We live in an age of abundant health information. Every few months, a new superfood hero of the moment appears. Admittedly, these foods are wonderful — I’m a dedicated mushroom supplement fan, and my readers know how much they’ve changed my experience with brain fog.
But amid progress and discovery, we sometimes forget the essentials that enable these superfoods to be so powerful. Without the basics of good sleep, stress management, hydration, movement, and healthy nutrition, a lot of these “fixes” can’t do their jobs. Mushrooms such as lion’s mane will be of minimal help with brain fog for someone who is dehydrated and struggling with chronic fatigue and cognitive impairment.
The same goes for reducing inflammation, an integral part of managing chronic pain conditions and endometriosis. We can take the best supplements to reduce inflammation, but if we’re living in a way that triggers the inflammatory response, we’re just putting out fires.
Our brains are programmed to recognize danger to keep us safe. They’ll focus on the aspects of life that cause stress, anxiety, and fear, which can create an environment of chronic stress and lead to chronic inflammation. When we’re under chronic stress, our body reacts more sensitively to pain signals. It also can upset other systems essential to managing endometriosis, such as our gut health.
So what’s the solution? Most important is adopting an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Nutrition is key: lots of vegetables and low-sugar fruits, healthy fats, and herbs and spices. It’s also important to look at the way you’re actually living.
Do your body and mind feel safe? Or do you live in fear of being fired from your job? Are you afraid of your neighborhood? Do you have things going on in your home, within your family, or even structurally within your house that keep you up at night?
It can be difficult to deal with these when we’re not physically strong, so it can be helpful to address your nutrition first. When your body feels more resilient, you can address feelings of safety in your life. The more comfort and security you experience, the more your brain and nervous system will calm down.
Start slowly, adding in small moments of comfort before addressing the bigger areas — unless you like to dive in and get things done! Here are a few ideas:
- Try slow movement: Vigorous exercise raises cortisol levels, and we want to reduce those. Slow movement such as gentle walking and yoga calm the nervous system and create feelings of well-being.
- Get outside: Being outside in nature has been shown to alleviate feelings of anxiety and fear, and has been found to help us cope with pain.
- Meditate: Calm, Waking Up, and Headspace are apps to help you meditate simply at home.
- Implement mindfulness: Instead of trying to do multiple things at once, focus on one task at a time. Take three breaths at the end of each task so that you can refresh and let go before moving on.
- Pray: You don’t have to be religious. You can connect with the universe, God, your higher self, or whatever you believe in. Make it a sacred space where you can be honest about your fears, hopes, and contemplations.
- Seek more comfort: Create a haven for yourself with soft blankets, loose and relaxing clothing, soft lighting, big cushions, or simply a good book.
- Connect with people: Share your fears and hopes with others, ask for help when you need it, laugh, and have fun. If endometriosis restricts what you can do with your loved ones, find activities that suit your body. Perhaps it’s going to the movies or simply having a night in together.
Start small, get stronger, and tackle the rest.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Endometriosis News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to endometriosis.