A number of years ago, large amounts of my hair started to fall out. This is an experience that many of my clients have also gone through. They would ask, “how can I get my hair to grow back, to thicken or to stop falling out?”
In 2019 I was asking myself the same questions.
During my journey back to healthy hair, I learned a lot. There were things I was able to implement right away (you can read more about those in “Hair loss, thinning hair, itchy scalp and stress”) and others longer-term approaches.
Hair-related issues can be caused by a number of things. As is often the case, the answers can lie in unaddressed areas of our body, mind and spirit. I want to share with you the three steps I took to address the underlying issues that were causing my hair loss.
Step 1: Identify your sources of stress
Hair loss is usually connected to stress, whether that is mental stress, or additional stress on the body due to an illness.
This meant that my first step was to identify the sources of my stress. I knew that 2019 had been an exceedingly stressful year for me with pressure at work and financial stress. The build-up of stress had started in the years leading up to 2019, and then covid hit soon after.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. It can be physical, emotional, or environmental, on an acute and short-lived basis or lifelong. Stress creates metabolic changes inside our body, even if we don’t notice this day-to-day. Continued stress leads to increased oxidative stress, which quite commonly leads to symptoms like hair loss.
Take some time to identify your sources of stress. Our ability to handle the stress in our lives can be impacted by what we have going on in our lives, so if your sources feel too “small”, be mindful that your capacity to manage stress can be diminished if you’ve been coping with it for a long time.
Hair loss is the perfect example of this stress cycle. I, too, found my experience to be extremely distressing and frustrating. However, focusing solely on the symptoms or only exploring symptom management can often exacerbate our stress response (particularly when the intervention fails).
Step 2: Find your ideal ways to cope with stress
There are many ways to cope with stress, yet it’s important to find the ones that work for you.
I began to explore different methods I could use to find those that were the most effective for me. Everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work as well for someone else. It’s a matter of experimenting until you find your ideal mix.
The four methods that were most effective for me were:
- Tapping (sometimes called emotional freedom technique or EFT)
- Working with a practitioner to connect to my intuition via meditation
- Moving my body outdoors
- Connecting with animals (I was doing this in combination with being outside, walking my dog or riding my horse)
The common thread between these methods is that they disrupted my everyday patterns. They gave my body a chance to realise that it didn’t need to be in fight or flight mode. There were no tigers nearby, and I could relax.
Do you already know your ideal ways to cope with stress? If you do, have you been making enough time in your day to do them? I knew I’d let my work come first and hadn’t been making enough time for myself. During that time, I hadn’t addressed how I was responding to the sources of stress in my life. I wasn’t as sick as I had been when I started exploring the root cause protocol, so I kept on pushing myself forward and not listening to my body.
Step 3: Identify your recurring patterns
As you begin to cope with and lower your levels of stress, you’ll have the mental capacity to identify recurring patterns that have been contributing to the stress.
My recurring patterns related to how I was showing up in my work and business. I had become a “yes” person – saying yes to everything, regardless of whether I actually had the capacity for the work or was the right person to be doing that work. As women, we can fall into the trap of being people pleasers, and I came to see that was what I had done. This then flowed into my feeling undervalued as I was putting in all of this extra work, going above and beyond, but wasn’t being recognised for it.
Identifying my recurring patterns didn’t happen overnight. I sought the support of a practitioner to help me identify and shift these patterns and clear the unhelpful beliefs I had developed over time.
Be kind to yourself in this journey, some of your patterns may have built up over years, and it can take time to break them down and develop more helpful patterns. As well as speaking to a practitioner, I also found reading books really helped me to identify and shift my recurring patterns.
Are you already aware of the recurring patterns that contribute to your stress? What kind of support would be most useful for you to have to identify and shift those patterns?
In a day and age of quick fixes, where people are often searching for a shampoo, a supplement, or a hair treatment to solve their hair loss, I’ve found many aren’t looking closely at why the hair loss happened.
The solution lies beyond ‘symptom management’
Once you look deeper into ‘why’, you can find ways to slow or halt hair loss without fancy lotions or potions, which aren’t getting to the root cause of the issue. I was intrigued as I listened to a podcast that discussed regenerative farming and meditation – an unlikely duo (podcast here). At one point, they talked about the need to look further out to where we want to go, to be able to see a complete picture and how easy it could be to miss important parts of what’s happening due to a narrow focus. It dawned on me that this is what I’ve seen with so many who are experiencing hair loss. We’re often caught up in the loudest problem at hand and blaming whatever may be nearby at the time. We can’t see that the problem isn’t directly related to what we think it is, or that it’s only a small factor.
When it comes to our health, the symptoms we are experiencing now are typically a by-product of months or years of contributing factors. Blaming the food we’ve eaten this week isn’t getting to the core of what is truly being signified in our body with that symptom.
Just like the message of that podcast, if we could look further out than symptom management to see the bigger picture, then our stress will reduce, and our nervous system will calm.
If you have hair loss, thinning or weakening of hair, your body is giving you a clear warning sign that it’s stressed. Addressing underlying causes of frustration and stress is the secret sauce to resolving your hair issues.
If you’re ready to get tailored support for your body, then book a free 15-minute zoom call with one of our team. We’ll discuss your situation, what you’d like to achieve and point you in the right direction with our consult options.