As we roll into 2016 what is it that YOU hope to change, reinvent, reconsider, move towards or away from in the coming year?
New Year’s resolutions are often among the most noble of ideas, centered on self-improvement, education, health, lifestyle and relationships. Yet statistics show that only eight percent of us successfully reach our aspirations.
Experts tell us that the more specific the goal, the better the chance of achieving it. So what if this time 'round we tackle our New Year’s resolution-making strategically? What if by making a single fundamental change we could tackle all our best laid intentions at one fell swoop?
I’m talking about kicking off this New Year by taking stock of our hormonal health. Sound far-fetched? Not really. Silent hormone imbalances are all too often the culprit behind the fatigue, foggy thinking, overeating, lost libido and depression that dogs our days and sabotages our best efforts year after year.
If this sounds like an exciting new premise you are ready to wrap your arms around, read on. Here’s how hormone balance could well be the key to having all our Top 10 Resolutions for 2016* fall into place:
- Lose weight - Hormone imbalances can program us to put on the pounds.
Many women, especially those in menopause and the years approaching it (peri-menopause), have an estrogen dominance problem. As ovulation wanes and less progesterone is produced, this leads to weight gain in the hips, thighs and bottom. An imbalance of cortisol stress hormones is another roadblock to losing weight, with high levels fueling appetite, sugar cravings and the accumulation of belly fat. Low thyroid hormones and/or deficiencies of elements like selenium or iodine crucial to active thyroid conversion can also slow metabolism, making it easy to gain weight and harder to lose.
- Get organized - Hormone imbalances can run interference on getting your house in order. If for example you have low testosterone it can be tough to think straight. Out-of-whack cortisol levels can make us unfocused and easily distracted, while estrogen lows are linked with foggy thinking and difficulty putting things in order. Not particularly helpful if you're aiming to finally get organized this year.
- Save more, spend less - Stress hormones in particular can trigger feelings of being overwhelmed, impulse behaviors, and lack of control: this in effect can lead to OVERdoing it in more ways than one: overeating, overworking, overspending, etc.
- Enjoy life to the fullest - Hormones can play havoc with our zest for living. Estrogen/progesterone fluctuations are famous for unleashing a rollercoaster of moods and emotions, androgens (DHEA and Testosterone) high or low can cause us to feel on or off the edge, while those darn stress hormones can send us spiraling 'round the rabbit hole. Hardly a formula for achieving this most lofty of resolutions.
- Stay fit and healthy - Hormone fitness is a must. That means that all the hormones in our body need to be in the right proportions with one another: estrogens, androgens, adrenals and thyroid hormones work closely together to protect the health of our heart, brain and nervous system, muscles and bones, skin and hair.
- Learn something exciting - Learning about hormones and the essential role they play in governing our physical, mental and emotional functions throughout life IS exciting!
- Quit smoking - Reduce stress hormones to reduce the smoking urge. Having a smoke is synonymous with curbing anxiety, a bad habit time out that is better spent doing exercise, deep breathing, meditation, yoga, etc., all of which are deeply rebalancing when it comes to our hormonal health.
- Help others in their dreams - To sleep, perchance to dream; this too is a hormone matter. To dream day or night we must first sleep. Balanced levels of melatonin in tandem with cortisol regulate the rhythms of sleep and waking. A well-rested mind and body provides the inner calm and tranquility needed to help invest our own dreams, and those of others, with purpose and meaning.
- Fall in love - When looking for love we don’t want our hormones playing out of tune. Hormones are often compared to a symphonic orchestra; the string, woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments all playing in perfect harmony. So too must the hormones of our internal orchestra play in tempo; otherwise we can find ourselves out of sorts, out of libido, and out of love.
- Spend more time with family - "Once I got my hormones balanced my family wanted to spend more time with me!" Quality family time is often rationed by our impatience, irritability, or stress levels - all hallmark signs of hormone imbalance. When we can’t understand why we say things we don’t mean, or make so little time for the people we love most in all the world, it’s a good idea to consider the state of our hormones.
Hormone testing can identify hidden imbalances that put us at odds with our own resolutions for self-improvement in the New Year.
*Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
Research Date: December 27th, 2015