Stress is a Bitch: Here’s What to Do About Her

During midlife hormonal shifts you are more susceptible to negative effects of stress since you’ve got more sources… sleep disturbances, progesterone tanks, libido drops and intimacy with your best friend could be an issue, caught between anything from kindergarteners to adult children and aging parents.. you’ve got the perfect storm.

It’s definitely an obstacle to optimal energy and fitness. I’ve got expert help here today to help offer some new insights.

We’re going to dive into how and why you can prevent the fat storage that’s oh so much easier when you’re under stress, and the brain fog and aging acceleration we all want to avoid.

My guest:

Registered Herbalist (AHG) and Holistic Nutritionist, Danielle Ryan Broda has found her calling as an Instructor of Mycology at Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism, and National Educator at Four Sigmatic. Danielle brings her passion and expertise in herbal medicine, clinical practice, teaching, formulation, and her deep love for fungi, to the Everyday Magic™ of Four Sigmatic.

Stress has become so common in our modern Western world and no one knows it better than a Flipping 50 listener, let’s talk about some of the natural ways we can support ourselves.

 Questions we covered on this stress-busting episode:

  • What are some natural ways to support our bodies in times of stress?
  • We’ve discussed adaptogens previously here on Flipping 50 but a good review of what they are and how they help is always good. What’s the deal with “adaptogens”?
  • There’s a term tossed around “functional mushrooms” and medicinal mushrooms is another… let’s define those and because this is really your secret power, enlighten us about how we might use these to our advantage.
  • Where do functional mushrooms fit into all of this?

5 Four Sigmatic favorites that align with stress and self care:

Mushroom Coffee with Lion’s Mane and Chaga

Adaptogen Coffee with Tulsi and Ashwaghanda

10 Mushroom Blend

Adaptogen Blend + Mushroom Cacao with Reishi

Try Four Sigmatic for yourself(click here)

Use code: Flipping50

Connect on Social Media:

IG @foursigmatic and @danielleryanbroida

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During mental health month I want to touch on the mental health benefits of exercise. Women experience depression – and anxiety – 50% more than men at least up until the age of 65. Hormones play a part, so it’s only fair to fight fire with fire. This post is all about the mental health benefits that occur when you use exercise to positively influence hormones.

[And… if you want to jump down below after the post I share my own and Flipping 50 community members personal shares.]

Women and the Mental Health Benefits from Exercise

What’s gets you out of bed to exercise or motivates you to finally Google up an exercise video or call a health coach is most likely to be weight, energy, arms, or a mother-of-the-bride dress.

What’s gets you hooked so that you won’t give it up is most likely to be the mental health benefits.

The mental health benefits of exercise are numerous. For women in midlife that’s good news.

When hormone levels fluctuate during peri-menopause and menopause brain fog, memory loss, lack of creativity and productivity can plague even the highest functioning woman.

Anyone in today’s fast paced connected 24/7 lifestyle can experience those symptoms. It’s not just a midlife woman thing. But you are more susceptible if you’ve got a lot of external stressors and you’ve got hormone fluctuations happening.

Hormones that Help

Most people first relate exercise with endorphins. It’s true exercise creates endorphins. But that’s the tip of the iceberg. It’s temporary. You’ll need it again. And that’s okay since you need to repeat exercise for physical results. But for long-term mental health benefits other hormones are actually more important.

Serotonin has significant effects on mood and is key in decreasing effects of depression. The anti-depressant effects of exercise are also thanks to brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In fact “SSRIs” are the most often prescribed meds for depression. Their role is to help balance serotonin levels.

Just what mental health benefits can you expect or thank your exercise for?

Decrease Depression & Anxiety

Studies have proven exerciser therapy to be more favorable than medication and cognitive therapy in treatment of depression and anxiety.

Some therapists have employed walking sessions with clients for decades. Women in particular experience a bump in serotonin from exercise, sunshine, and venting with friends.

Girls let girls talk about problems. They don’t have the need to solve them. Talking, or venting, does wonders for developing what women need most, a collaborative and supportive environment.

Exercise recommendations: aerobic, strength training, yoga

Enhance Memory

In You Still Got It, Girl!(available on Amazon) I shared how walking 40 minutes a day three times a week significantly increased hippocampus size. For you and I, that’s memory central. There’s no intensity imposed, you walk your self-selected pace 40 minutes three times a week. That’s it. Not only did the hippocampus of study subjects not shrink – typical atrophy that occurs with aging – it GREW!

Interested in reversing aging? Start with regular exercise. Low to moderate intensity will do if you’re getting start.

Exercise recommendations: walking, biking

Decrease Risk of Dementia and Alzheimer’s

If you just read about the ability of exercise to improve memory, it’s easy to understand the effects of exercise on reduction of both dementia and Alzheimer’s.

So, while there may be genetics working against you (me too says my DNA results), armed with that knowledge, exercise becomes medicineor at best, a vitamin.

Exercise recommendations: dancing, boxing, aerobic classes with choreography

Decrease Brain Fog

Countless studies have proven mental health benefits of increased focus and concentration in regular exercisers. Compared to sedentary individuals, active workers get more done in less time with fewer errors. Looking for the elusive 4-hour workweek? Start exercising!

Specifically, exercise during a workday results in greater problem solving skills, better relationships with co-workers, and greater job satisfaction at the end of the day.

Workouts can be “sweatless” and still provide these mental health benefits. Yoga and stretching were equally as beneficial as vigorous exercise.

Exercise recommendations: walking, running, biking, swimming

Improve Sleep

A National Foundation of Sleep survey found self-reports of sleep improved by 33% with 10 minutes of walking every day. There isn’t any intensity imposed. Just walk. In fact, you can likely insert your favorite activity for 10 minutes and reap similar sleep benefits.

Exercise recommendations: walking, biking, elliptical, aerobic classes

Increase Self-Esteem

Most people who exercise gain confidence and enjoy a healthy sense of self-esteem compared to non-exercisers. The reason for this occurs isn’t necessarily known.

It could be due to the sense of accomplishment. The satisfaction of setting a goal and following through could contribute. It may be a greater appreciation for the physical body provides a mental boost.

It’s probably due in part to all of those.

Exercise recommendations: weight training, walking, biking, swimming 

Decrease Stress

The underlying reason each of these occurs has to do with lowering your allostatic load. That is, your overall stress. Let’s face it, going for a power walk doesn’t make the project deadline go away, eliminate your need to give a speech, or magically change your financial situation.

But it does increase endorphins (short term fix) and serotonin (the real hormone good stuff) so that you offset the negative effect of cortisol.

Exercise recommendations: walking, running, swimming, aerobic fitness classes, strength training, yoga

Optimize Mental Health Benefits Outside

The mental health benefits of outdoor exercise surpass that done indoors. In fact, exercise in green environments (think Central Park vs. NY city streets) was best for promoting mental health benefits. While physical benefits may happen in a wide variety of environments, “forest bathing” is best for above the shoulders.

Comments from Flipping 50 Community members:


I have never been treated with medication for depression except briefly 30 years ago and the second time in early 90s was a physician’s off-label use to try to prevent frequent migraines (didn’t work). Five years ago, in my early-50s I began exercising more regularly than ever in my life in an effort to lose weight. I also changed my nutrition. It helped my moods tremendously. I have dealt with depression and sometimes anxiety since childhood. Working out (or hiking — doing about anything outdoors) definitely helps me deal with stress, and the stress of feeling depression trying to come on. Exercising makes me feel better about myself. It is something I can control.


I started exercising to lose pounds and gain strength. I noticed right away that I felt better mentally as well as physically. Now, if I am not consistent on doing something active I can really feel it. I’ve had depression in the past and now I know that exercise is crucial for me!


I feel much better about myself when I exercise. I feel less anxious, more confident and patient. My doctor has prescribed exercise as an integral part of my treatment. Just like with my medicine, if I miss a “dose” of my exercise, I come to the edge of a slippery slope. It’s not optional if I am to maintain mental health.


I cannot stop exercise. If I do, I would be back on antidepressants. Some of us need the boost to our minds. Not optional for me.

What mental health benefits have you experienced from exercise? Comment below!

CCClick the book image for free support to help you dump stress from all sources. 

Brain Makeover: The Reboot Your Brain Event

Do you need to reboot your brain? What if the secret to cravings, brain fog, burn out was more than exercise and dieting? If you’ve been completely in the physical, a shift to above the shoulders may be in order.

So this episode of Flipping 50 is going to appeal to you! Leah Lund is a Neuro Nutrient Therapist, Hypnotherapist, Rapid Transformation Therapist and Health Coach. She founded One Whole Health to help women reboot their brain to move past anxiety, overwhelm and food or body issues into vibrant health, mental clarity and the courage and capacity to live a fulfilling, happy life.

Her unique Brain Makeover Method  uses Neuro Science, Neuro Nutrition, Hypnotherapy and other techniques as the springboard to help you feel happy and confident and find freedom from anxiety, depression, overwhelm, emotional eating, cravings, low energy, brain fog, insomnia, pain and burn out.

Leah is host of the Reboot Your Brain Event, happening now as we post this episode.

For fitness after 50 and feeling good at every age you need to be firing all cylinders. Learn more about your brain fitness and how to optimize it for your body and your mind’s health. Let’s get started.

Questions we covered in this episode:

  • Why is it hard to get ourselves to do the things that we want to do and that are good for us?
    How can we train our brain to do these things?

“Don’t believe everything you think.”

  • What is neurotransmitter deficiency?
  • What is Neuro Nutrition?
  • What are signs of neurotransmitter depletion?
  • How can you change a deeply ingrained sub-conscious belief?
  • What is emotional capacity?
  • What do women fear most about aging?
  • What’s happening at your event Reboot Your Brain?

Learn more:  

Connect with Leah:

Instagram: @leahlund_onewholehealth 
Twitter: @onewholehealth

You Tube: Leah Lund-The Brain Coach

Linked In:   

Special Events and Programs

Reboot Your Brain on-line show starting April 29, 2019
The Vibrant Woman-signature women’s group coaching program


Interested in Brain Health? You might also like:

Instant Energy

Retrain Your Brain for More Energy

If you can retrain your brain to think differently, you can feel differently, instantly. Christy Mattoon, Mindrewire expert, is sharing tips not only for more energy in part two of the summer energy series, but for better health habit adoption and dumping default habits just because they’ve been a pattern for so long. Change is hard. However, Christy’s solutions today may help you approach change easier than ever.

In today’s Flipping 50 summer energy series episode:

  • What it a whole brain state
  • Why it is so effective in healing, removing stress, and treating trauma
  • How can you (physically) exercise to feel a whole brain difference

In this episode of the summer energy series we cover:

  • How can you retrain your brain for energy
  • Why it’s not just the brain
  • We’ve had the focus in the wrong area
  • The Gut and Energy
  • Production of neurons
  • Gut health promotes brain health
  • Best way to train the brain is to clean out the gut

Spoiler alert!This is the exercise for getting into whole brain state. (You may recognize these techniques in your exercise classes – good warm ups use these techniques- or from yoga poses- or from exercises you may have been taught as a speaker or actor to do prior to going on stage. You’re always “on” too, so they can help you retrain your brain and they require no additional effort or true exercise to do.

Resource Christy mentioned:

Rob Williams video Psychology of Change

Pay attention to these two bullets:

  • Perception defines behavior.
  • Perception defines genes.

You’ve got homework!In the notes for this show add your “What you want statement.” You’ve got to identify it, instead of focusing on what you don’t want in order to attract it. This is going to be important tomorrow!

Coming in part three tomorrow:Your energy is higher, you’re feeling good- what more could you do to sustain or elevate your energy levels? Is there anything to the practice of affirmations?

Link to episode 1 of the summer energy series:

Instant Energy

Subscribe on iTunes so you can listen while you walk or commute:

This series has been brought to you by Flipping 50 and my guest Christy Mattoon. Reach out to her at to book a 30-minute session with her if you want to go deeper.

Bestselling author Dr. Steven Masley shares tips about what to do and what to avoid to prevent memory loss, and improve concentration and brain function. His newest book The Better Brain Solution comes out in January and he’s here to talk about his recommendations for supplements, food, activity and more.

It’s not just genetics. There’s plenty that you can control. Maybe you have started to misplace your keys more frequently. Or you often mix up names of acquaintances. You may enter rooms and immediately forget why. Or perhaps you worry about more serious memory loss in yourself or a loved one.

Maybe you blame these symptoms on the “natural” aging process. Or maybe you chalk it up to being busy and stressed at work.

But the truth is, none of these are “natural” or “normal.”

Take the Better Brain Quiz

This quiz was developed by my friend Dr. Steven Masley – leading physician, nutritionist, trained chef, author, and creator of the #1 health program for Public Television. It’s an easy and quick tool to help you determine how serious your symptoms are, and it will provide personal insight into how your brain is functioning.

5 Supplements recommended by Dr. Steven Masley for a Better Brain:

  1. Omega 3 through diet or supplements

DHA + EPA combined 1000/mg daily

  1. Vitamin D 2000 – 5000/day depending on your needs
  2. B12 100 mgm- 500 mgm
  3. Magnesium – at least 400 mg.

best options glycinate, malate, chelat, theronate (avoid oxide)

  1. Probiotic – 10-12 different types, if you’ve taken an antibiotic recently that wipes them out 25-55 billion a day for months to rebuild them, dietary solutions can include yogurt or kefir if you tolerate dairy and aren’t avoiding it, komboucha, miso, kimchi, and sauerkraut.

What foods can boost a better brain?

Eating just 1 cup of greens a day makes a brain 11 yeas younger than not eating those greens.

Your brain by weight is 40% fish oil and 60% fat. So, avoiding fat will shrink your brain.

Inactivity>elevated blood sugar, depression, cardiovascular risk factors…all influence brain health but the pivotal component is inactivity.

Carbs with pigment and fiber for good brain health and gut health.

Should you eat fat or avoid it? Why can’t you lose fat? Which fats are healthy? Flipping 50 guest Steven Masley MD is a physician, nutritionist, trained-chef, author, and the creator of the #1 health program for Public Television. His research focuses on the impact of lifestyle choices – like fat in your diet – on heart health, brain function, and aging. Connect with Dr Masley:

Leave us a rating in iTunes if this was helpful

Note: very recently I included much of the content of this article in a post for Prime Women. Yoga is attracting so many older adults. I’ve included some additional notes and resources here for you today. Please add your comment to the bottom of the post and let me know what your yoga status is:

Yoga is certainly not new. At over 7000 years old, it has proven staying power. There are an increasing number of reasons why you may want to try it whether you’re 50, 60, 70, or beyond. You may have chosen it already for tone, stress reduction, or the promise of “yoga butt.” Your doctor may have recommended it for blood pressure and wellbeing. But more and more yoga is connected to brain health that may be the start of all benefits.

Older adults are increasingly the subjects of interest in studies about yoga’s brain boosting benefits. The news is uplifting. If you have concerns about Alzheimer’s Disease due to family history, or forgetfulness plagues you more than you lie, go dust off your mat.

It’s well known older adults are at greater risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Lesser, but annoying concerns, like forgetting whether you locked the front door and forgetting where you put your cell phone, are likely a factor of our increasingly stressful lives.

It’s well known that brain exposure to high levels of cortisol is a contributing factor to cognitive deficits as we age. It’s a cumulative effect. If you’ve lived with perceived high stress for long periods of time you’re more susceptible to cognitive decline or dementia.

Yoga and Alzheimers

Would you practice yoga one hour a week and meditate 20 minutes a day to prevent Alzheimers? A study at UCLA proved that it might be time well spent. Subjects who did Kundalini yoga for an hour just once a week along with meditation 20 minutes a day minimized cognitive impairments that precede Alzheimers better than memory enhancement exercises.

If your time is limited you may want to turn off Luminosity brain games and find a mat if you want to reduce risk of brain decline.

Do you forget your children’s names? Do you catch yourself in the middle of telling a story and have to ask if you’ve told it before? Have you forgotten important things both present and past? Again, you might want to strike a yoga pose.

The results in another small study showed that your memory recall could be just as good following a once weekly yoga class and a few minutes a day of meditation as if you performed weekly memory enhancement training. So if you’re looking to keep your body and your brain nimble, yoga may be the prescription you get.

Yoga is unique

In case you’re wondering if another activity would do, the answer so far is, no. Even considering the most closely related activity, stretching, yoga emerges as the winner.

Yoga has an effect that other traditional exercise may not in terms of cognitive health. At least one study proved this. The study explored the benefits of yoga by comparing subjects practicing yoga to subjects stretching for the same amount of time weekly for 8 weeks.

Subjects assigned to the yoga group improved in their cognitive function and decreased cortisol while the stretching group declined in cognitive function and increased in cortisol. Hands down (on a mat) yoga wins that one.

Yet another study showed yoga caused improvements in attention and processing speed. Say you’re having trouble staying focused at work or finishing a book. You can’t remember what you read. You can condition your brain through yoga just like you would your body through weight training. Yoga that includes poses, or asanas, as well as movement, and meditation seems to offer the most brain benefits.

Tip: If you’re new to yoga, look for a Hatha yoga class. That would include all the components of brain enhancing yoga used in the studies. You should be able to find a beginner class or one that is done using props or even in chairs if you need accommodations for joints or other conditions. There are a wide variety of dvds and live streaming video programs available online as well as your local fitness studios. If you need special assistance you can find a yoga therapist who similar to a personal trainer used to working with specific medical conditions, can focus on your specific needs.

For some simple flowing series, broken down into short segments, watch this free YouTube video playlist. These do involved weight on the wrists and shoulders and inversions (head below the heart) in some poses. Check with a doctor first, before starting any new activity.

Now it’s time for your flip. I love hearing from you. Let me know if you’ve got a special condition, be it balance, joint or muscular complications, that make exercise a challenge.

Then watch for future posts specific to your condition.


Dr. Devaki Lindsey Berkson connects the dots of science, informing the public about emerging health issues and then recommending safe, natural answers. She pioneered the concept the unappreciated role of hormones and intimacy with the gut. She shares with Flipping 50 the good and bad estrogen, talks soy or not to soy, and her brand new book Sexy Brain.

Learn more about Dr. Berkson, her new book, and your sexy brain:

Reach here at

Resource we mentioned:

Natural Answers for Women’s Health (available on Dr Berkson’s website)


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