormones at one time. In women, estrogen and progesterone are the common hormones affected while in men it’s usually either a testosterone deficiency or excess estrogen. Both can cause specific symptoms such as painful breasts, low blood sugar and even infertility and cysts in women, with hair loss, erectile dysfunction and loss of muscles mass in men.

What Are The Common Causes of Hormonal Imbalance?

  • Lack of exercise: regular exercise keeps our hormones in check and lowers the risk of a cortisol imbalance caused by stress.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: sitting down too much in the space of a day such as at work on a computer and sitting watching TV for hours can wreak havoc for our hormones.
  • Diet: what we eat and drink on a regular basis weighs heavily on how our hormone’s function.
  • Being overweight: obesity and weight issues can put our hormones out of whack.
  • Genetics: sometimes it can be down to good old genetics which makes us more prone to hormone imbalances.

How To Combat a Hormonal Imbalance With Diet and Exercise

It’s important to visit a doctor to eliminate any further causes to your health issues. But if you find your headaches are getting worse or you feel generally down or irritable on a regular basis, then it’s worth changing your diet and exercise regime to see if it makes a difference.

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1. Eat Healthy Fats

Healthy fats such as coconut oil and fats found in avocados and fish can help towards putting your hormones back on track. Our bodies need various fats to create hormones so don’t restrict fat in your diet but try to eat more healthy alternatives rather than saturated. Healthy fats boost anti-inflammatory levels, promote weight loss and boosts metabolism.

Omega-3 and omega-6 fats are also essential for hormone production but it’s important to get a certain balance of both. Omega-3 is found in fish, nuts, seeds and legumes and can be eaten on a regular basis. Omega-6 should be avoided a bit more but can be taken in the form of GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) which can be found in supplements such as primrose oil.

2. Exercise Regularly

Exercising is crucial for a healthy lifestyle but when it comes to our hormones, it’s one of the best ways to keep a good balance. It reduces inflammation, lowers stress levels, boosts metabolism, promotes better sleep and regulates your appetite with all of these helping to level out any imbalance we may have.

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Doing short but high-intensity interval workouts are best but be careful not to over do it – a burst of exercise rather than a long, drawn-out session is enough to ignite the right amount of hormone production all round.

3. Reduce Intake of Caffeine, Alcohol and Carbs

Caffeine and alcohol can really affect the brain and the way it produces hormones. Stimulants stay in our system for up to 6 hours increasing heart rate with caffeine being able to up your cortisol levels and causing imbalances. Alcohol affects the liver which is a major organ for hormone production so try to limit the amount of alcohol you consume.

Carbohydrates have a huge impact on insulin production which, in turn, affects the way your hormones travel around the body. Avoid carb-heavy meals and watch your sugar intake.

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4. Beware of Milk and Beef Products

While these products are healthy to eat, it’s important to be aware that many farmers these days inject growth hormones to their cattle in order to boost production. Make sure you choose organic milk and beef products to ensure they are free from artificial hormones that can disrupt your own.

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    Jenny Marchal

    A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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