By Melanie Koeman
Naturopath, Specialising in Women’s Health (currently on sabbatical)
They call it a ‘woman’s instinct’, that ability to sense other’s emotions, to have a sixth sense about the undercurrents of the human psyche. We have all experienced the magic of intuition and yet…many of us modern women are quick to dismiss or rationalise ourselves with our logical mind.
Life is busy, life is full of goals, ambition, places to be, things to do. Women have a lot to listen to – their family, partners, media, work – and often we miss the subtle wave length of our own ‘station’.
A wise person once said to me “a woman’s system is a very sensitive barometer to the environment in which it lives. Many influences, both internal and external, can upset the natural feedback communication systems women have. Stress is the biggest disruptor of this magic system.”
Over the years, this wisdom has rung strong and true for me and my patients. It became clear that the term STRESS is a unique, individual internal experience and not necessarily a result of the usual or expected triggers. For example, stress can be felt internally as pressure and expectation –
“I must” …”I must not”
“I should” … “I shouldn’t”
“What will ‘x’ think?”
“I’m not fit enough, I’m not stylish enough, slim enough, good enough at…”
“I will be judged for this part of me”
“I don’t like this part of me”
“If I don’t do this I won’t receive praise”
“I have to behave like this to compete with others at work … to be seen …”
This type of stress affects the deep, primitive control centre of the brain called the hypothalamus. This centre recognises many emotions such as fear, worry and joy. It then sends messages to the pituitary – the commanding hormonal gland. This gland then talks to the adrenal glands (your stress glands) and the ovaries (your reproductive glands) and the thyroid (your metabolic control gland), amongst others. If the talk and feedback is interfered with due to stress, then a number of hormonal problems and imbalances occur including irregular periods, PMS, infertility, breast cysts, depression, anxiety, fatigue, blood sugar and thyroid problems.
Practicing self-acceptance, kindness to self, trusting in your intuition, nurturing self-reflection (*Yin characteristics) can result in rewards as profound and life-changing as ovulation and pregnancy (if desired), through to better sleep and energy.
Recognising the Yin and Yang in your self is essential to balance. The Yang is ambition, drive, pressure, adrenalin, achievement, exertion (and caffeine!). The Yin is internal softness, kindness, gentleness, acceptance, moisture, intuition. Cultivate both and you nourish the feedback systems essential for being a whole woman in tune with your nature.