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Stress. Everyone talks about it, but not everyone knows what to do about it when it starts to take over their life. High blood pressure, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, heartburn, ulcers, reduced digestive function, depression, anxiety disorder, asthma, recurring infections, hypoglycemia, adult onset diabetes, frequent colds/flus/viruses, phobias, and insomnia are just some of the illnesses that can result from living with too much stress.
Stress isn’t just emotional either. Your body experiences stress when you have been ill for too long, broken a bone, been in an accident, or had a bout of food poisoning. Any time your body is experiencing something unusual, whether real or imagined, there will be a physiological stress response.
EVERYONE HAS STRESS
Are you under the impression that stress is just a fact of life that everyone has to put up with? Maybe you think that all you have to do is change the way you think about stress or that you can just take a pill and everything will turn out all right?
Are there challenges in every day life? Yes, but there are also solutions. Challenges, obstacles, life’s problems etc. might be stressful, but once the challenge, obstacle, or problem has been solved, the emotional and physical stress that accompanied it usually goes away and your body begins to recover. However, when stressful situations occur too often and outnumber peaceful times, the effects eventually weaken your body to the point where it is no longer able to recover and function normally.
The ability to think clearly and make good decisions is greatly diminished.
You become a lot more irritable and prone to outbursts.
You find yourself crying more than is normal for you
You might find yourself screaming at other drivers on the road in a fit of road rage.
Things that you used to be able to laugh off become huge problems.
You struggle with simple tasks and things that you used to be able to do in a few minutes now take much longer
You need to convince yourself to get up and moving in the morning,
Your insomnia will likely worsen and you feel sick and tired all the time.
These are some of the symptoms that indicate you have reached a point of exhaustion that is not normal, and that you should consider getting help.
The word ‘stress’ gets thrown around a lot in every day conversation and used in numerous contexts, but the physiological affects of stress are not something that should be taken lightly. Stress means different things to different people, and each person reacts to stressful situations in their own way. When stress becomes a part of your every day life, the physical affects will accumulate and eventually result in disease.
Situations and life experiences that can create excess physiological and emotional stress and lead to exhaustion and adrenal fatigue:
Lack of sleep - causes both emotional and physical stress on your body
Improper diet/malnourished – eating fast foods/processed foods more than whole and fresh foods puts stress on your digestive system and depletes nutrient stores in your body
Over-achievers & perfectionists are more likely to reach ‘burn out’
Putting up with situations because you feel there is no other alternative – this could be relationships or jobs – puts you in a constant state of emotional stress
Lack of fun
Attending university and working a full time job
Being a single mom
Working shift work
Death of a loved one
Going through a divorce
Moving to a new city
Loss of a job
Having an addiction, living with or working with an addict
Being constantly criticized/bullied
Too much physical activity without adequate rest – ex. running marathons, competitive sports
These are just a few of the things that cause stress in your body. If you are like most people, you are likely experiencing three or more of these things at the same time, and that is causing your adrenal glands to work overtime.
PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
Digestive difficulties – heartburn, constipation or diarrhea, ulcers
Afternoon lull – run out of energy by 3pm or 4pm
Insomnia & difficulty getting up in the morning
High blood pressure
Craving salty foods
Takes a greater effort to do every day tasks
Inability to handle any kind of stress & decreased tolerance
Blood sugar level fluctuations (hypoglycemia)
Frequent colds, flus, bronchitis, pneumonia
Weight gain – particularly around the middle
STEPS YOU CAN TAKE TO HELP YOUR BODY & MIND RECOVER FROM TOO MUCH STRESS
Getting enough sleep is the most important thing you can do for yourself. Lack of sleep affects your ability to think properly. If you aren’t sleeping through the night without waking, take a nap during the day if possible – even closing your eyes and sitting very quietly or laying down for 20 minutes can help. The more rest your body gets - the better!
Learn the art of silencing your thoughts using meditation. There is no ‘right way’ to meditate. Decide for yourself what works best for you. Sitting in a comfortable chair with your eyes closed and focusing on your breathing might work, or maybe soaking in a warm bath works better for you. If you have trouble turning off your thoughts - start with just 5 minutes at a time. Work up to at least 20 minutes each day.
Start a journal. Sometimes all you need to do is get those thoughts OUT of your mind. Writing in a journal works for some people because it is private. No one has to see what you write, so you can get rid of all the anger, resentments, and negative and angry thoughts without worrying about offending someone or being judged for having angry thoughts.
Make sure you are eating the best quality of natural foods that you can afford. Stay away from sugary foods, processed and fast foods as these foods tend to have a lot of chemical ingredients that can negatively affect your gut bacteria, mineral balance, and cause adverse reactions in your body such as increased heart rate, mood swings, blood sugar fluctuations and add to hormonal imbalances.
There are certain nutrients including Methylcobalamin B12, Vitamin C,
Vitamin E, and herbs like Siberian Ginsing that can help your body start to recover from the physiological affects of chronic stress. If your body has reached exhaustion and you are already showing multiple symptoms of adrenal fatigue, food alone will not provide the amounts of nutrients needed for adrenal support. Enlist the help of a qualified holistic nutritional therapist or Naturopathic doctor who understands adrenal fatigue to help you determine the correct dosages and specific supplements for your body.
Get plenty of exercise and fresh air. Exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous, difficult or take place in a gym! Go for a walk or a bike ride. Find an activity that is fun! Play badminton in the back yard or park. You don’t have to have the proper
net – be creative! Try yoga or Tai Chi. If you don’t want to participate in a group setting check your local library for a DVD and start off in the privacy of your own home.
Set your own goals based on your current state of physical health. If you can’t manage 10,000 steps a day – start with 2,000 and add 200 every other day. You might be surprised how easy it is to get 200 steps!
Working with weights can be a little daunting if you’re trying to keep up with seasoned gym goers. If you can’t life 5 lbs of weights for 3 sets of 10 – start at 2 lbs or 3 lbs and work your way up to 5 lbs.
I think of the Spirit as one’s true self. So often, our true selves get squashed by someone else’s idea of who they want us to be and we are put in a constant state of emotional stress. The they I’m referring to here is family members, teachers and other authority figures that had a direct affect on us while we were growing up – not the city, government or the world as a whole. Sometimes our parents or siblings try push us in a particular direction, or steer us towards a particular career because they think we will earn a better living, or because it’s ‘what we do’ (think generational careers such as military, police, fire etc.). Sometimes, we choose careers based only on the potential income it might offer only to discover we hate going to work every day.
Honor your true self by learning about YOU. What are your personal likes and dislikes? What fills your Spirit with joy? When you are unhappy, your body is in a state of emotional stress all the time.
Our Spirit is directly connected to our emotional center. When we suppress our feelings, our Spirit is affected and an emotional resentment or wound is created. These resentments eventually add up and smother our true selves by filling our being with fear, anger, hostility and other negative emotions that cause physiological stress eventually lead to disease.
Think of your Spirit as the light within you that is connected to all life on this planet. The more resentments you carry within yourself, the harder it is to find that light. Honor your inner and true self by allowing yourself to experience every feeling as you have them. Allowing yourself to feel your feelings doesn't mean you should hold on to your anger and resentments waiting for apologies. Allowing yourself to be bitter for a time may be the motivation you need to want to get better.
© 2017 Penny Hodgson All Rights Reserved
The information presented on this web site is not intended to take the place of your personal physician’s advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Discuss this information with your own physician or healthcare provider to determine what is right for you. All information is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. The information contained in this online site is intended to provide broad consumer understanding and knowledge. The information should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of a visit, call, consultation or advice of your physician or other health care provider. I do not recommend the self-management of health problems.
While I attempt to be as accurate as possible, the information presented here should not be relied upon as being comprehensive or error-free.