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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 September 10, 2019

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

    Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

    This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

    One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

    Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

    Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

    1. Gratitude

    Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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    The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

    Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

    So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

    Gratitude-Quotes

      2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

      This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

      For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

      What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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      Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

      3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

      This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

      Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

      An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

      Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

      write down goals

        4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

        According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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        There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

        5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

        Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

        Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

        6. Rise Earlier

        The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

        For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

        So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

        Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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        7. Listen to Uplifting Music

        Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

        Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

        It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

        Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

        More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

        Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
        [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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