5 Signs Your Heart is Stressed

5 Signs Your Heart is Stressed
The heart is amazing! Whether you are looking at it from a spiritual, emotional, or physical perspective your heart is a sign of life. 

The question today: "How do you know your heart is stressed?" 

5 Signs Your Heart is Stressed

You're more tired than usual

You might be tired because of stress if you:

  • Have a hard time sleeping.
  • Feel exhausted after a full night's sleep.
  • Have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, even though you've slept well and feel rested.
  • Feel like your energy level has dropped dramatically over the last few months or years.  
(If you would like my Sleep Notes you can click here to read them or text SLEEP to 405-655-5424)

You feel anxious or depressed

If you're feeling anxious or depressed, it's likely that your heart is stressed. Anxiety is a feeling of fear, nervousness, or uneasiness that can be triggered by something specific (like an upcoming meeting) or generalized (the stress of everyday life). Depression is also characterized by low mood and aversion to activity. 

(If you are curious about how stressed you are you can check out my Stress Quiz here.)

You have trouble concentrating

  • Stress can make it hard to focus on one thing. 
  • Brain fog or headaches can also be a sign.

You notice it's harder to make decisions

The process of decision-making is a complex one and can be influenced by stress. Stress can interfere with your ability to think clearly, which is why many people feel confused or overwhelmed when they are under stress. It might seem like an easy fix: just take some time off and relax! However, if we are having a hard time making decisions it's hard to know what to do or how to relax. Often it's a Heart-Brain connection issue and that has to be connected to lower the stress and heal.

You have chest pain or palpitations

Chest pain or palpitations are often the wake-up call symptoms. Yes, they can be a sign of a heart attack and also common symptoms of other cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and arrhythmia. But, so can anxiety and overwhelm. 

If you are having chest pain- often described as a squeezing sensation in the chest that may radiate to other areas of your body (such as arms or shoulders) then it's always a good idea to see a doctor. 

Palpitations are an awareness of your heartbeat--you might feel like it's racing or skipping beats--and they're usually harmless unless accompanied by other symptoms like shortness of breath or sweating profusely, again always good to get checked out. 

If you do experience any of these symptoms your heart is stressed.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to see a doctor. Your heart is an important organ- it's needed to live and it can be stressed out by many factors in your life. If your doctor has given you a "normal" diagnosis or told you to lower your stress - that's always a catch-22. If you knew how to lower your stress you probably wouldn't be having the symptoms in the first place.  

However, a "normal" diagnosis does not mean your heart is not stressed. Don't ignore the 5 Signs Your Heart is Stressed. Be happy that you are listening to the symptoms before you receive a diagnosis and have an opportunity to make a change. If you have been given a diagnosis- medications are not necessarily going to lower your stress- just the symptoms. 

I hope this information has helped you understand that these signs and symptoms are signs your heart- whether spiritual, emotional, or physical is stressed. And if you don't know how to lower your stress well that's where I come in. As a stress expert, I am all about finding solutions to living a life of less stress and more energy- what I call an exceptional life. Because I think we can all agree "normal" is highly overrated.


This month, I am focusing on the heart and as a HeartMath Certified Practioner for Stress, Anxiety, and Emotional Regulation through The Institute for Better Health (BHI) and HeartMath. I will be teaching a series of 6 Masterclasses that will deep dive into the Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Heart, HRV, The Heart-Brain Connection, and 6 Techniques to Improve YOUr Heart Health today. If you would like more information please click the button below.


10 Signs Your Body Doesn't Feel Safe

10 Signs Your Body Doesn't Feel Safe

Is your body telling you it doesn’t feel safe?

When your body is stressed, it is telling you it doesn't feel safe. This is because your body is an incredible survival machine, and it's always on high alert for danger. That means that even if you're just sitting in a comfortable chair, if your stress response is activated your body feels there is a threat. 

It's important to know that this is normal and healthy—in fact, it's what keeps you safe and has helped keep you alive. But in today's world, it can cause problems because your body is often responding to perceived threats or past threats that are no longer a threat or these alarms are going off because there is a danger within and you are ignoring the signs and blaming the external stressors of the world.
You can learn more on my YouTube Video: Why Am I Stressed All the Time

10 Signs Your Body Doesn’t Feel Safe

1. You feel frustrated or agitated.

Many women feel frustrated or agitated when their physical surroundings don't provide them with a feeling of safety. It's not uncommon to feel this way - everyone has been in a situation where they felt unsafe. Your body holds these experiences and may be easily triggered by a smell, sound, touch, sight, or even taste that reminds it of the experience and you may not even remember or understand why.

2. You have muscle tension or pain.

Your muscles are your body's first line of defense, and when they're tense, it's because your body doesn't feel safe. When these messages are sent to your muscles frequently, over time they can become so strong that they are difficult to overcome, even when there is no real threat present.

3. You suffer from anxiety or depression.

You suffer from anxiety or depression when your body doesn't feel safe. But what does that mean, exactly? It's not just about the stressors in your life, especially what’s going on outside of you, but what's going on inside of you. This can happen for a variety of reasons: trauma, genetic predisposition, nutritional deficiencies, or a lack of sleep can all be internal stressors preventing you from feeling safe. And it isn't always easy to figure out why this is happening to you—but that doesn't mean there isn't a solution.

4. You have trouble falling asleep at night or trouble sleeping through the night without waking up multiple times. 

It's possible that your body doesn't feel safe. When your mind is worried about something, whether it be a real threat or a perceived one, it will not let you sleep as deeply as it normally would so that you can react to danger quickly. This means that even if you get into bed, your body will still be on alert and unable to fully rest.

5. You get sick more often than others around you do.

You feel you're always getting sick. There could be a reason you're falling ill so often: Your body doesn't feel safe. When you feel threatened, your body releases chemicals called stress hormones into your bloodstream so that you can fight or flee from the threat at hand. These chemicals are meant to help you survive an attack—they send messages to your brain telling it what action is needed in order for you to make it out alive. But when these chemicals stay active for too long, they can literally wear down your body over time by making it weaker and less able to fight off infection.

6. You feel like your body isn't performing as well as it used to—you are more tired with the same amount of activities.

Your body knows that something feels different and therefore it reacts differently. And when something feels different in your life (even if you don't know why), your body acts accordingly by conserving energy and resources until it feels safe again. While you may feel nothing has changed in your life, something has changed in your body.

7. You feel like your moods are out of control—you go from low to high.

When you are in a situation where you feel unsafe, your body reacts by sending you a signal: Fight, Flight, or Freeze. These options are designed to protect you from danger, but unfortunately, not very effective when it comes to dealing with emotions. This is often because we are focusing more on our emotions than how our body is feeling and what it needs to feel safe. This means taking the time to stop and become aware of how your body is feeling and even asking, How can I best support myself right here, right now?

8. Your appetite has shifted drastically, either you find yourself eating more than usual or eating less.

When your body doesn’t feel safe, it is constantly adapting. Your appetite is one of the first things that will change when your body is trying to adjust. This can be caused by several factors, including changes in hormones or diet. It might also be because your body is trying to tell you something. Your stomach doesn't know whether it's safe for you to eat—so it locks down and tells you not to eat (or not too much). This is a normal response when we feel threatened. The body protects itself from harm by shutting down digestion and diverting energy toward other functions (like running away). If you're experiencing extreme hunger or extreme fullness, ask yourself what your body is needing right now to help it feel more safe and it may have nothing to do with food.

9. You're always cold, even when it's warm out. 

Your body is constantly trying to keep you alive, and it does this by constantly monitoring the environment around you. If it senses danger, it will attempt to lower your body temperature in order to slow down your metabolism and reduce energy expenditure.

10. When you eat something sweet, your blood sugar spikes quickly and then crashes, leaving you feeling shaky and tired.

The chemical actions of sugar move you into a stressed state. Yes, your body moves into the "fight or flight" response because of the sugar rush, your body believes you must not be safe and you now have extra energy to protect yourself. The question is what are you protecting yourself from? Once your body realizes that the danger has passed (sugar has dropped) your body crashes, leaving you feeling shaky and tired- much like you just finished fighting a tiger or running a race. Even if you never got up from the table.

If you have any of these 10 signs showing up in your life. Know that your first step is helping your body feel more safe. 

How do I help my body feel more safe?

Great question. For years, I didn’t know the answer and after going through several programs including Somatic Training, I began to use powerful exercises to help my body feel more safe. Now when I begin to feel stressed, I know that my body doesn’t feel safe. I don’t just tell my body it’s safe now. I show it. As it feels safer. I feel the shift. Then I know I can move on toward less stress, more energy, and an exceptional life.

If you would like to know what to do when these signs pop up for you - I have a foundational course called The 21-Day Journey designed for you in mind and to guide you through an experience inside of your nervous system while building safety, support, and capacity - one somatic exercise at a time. You can find more information on my website by clicking here or you can book a free session with me to see if it’s the right next step for you.

3 Positive Mindsets for 2023!

3 Positive Mindsets for 2023!

A colonel in the British army once shared that in his work with prisoners of war he found it was not the physically strong who were most likely to survive the stress of their experiences. What he discovered was that survivors tend to have not one but three positive mindsets in common. 

3 Positive Mindsets

#1 Positive Attitude

A positive attitude is when you can accept that every circumstance no matter how challenging has a higher purpose. Knowing this leads to a positive attitude, which impacts your perception, your body chemistry, your immune response, and even the capacity to live a life of less stress and more energy. 

#2 Positive response

A positive response is an ability to control your responses even when you don't have control over life events, circumstances, or the people around you. How you respond is the difference between moving into a more stressed state and moving toward a more calm and relaxed state, which makes you receptive to new ways of perceiving and dealing with difficult situations.

#3 Positive concept of time

A positive concept of time is when you understand that every experience has a beginning, middle, and end. Often, when you are dealing with a stressful situation it feels like there is no end in sight and this leads to the feeling of hopelessness, lack of action, and depression. You only see the negative and your mind and body begin to shut down to what is possible. When you have a positive concept of time- this too will end- your immune system gets a boost and your inner resources of hope and resilience increase to a level that allows you to handle the most difficult situations. 

If you are ready to adopt these 3 Positive Mindsets in 2023 grab your FREE 7 Days To A More Positive YOU! Workbook and join me inside the Fill My Cup FB Group January 1st-7th, 2023 where I will share a short video on the Positivity topic of the day so together we can live a more positive lifestyle. 

❤️Shawna Cale, PT, LCTI, CHHWC
Stress Expert

5 Signs You Are Overwhelmed

5 Signs You Are Overwhelmed

How much stress are you under?

It's hard to tell sometimes, but I've got some signs that can help you figure out whether you're feeling overwhelmed.

5 Signs You Are Overwhelmed

Sign #1

The first sign is the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you're having trouble focusing on your work, or if it feels like there are too many things coming at you at once, your brain might be telling you that it's time to take a breather.

Sign #2

The second sign is difficulty sleeping or eating well. This goes hand-in-hand with the first sign—if your brain is overloaded, it's going to have trouble processing other things like what foods are good for you and how much sleep you need.

Sign #3

The third sign is feeling depressed or anxious about the future. If things seem bleak and hopeless, this could be because your brain doesn't know how else to cope with all of its stressors.

Sign #4

The fourth sign is feeling physically ill from lack of sleep or poor nutrition—or just feeling generally worn down because your body isn't getting what it needs in order to function optimally.

Sign #5

The fifth sign is physical symptoms like headaches or stomachaches that can't be explained by something else (like an infection). These symptoms might be related to stress itself rather than any specific.

If you are feeling overwhelmed - your body is overstressed and it's asking for help. It can only stay in this highly stressed state for so long before your system either shuts down- Blue Zone: Trauma/Freeze or you use a self-care tool to bring your stress down.

If you are still not sure how stressed you are- take my free quiz.

#1 Self-Care Tool To Help YOU Move Out of Overwhelm

Looking for the #1 self-care tool to help you move out of overwhelm? 

Take a deep breath! 
And then do it again and again.

I know it seems too simple to work, but it works. If you would like to learn how you can take the breath and magnify it with an essential oil and release the depleting emotion- overwhelm join me in the Fill My Cup FB group where I just did a video, showing you how.

❤️Shawna Cale, PT, LCTI, CHHWC
Stress Expert

Why is Addiction Highest During the Holidays?

Why is Addiction Highest During the Holidays?

What is an addiction?

An addiction is when one is physically or mentally dependent on a particular substance, thing, or activity. One cannot stop without adverse effects- withdrawal symptoms, physical or mental changes, cravings, and being dependent on it is causing some type of negative effect- spiritual, emotional, and/or physical.

 top 10 addictions 

1. Coffee
2. Sugar
3. Food
4. Tobacco and Nicotine
5. Alcohol
6. Illegal and Prescription Drugs
7. Sex
8. Gambling
9. Screens- TV, Internet, Social Media, Video Games
10. Work

Holiday Statistics?

The most common roots of addiction are chronic stress, trauma, and a family history of addiction. According to the Center for Disease Control, 80% of Americans report having more overwhelming stress during the holidays, over 25% of Americans report feeling more depressed, and 62% moderately anxious during the season. Both depression and anxiety directly contribute to increased addictive behaviors. Studies have shown alcohol alone to increase by 29% during the holidays and sugary treats and food become the focal point with an increase of 440 calories per day. Studies show that addictive behaviors started during the holiday season continue the first 3 months of the year - for example increase in calorie average goes up another 450 calories with a total increase of almost 900 calories compared to the July to November average.

What is a Coping Mechanism?

Difficult experiences from our past can leave an impact on the way we perceive and react today. In response to these stressful situations, we may have learned to behave in ways that “protect” us from pain. These are known as coping mechanisms and happen automatically through our Autonomic Nervous System- specifically the sympathetic side. Coping mechanisms are often helpful in the short term to lower stress - a cigarette, an alcoholic drink, or a piece of chocolate but can become unhealthy patterns that cause more stress, pain, and suffering (aka: addiction). Even though addiction is usually not good for us, we become attached to the coping mechanism as part of who we are and our own personal worldview and rarely see it as an addiction.

If you are struggling with an addiction, it’s important to know that recovery and healing are possible, and with it comes greater freedom, joy, and well-being. 

Below I share resources to help you on your journey from addiction to freedom. 

Stress Expert

P.S. In January the theme of the Exceptional Holistic Health Masterclasses is Freedom From Emotional Eating and Addiction.*

*Become an Exceptional Holistic Health Member today by starting with the 21-Day Journey Trauma to Safety course and receive all January Masterclasses for FREE. Go here to learn more: https://shawnacale.com/21-day-journey
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