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Reduce Stress To Relieve Constipation

Dr. Karlo Mauro, N.D.

About seven years ago, at four o'clock in the morning, my wife was nursing my daughter Ella. Suddenly Natalia says in a hushed voice, "Karlo, wake up. I hear something. Someone's at the front door."

I peeked down the stairs. A flashlight beamed in through the window. I'm thinking, "This is not a good scene."

The flashlight starts moving. I see it go past my bathroom window. Picking up the phone, I hit 9-1-1.

The operator confirms my address and then says, "Sir, don't worry, it's the police."

"Oh," I say matter-of-factly. I start going down the stairs to open the door.

"Sir," the operator continues, "Do you have a two-year old boy?"

"Yes. Why?" I ask.

"Is he in his bed right now?"

Flight-or-Fight Is Not The Right Term To Describe What Happened Next

I suddenly turn around, race back up the stairs, frantically screaming, "No, no, no!"

"Don't worry sir," says the operator. "We have him. He's safe."

I burst into Alek's room and find him lying there safe and sound asleep.

"What the --?"

Confused, I go back downstairs and open the door for the police officer. He tells me they found a kid walking down the street in his pajamas, barefoot. They were looking in backyards for kids' toys, so they'd know whose doors to start knocking on.

That moment, though, when the operator asked me if Alek was in his room, my whole world stopped. Now, all of you know the story turned out okay, but imagine how it was for me at the time.

I went from half-asleep to leaping staircases, in less than a second.

Two Little Glands Sitting On Top Of My Kidneys Did That

During stress, the adrenal glands shoot out cortisol and adrenaline sending our bodies into red alert (hence the term adrenaline rush). A biological feature dating back to prehistoric times. Genetically designed to cope with life and death situations -- e.g. wrestling a bear or fleeing a tiger. "Flight-or-Fight" mode.

Blood moves to your muscles, heart, lungs and brain. The heart pumps faster, breathing speeds up, pupils dilate and your muscles fill with blood, ready to run and flight... or stay and fight. Energy moves away from non-essential organs like your digestive tract (digesting dinner suddenly isn't important anymore -- you're trying to avoid becoming dinner).

This is great for true life and death situations. Yet, all too often we keep our cortisol levels not quite at red alert, but at least at yellow. Daily trials (that are so important, we've forgotten them a week later) put your body into this Flight-or-Fight mode, which slows down the body's natural healing abilities.

Chronically elevated cortisol levels are now understood to be a major factor in developing:

• Increase abdominal fat
• High blood pressure
• High cholesterol levels
• Lowered immunity
• Imbalanced sugar levels
• Insomnia
• Chronic fatigue, etc.

What Keeps Us On The Edge Of Flight-or-Fight?

Many of us watch the nightly news just before going to bed. Murder. War. Famine. Rape. Politics. Not really "bed time story" material. Then what happens? First thing in the morning we grab the newspaper or turn to the computer for more cortisol-pumping news.

No wonder we're all either ready to flee or fight. Keep in mind "flight" is no better than "fight." As a reader once commented to me, if you're face-to-face with a puma, fighting the beast proves less risky than outrunning it (he actually survived an encounter with a wild puma while visiting California).

So what happens after our morning paper? We start heading off to work with local news on the radio. First up, all the car accidents that took place while we were still finishing our bowl of oatmeal. (I suspect that if the CTRC banned such reports we'd see a massive decrease in road wrecks.)

Next, in case we'd forgotten, the newscaster reiterates the horror stories we witnessed just before going to bed the night before. Add this to a little road rage and it's a recipe for disaster.

My Stress-Reduction Prescription:
A One Week News Fast

Pick one week this month where you don't read the paper (except the comics) and don't watch or listen to the news. If some groundbreaking news happens -- "Statue of Liberty flown via helicopter to Paris in landmark exchange program for the Eiffel Tower" -- you'll hear about it via word of mouth, no worries.

This should help reduce your cortisol levels, which will improve your digestive tract, help shed a few pounds of abdominal fat, increase the efficiency of your immune system and help you get a good night's sleep.

Yours in Natural Health,

Dr. Karlo Mauro, N.D.

Dr. Karlo Mauro, BSc, BA, MSEd, ND
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
Constipation Relief Strategies For Women

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