As women, how do our hormones affect our emotional wellbeing? 

Anyone who has suffered PMT, or knows a sister, flatmate or daughter can tell you…
Its like jekyl and hyde!

A very sweet lovely calm happy person becomes a snappy teary terror.

The strange thing is that often you have absolutely no insight. You feel horrible but the next day you get your period its like ‘oh thank goodness…. its not me its the hormones….’ they just take over and create a different cranky person.

This is pure Progesterone and Oestrogen, with just a little Testosterone thrown in.

Hormones are messengers, they turn cell processes on and off.  They don’t do it alone – its like a symphony, and they all need to be in sync.  It can sound beautiful like Bach… or like clanging symbols. This happens when one drowns out the other – usually too much oestrogen and not enough progesterone.

Emotion mood and hormones. –

These locally acting hormones which affect brain cells are called neurotransmitters – such as dopamine and serotonin which are the feel good calm happy hormones that help create that lovely balance.  In a nutshell –  too much of these = anxiety  and too little = depression.
Emotional wellbeing is the ability to feel balanced, stable, tension free and to connect with our life and loved ones. If we are imbalanced, reactive, tense and in discomfort we are unable to focus outward and we become very ‘inward dwelling’.
Importantly our emotions affect our hormones also – the field of psychoneuroimmunology which is my first field of research and I wrote a thesis in 1998 explains some of these connections. One simple example of this which is really powerful – a university took method actors and had them play a role in a shakespeare death scene, or a comedy. They  tested their blood levels of hormones and neurotransmitters before and after and were amazed at the dramatic changes in the blood results – and they were only acting so real or vividly imagined the body and brain do not distinguish.  We can change our hormones and chemistry with our thoughts mood and emotions,
Lets go back a step
Here are 3 questions I was recently asked on a podcast interview –
– What are some possible indicators that you might need ‘better hormonal support’? 
There are the obvious period irregularities, heavy, painful, irregular, but others can be adult acne, mood swings, poor sleep, and dry skin.
Weight gain – creeping up a little in the 30’s then a bit more in the 40’s
cortisol is a driver of weight around the middle
oestrogen excess shows as weight around the bum/ thighs
Decreased mental function and short term memory
Poor sleep – melatonin imbalance
and  poor stress tolerance – cortisol/noradrenalin imbalance
– Top three ways we can maintain healthier hormone levels? in your 20’s? 30’s? 40’s? and onwards? 
1. Keep your cortisol steady – eat low GI foods. If you have a tendency to producing adrenalin ad cortisol, move your body and use it up.
2. Don’t let yourself develop nutrient deficiencies – depletion can take years and its a slow process the body robs from the least essential processes to protect the most essential – so our mental health changes from deficiency comes later in life. Prevent that early.
3. Eat Fat – good cold pressed vegetable oils not heated
-Your personal best practices or go to rituals/remedies when you are feeling stressed and/or in crisis? What works best for you?
After I burnt out – working shift work in a busy hospital for years with little babies is really a recipe for disaster – and I had to do it to the extreme – renovate a house, travel and with perfectionistic OCD tendencies!  I really crashed and had to take 12 months off.  It took that long to slowly rebuild my HABITS
Habits are the most important too to good health and a happy life.  What you do on autopilot everyday that makes up the majority of how you move eat think sleep play – that is what keeps you well and happy.
Mindfulness is essential now for me.
Mindfulness is on trend, and I’ve always meditated but its only this year that I realised that I’ve never been single minded clear focused on one task at a time and in the flow of the moment.
The role of meditation in healing is well documented.
The book by Jon Kabat-Zinn   ‘Where ever you go there you are’ is my favourite – read his page on oven cleaning – amazing.
But when you work with babies you are always somewhere else, guilt distraction multitasking – it burns out your neurons and adrenals quick smart.
Avoiding the cortisol at all costs – no refined sugar although Im human and I cracked a little when the easter bunny came, the interesting thing is the more in tune you are and the cleaner you eat the less you can tolerate and the more severe the effect.
This goes with alcohol also – this is a common crutch that can sneak in very easily, its a lovely ‘downer’ has a sedating calming effect and after a stressfull day its easy to have one glass or two and then you rely on it. I started my feb fast this january, then continued into february and march, when i had a few glasses on the easter weekend it was such a severe and unpleasant effect that i just didn’t want to feel that way. So time
I bath, with Epsom salts most nights – I know I need the magnesium, the water and the few minutes to meditate.  I sleep from 9.30 –  a lovely friend I was with the other day had her alarm go off at 9pm and told me that was to remind her to go to bed!.
Sleep like a baby, and if you don’t work out why and change that cycle.  You can still sleep like a baby in short bursts, with a little baby, but to get off to sleep easily, go through the cycles of rem sleep and dream –   My answers are Melatonin, Kava, and chamomile.
Which brings us to Tonics – when you are not sick and don’t need medication but you are not well and need a boost or kick in the organs.
Herbal tonics are so effective and powerful.