For people with Hashimoto’s Disease, a post-election Thanksgiving with a politically-diverse family could bring unwanted inflammatory triggers, such as anger, stress, and fear.  These strong negative emotions can overwhelm a challenged immune system and worsen classic hypothyroid symptoms: insomnia, depression, gut problems, brain fog, chronic pain, and fatigue.

At Carolinas Thyroid institute, we appreciate the spirit and benefits of Thanksgiving, but we also know that some people with Hashimoto’s Disease will face difficult family gatherings.  As a Functional Medicine doctor, I give my patients tools to keep inflammation low.  For help, schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation with me, Dr. Steven Roach, on our Contact Us page or by calling (704) 853-8000.

Choose to avoid inflammatory triggers

Facing political discussions with a willingness to choose peace over winning an argument is important.  Remaining calm is crucial, not just for interpersonal relationships but for physical health.  Hashimoto’s patients can diffuse tense situations and avoid inflammatory triggers by adopting a few helpful techniques:

  1. Breathe from the diaphragm to improve oxygen flow, slow heart rate, and inhibit stress.  Rapid chest breathing, on the other hand, puts the body into a tense fight-or-flight mode.

2. Don’t allow low blood-sugar to get low enough to produce a “hangry” feeling.  There should always be healthy snacks nearby.  

3. Avoid inflammatory foods and excess alcohol.

4. Try breathing from alternate nostrils.  This is done by pressing the right nostril shut to inhale through the left nostril; then exhaling through the right nostril by pressing the left nostril shut; and reversing the process.  The result is lowered stress, a more focused mind, and a slower heart rate.

5. Have an attitude of gratitude.  Thanksgiving is about gratitude, which is essential for health.  Giving thanks is good protection against inflammatory triggers like fear and anger.

6. Get plenty of sleep.  Exhaustion is stressful for the body and make us more vulnerable to negative emotions.

7. Extend acceptance and love to those with whom you disagree.  It isn’t necessary to understand someone else’s point-of-view in order to accept and to love them.

Though Thanksgiving with family can be a wonderful thing, assess whether a particular family gathering is helpful or toxic.  If a situation is too stressful to contemplate, consider another option.  Avoiding inflammatory triggers has to be a priority for Hashimoto’s patients, to ensure a long and healthy life.