Why am I in a funk (part 1)?
Feeling a lack of motivation?
Racing thoughts or thoughts of doom?
Constipation or diarrhea?
Nail biting or dry skin?
The list goes on....
Did any of the above symptoms resonate with you? Are you maybe feeling in a funk?
When looking at the concept of being in a "funk" from a functional medicine perspective we first look at what are you doing every day and a big component of your everyday life is...you guessed it... STRESS!
Stress is everywhere and impacts everyone! Understanding how the stress response works will help to understand how the body then responds.
So when you first experience a stress, your body will react in alarm. You may feel your heart rate increase, breathing increase, muscle weakness, dizziness, etc. As stress continues and becomes constant you may start to experience some of the symptoms listed above as well as many more.
So what can you do to help fight off the stress response? First, if you can remove the stressor, do so. Second, if the stressor is something you must deal with daily, or rather consistently, find ways to allow yourself relaxation and activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation. When our systems are constantly bombarded with stressors, our sympathetics take over and our parasympathetics become weaker.
Some great ways to help "strengthen" the parasympathetic and promote relaxations are:
Deep breathing: Close your eyes, unclench your jaw, relax your shoulders. Take 3 deep breaths, breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth.
Movement: Just as little as 5 minutes of moving your body and getting your heart rate up can have a positive impact.
Sunshine: Vitamin D helps to stimulate the nervous system to release Dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. During the winter months it becomes very difficult to get the therapeutic amount of Vitamin D from the outdoors, so it may become necessary to find a quality supplement.
Social interaction: This has become difficult with the world we are living in, but finding ways to stay connected with others is important.
Over the next coming weeks, we will continue to discuss the concept of being in a "funk". We will share the functional medicine perspective as well as tips and tricks to help you if you feel like you are in a "funk".