7 Strategies to deal with Graves’ disease mental symptoms and negative emotions.

Graves’ disease (or any thyroid disorder for that matter), as we all know, come with a nice set of mental symptoms like irritability, emotional liability, nervousness, restlessness, depression, anxiety and worrying, to name a few…

It’s a well-known psychological fact that emotions feed your thoughts and thoughts feed your emotions. If you feel angry, sad, frustrated etc. and keep thinking about the person or situation that caused you feel that way, you will “fuel” these emotions even more. That’s a never-ending circle but you can choose different emotions or different thoughts to break that vicious circle. How this happens in practice?

The emotional container of every person can hold up only certain quantity of emotions, it’s not expandable. It can hold up, let’s say, up to 2 gallons of emotions, not more. And you can fill out this container, so speaking, with whatever you want. Do you prefer joy, or sadness, or something else? It’s up to you!

There are also a few strategies that I used, and I still use to keep my negative emotions under control:

  1. Exaggerating worry strategy and designating a special day of the week for your negative emotions.  Let’s say you choose Fridays to worry, be sad, self-pity yourself or be angry..This is your special day but only on this day you’re allowed to have your negative emotions. Postpone if they happen another day of the week. You’ll be surprised that this psychological trick really works!
  2. I am challenging you on this particular day to take a short break and start worrying about everything that comes to your mind: your job, your money, your mortgage, your husband, your kids, your parents, about global warming and politics, about deadlines and health. Start worrying and continue this way to the point where you become one big walking “Worry” and nothing else.
  3. Now, let’s turn this upside down  or, as I like to say, flush this emotional toilet. Replace these very “unproductive” thoughts and turn your worries into: What if only good things happen to me… What if…. I find a better job, my kids do well at school, they are healthy, kind and understanding, my parents are in good health, my husband /wife wants to cook me a dinner or take me out, I have enough money, I finish my projects on time and so forth. What you gonna do with all that goodness that come on your way? You get my point. When these types of thoughts fill up your emotional toilet there will be no space left for the negative ones. We can worry about positive things as well, if we choose to do so.  It’s that simple.
  4. Cultivate gratitude. Every night before going to bed grab a notebook and list just 3 things that you are grateful or blessed for (only for that particular day).  These could be things like: food on your table, roof over your head, the beautiful day outside, the rain, the nice sales person, the time you had to rest, a promotion at work, nice conversation with a friend, good news about something. I am sure you can come up with something worth writing down.
  5. Meditation can help you deal with Graves' Disease

    Meditation can help you deal with Graves’ Disease

    Meditate or take some time off for yourself, even 30 min. and do nothing. Or put this 30 min on your to do list and do whatever you want.  I promise, this simple strategy will recharge your energy and make you feel better. I’ve dedicated a whole article about meditation to convince you how good this is for you.

6.  Know that to climb more you should generally carry less. To hear more, talk less. To succeed more, assume less. To gain more, resist less. To excel more, compete less. You’ve heard that from me before. So speaking, simplify your life and focus on just a few priorities (multitasking is not a fashion any more). That simple method will relieve your stress tremendously and make you feel much, much better. 

Passion7. Make passion part of your life. This picture came to me through Facebook, (don’t forget to LIKE us:) and I decided to share that with you as a strategy of coping with negative emotions, because there is nothing that can charge us more than incorporating passion in our lives. Passion is also connected with creativity and as we know, the throat chakra is responsible for creativity. So speaking express yourself with passion! What’s your passion? Planting flowers, writing, sports, hobbies of any kind. Find out what you’re passionate about and do more of that. Doing or creating something with passion will fill up your emotional container with positive emotions (so, there will be no place for negative emotions).

I have to admit that these strategies, regardless how simple and mundane they look, require patience, discipline and consistency. You’ll be creating new habits, but healthy ones, but it’s worth trying.

Happy flushing your emotional toilet! :)

If you have your own strategies and experience you want to share, please do so on my blog below…You can’t even imagine how many people you can help. 

More on the subject of emotions:

Graves’ Disease Mental Health

Living with Graves Disease: 4 Quick Life Style Changes for Better Health and Better Life

Health and Wellness Coaching for Graves’ Disease patients

Do I have more strategies for helping your mental symptoms and negative emotions? Of course I do and they are included in my book “Mental, Emotional and psychological aspects of thyroid disorders” ($24.95). Click on the book to find out more.

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Are Vitamins and Supplements helpful for Graves’ Disease?

Which Vitamins and Supplements are helpful for Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism, when and how you should take them? 

vitamins and supplements for graves diseaseI am sure many of you consider taking vitamins and supplements, especially if you are diagnosed with an auto-immune disease like Graves’ disease. Needless to say, you are right because our food today is not as nutritious as it was decades ago and we are forced to consume genetically modified foods on many levels. However, vitamins and supplements alone will not cure your Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism, as some people believe, while taking a handful with different colored pills. But they can definitely help some of the symptoms, and support the immune system to perform at its best possible level. So speaking, don’t rely exclusively on them, but DO use them, WISELY, same as with herbs and other complementary therapies.

I would like to share some useful information with you regarding which vitamins, supplements and minerals are considered the best for Graves’ disease/ hyperthyroidism and why. It also matters when you take them and how in order to get the most benefit from them. Follow the link below to find out more, and your comments are always appreciated:

Vitamins and Supplements for Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism

Stress and Thyroid problems. How to fix them both.

There is no doubt that stress is a high risk factor in patients with thyroid auto-immune disorders, as found also in a research by Kung, and posted in Clinical Endocrinology in 2008. We speculate at large that stress in our lives caused all kinds of problems. And all people in fact have stress in their lives! However, the above and some other researchers discovered that patients with Graves’ disease experienced greater psychological stress and adverse events prior to the onset of the disease.  They also concluded that as stress may change the immune system (no surprise!), it could play an important role in precipitating the disease in patients predisposed to auto-immune thyroid disorders- namely Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s.

So speaking, stress might be causing your thyroid problems to a big extend but what can you do to stop that stress madness?  Can you  subtract the unnecessary and add just the meaningful to achieve peace of mind, tranquility, harmony and better health? (not necessarily in that order!).

How would your life change if you owned less stuff, did a few things only and said “no” more often?

I’ve discovered a few things that may help you figure it out and simplify your life!

Click here to find out what simplicity did for me and how you can achieve that peace of mind too:

 

VoluntarilySimplicity

How to deal with thyroid antibodies and fix your immune system

4 Methods that can improve your thyroid antibodies, strengthen the immune system and help Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism symptoms

Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s, Rheumatoid arthritis, Addison disease, Diabetes Type 1, Lupus etc. are disorders of the auto-immune system.  One of the differences between them is that they affect different organs. Many people suffering from Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease have a compromised immune system but they wrongly target the thyroid itself through RAI treatment and thyroid surgery. The thyroid is the victim, not the offender!

AutoImmuneDisease

 

But is there a way to help and treat the immune system in such a way that the thyroid will heal itself and reverse the autoimmune condition, regardless if it is Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s? It happens there is! I’ve listed 4 methods that I know and researched (some of them I even tried) that help the immune system to recover, check for details below:

How to recover your auto-immune system, improve thyroid antibodies and reverse Graves’ disease

Stress and Thyroid Disorders. What can you do about it?

Neurology, Stress and Thyroid Disorders. Stress as one of the causes of thyroid disorders and what can you do about it?

In the past 10 years, I’ve been asked repeatedly by many people what exactly causes thyroid disorders, and especially the autoimmune type. Apart from the pure psychosomatic explanation and the many other contributing factors I can enlist, the only other thing that came to my mind, in one word, is “stress” or inability to deal with it, in general. But that is only on the surface. Everyone is under stress, no doubt about that. How we handle that stress and specifically how those of us diagnosed with thyroid disorder handle it is totally another question.There is a growing evidence in the scientific field, discussing the relation between stress and auto-immune disorders, and I have to admit I am not surprised, I am actually convinced that one of the major factors for triggering Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism or any other auto-immune disorder for that matter is exactly stress. The simple explanation about how stress affects us is demonstrated with the so called Vasomotoric cycle, first explained by Gerda Boysen, in 1980s. Graves’ disease patients can easily find themselves in the upper left corner of the pictured, “fixed” in the charging and expression mode.

VasomotoricCycle1

But there is one thing, that can actually help stress management: this tool is 100% free, safe to use,  easy accessible, and requires very little of your time. The results are profound, even only after 8 weeks of use, as proven by the scientific research so far and by my personal experience on the subject.

To learn more about this tool, click on the link below:

Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism and the power of 30 minutes 

 

Is your endocrine/immune system down because of dangerous chemicals?

Are you being poisoned without knowing? Your thyroid system may be disrupted because of dangerous chemicals…But there are things you can do to solve this problem….

In my youth, I have to admit, I used many cosmetic products, in order to look pretty (and who didn’t?) Every day I fed my skin with dozens of cosmetic products, as probably you do that too- shampoos, face creams, tonics, make up, lipstick, conditioners, you name it. I also believed that that if these products are sold on the in the stores, someone took the time to check them, had tested them and approved to be safe. Not so folks! FDA (in the USA for example) may not really have your best interest in mind, but I won’t talk about why here. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics the European Union currently bans over 1,300 chemicals from its cosmetics. In contrast, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned or restricted only 11. In the U.S., major discrepancies in federal law allow the cosmetics industry to put thousands of synthetic chemicals into personal care products that are not tested for safety, even if those chemicals are connected to cancer, disruption of the immune and endocrine system, reproduction or birth defects. If you don’t believe me, read for example the book Toxin Toxout by Bruce Lourie and Rick Smith. I was merely shocked when I read it!

Fragrance1Here are just few of the “most” popular ingredients, often found in cosmetics: 1. Sodium lauryl (ether) sulfate (SLS, SLES) is a former industrial degreaser now used to make soap foamy, it’s absorbed into the body and irritates skin (skin rashes anyone?). 2. Toluene: well-known to disrupt the immune and endocrine system, and fetal development, it’s used in nail and hair products (hair falling, by any chance? Itchy scalp??). 3. Triclosan: used in antibacterial products, hand sanitizers, and deodorants, it is linked to cancer and thyroid system disruption. 4. Phthalates: Plasticizers banned in the EU in children’s toys, but present in many fragrances, deodorants and lotions- linked to endocrine disorders, liver damage and cancer.5. Parabens:  used as preservatives, but linked to cancer, thyroid disruption, and reproductive toxicity. 6. Paraphenylenediamine (PPD): used in hair products and dyes, but toxic to skin and immune system. These and many other products I call the “silent killers” of our bodies. 

The list above is not complete neither exhaustive. But you get the idea, right?

The older I got, the more I read, the more convinced and scared I became, as I found that cosmetic industry uses thousands of synthetic chemicals in its products, with ingredients that are also used in industrial manufacturing processes to clean industrial equipment, stabilize pesticides and grease machines, all of them deadly dangerous to us. Can we all agree that a substance that effectively cleans your garage floor may not be the best choice to put on your face? And do you know that your conditioner is actually a perfumed fabric softener? Things you don’t know can hurt you and sometimes kill you, and I am not trying to scare you, but to offer you solutions that may help the recovery of your immune system and your health. Every little thing matters and counts, when comes to your health.

So, how all this may affect you?

And as we well know Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s disease are actually not thyroid disorders; they are disorders of the auto-immune system that target the thyroid. Once compromised, confused and disrupted the poor immune system, instead of fighting viruses, starts wrongly targeting different organs in our bodies: the kidneys, the liver, and in our case the thyroid. You may think that what you eat and drink is all that counts, but no…what you put on your body and face counts even more, since the skin is the largest organ of the body, able to absorb quickly everything we put on it! So, let’s be careful what we use.

Solutions. Managing toxicity and inflammation….

The best solution is not to pollute ourselves in the first place; for example, by replacing dangerous substances with safer ones. Second, read these labels, take that time, it’s worthy. If you find ingredients that are not familiar to you or sound more like Mendeleev’s chemical table, please do not buy. It’s not worth your health! 

Third: Try to use natural products, to the best you can. I am not saying you should go broke by buying only organic products (which you could, if money is not an issue!). But sometimes there are simple solution that doesn’t cost so much money or too much efforts. And your body will love it. 

What did I do to resolve the chemical poisoning problem? 

I love experimenting and even making my own cosmetic products (my last experiment was with aromatherapy oils, which continues). But this “natural making products” happen to be time consuming, expensive (you buy larger quantities of ingredients than you need) and sometimes not so successful. It takes time and money to get all the ingredients, to find recipes, to try and see if they are working. I decided to save myself this trouble…but still use natural products. And then, as the Universe likes to conspire on your behalf when you have the right intentions, I met a woman that makes that all for me, with love, as she says.

Teodora21Her name is Teodora Sheriff, mother of three boys, who is devoted to make you beautiful and more healthy at a very affordable price (the natural deodorant she makes with her own hands costs $8, compared to $6.00 and up store chemical deodorant, for example). Initially, she started to “cook” different cosmetics products for herself and her family only, but then she realized that other people are also in need of these natural products, but they may not have the time, resources or energy so she decided to make it more global. This is what she says:

“I believe that everything we need to enjoy a healthy and happy life is given to us by Mother Nature. We just need to look around and remember. Why use synthetic ingredients in our skin care products when there is a great variety of natural oils and butters. An abundance of oils and butters of any kind of plant, fruit, vegetable, spice, etc. are readily available. 

I handcraft all my soaps and lotions with love and joy. I am having so much fun and knowing that my creations are revitalizing for you brings a smile on my face.”

creamHer products contain only a few ingredients, all natural, no preservatives and synthetic/artificial colors, freshly “cooked” upon request. She uses only 100% natural essential oils, dried herbs and flowers, as she explains. And she can even make you a custom order with your favorite ingredients!

I personally have used her natural deodorant, the body butter (I had to restrain myself not to eat it), body scrub and soap, and so far I am very happy with the results- my skin feels soft, smells great and I know that no chemicals were applied to my skin (which by itself feels great as well!). The link to her products is below, indulge yourself! Your body and your face will love these products and will be thankful for not being poisoned and taking such a good care of it!

 Teodora’s Skin Care

Deodorant

Disclaimer 1: Just like with all beauty products test for sensitivity! Even these are all natural products and some of the ingredients are pure organic, make sure you are not allergic to any of the substances used. If in any doubt, test first on a small spot and check in 24 hours.  Enjoy!

Disclaimer 2: I have no financial or other interest of recommending these products, whatsoever. 

The Thyroid Healing Plan- Emotional Part I

I’ve been asked many times what one should do to start the healing process of Graves’ disease and Hyperthyroidism, or any thyroid disorder for that matter. There are two sides of this problem: Emotional (psychological) and Physical (i.e. diet, herbs, supplements, medication etc.). We’ll start with the psychological part because I believe that this is where all started.

First, knowledge is power, we all know that. The more you know, the better decisions you can make. Sometimes, just reading a different opinion, from a different point of view can help you realize that your thyroid disorder may have different backgrounds from what you were told by the doctors (i.e. purely physiological). It should be noted here again that understanding the additional psychological reasons for your disorder does not substitute any medical treatment. Thyroid disorders are also physical disorders, not only mind disorders, and they should be treated medically as well. By that I don’t mean agreeing to invasive procedures like RAI and thyroidectomy, which are irreversible and which I highly suggest to avoid, if not absolutely necessary. But even if you went through them, it is still not late to perform some life style changes before they transform into another disorder (autoimmune or not).

So, what can you do:

  1. I suggest you sit down with pen and paper and go through your hierarchy of needs (specifically your 5 Basic needs below). Examine honestly which of these needs are not met or to what extent they are not satisfied. Understanding what you need in order to be happy with your life is a step towards your healing.
  2. needseditedExamine your emotions and how you feel as a result of your needs not being met. Negative emotions are the ones you should be looking for: rage, anger, resentment, shame, fear, sadness, loneliness, guilt, inferiority. Have in mind that they are probably deeply suppressed in your unconsciousness and not simply available upon your request to be seen and admitted immediately.
  3. Look deeper at close relationships: with family members, children, spouses, parents, siblings, and close friends. These are the relationships that mostly matter and affect us. Emotions related to them, especially negative ones, are the hardest to detect and admit. It is like that because your Super Ego, or the moral aspect of your personality, is trying to protect you from emotions very painful to face, and it will try get in your way by all means. You may go also through the so called denial, which function is to protect the ego from things that the individual cannot cope with. For example: it may not be acceptable to admit that your children are driving you “crazy”, and you feel guilty because good mothers shouldn’t be angry at their children. Or that you don’t love your spouse anymore (but he is a good guy in general), or your parents are a burden (but you shouldn’t feel that way because you are a responsible daughter/son). This is especially true when you don’t have a particular reason and can’t really blame anybody for anything specific. You may be blaming yourself for something you did or said, that is not “morally” and “sociably” acceptable. For example, it’s not morally acceptable to annoyed with your siblings, or children at times, or your best friend. You may be even embarrassed or guilty about experiencing or having these feelings and emotions at all. These I call “secondary emotions”, and they are even more poisonous than the “primary” emotions. You may think for example: “I shouldn’t be resentful to my husband because he is not that bad person overall; he takes care of me”, or “My best friend helped me when I was moving, I shouldn’t be irritated or annoyed that she is ignoring me now, when I need her so badly”. As a result of these ambivalent feelings and emotions, you may feel guilty, angry or frustrated- this time towards yourself. You may also be paralyzed by fear that you can lose financial stability, social prestige, or a friend. You may feel lonely, even though you insist that you prefer to live by yourself or you may fear death, even though you know rationally that “death is part of life” and is inevitable. There are thousands of situations and variations where you can experience negative emotions, but they can hide very deeply in your subconsciousness so even you are unaware of their presence. It’s nobody’s fault, it is the way it is. It’s human. But just admitting, allowing, and inviting them to come to the surface is in many cases enough.
  4. In the process of emotional dissection, I have found very helpful two things: One is meditation, and I already wrote about in other articles. The other method is writing three pages every morning. I learned this method some years ago from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, and since then I write every morning. It doesn’t really matter what you write about as long as you do it every day. Cameron believes that this helps clean out your mental trash every morning, and I assure you that it works very well for me. Get a pretty notebook and start tomorrow. Write about anything you want, the content doesn’t matter. You may put your thoughts, your feelings, your intentions, and desires, or your plan for the day. You don’t even have to read it after that, and nobody else will, so just write. You don’t have to be a writer either. As long as you are literate and can write, in any language, do it. I already have seven notebooks, filled with my life in the past few years. Will I even read them again, I don’t know. But they served their purpose and they still do.
  5. Building your self-esteem and cultivating self-love. Improving self-esteem is a very individual journey. It’s a key part of feeling happy within ourselves, and of feeling that we’re succeeding in the things that matter to us. It is also your road to health. It may be also a slow and difficult process; it’s not a twenty-four hour makeover. But don’t give up, it’s worth the time and effort! There are few methods that can be used to “treat” low self-esteem, even if you believe you don’t have that “disorder”. Again, don’t confuse self-esteem with self-confidence, these are different things, you may be very confident, but if you are reading post, you  may have some of this “low-self-esteem disease” as well.

 Below is a brief schema of the thyroid healing plan; some steps can be omitted if they are not relevant to the specific situation. This is also the plan I usually follow when working with clients, suffering from thyroid disorders.

ThyroidHealingPlan2

More information on this subject you can find in my book: “Mental, Emotional and Psychological Aspects of Thyroid Disorders”.

Hope it all helps your healing journey!

Svetla

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