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I regularly hear that people are exhausted and stressed out. A huge factor in this is our American lifestyle of working too much, playing too little and not getting enough rest or exercise. But could all of that be having a huge effect on our bodies and really be the root cause of the current state of our health? I started thinking about this, and while doing so, I noticed that the adrenal glands just kept popping up. When that happens, I know there is a correlation. So let’s talk about it.
What Are Our Adrenal Glands?
These little guys sit right on top of our kidneys and are about the size of your thumb. For such little organs, they pack a wallop of a punch in all that they do! These guys may seem like they are just there for looks but in reality they regulate all of the hormones that flow through our bodies.
When these hormones are released and pumped around the body they create chain reactions which causes the blood to be directed away from the skin and into the muscles, heart, brain and kidneys. This is to ensure that the systems vital to fight or flight are ready for either action in response to the perceived, or real, threat. By doing so, it causes:
- The breakdown of glycogen stores in muscles to glucose to provide extra quick energy
- The restriction of arteries in the skin which causes the hairs to stand up
- The smooth muscles in the lungs to relax, thereby increasing respiration
- Increased contraction rate of the heart, thereby increasing the body’s blood supply
Possible Side Effects
If you are one of the millions of people around this country, or the world for that matter, that works too hard and plays too little, then you may be stressing out your adrenal glands. When we are stressed out and constantly in a state of fight or flight, it triggers our adrenal glands to jump into action. Mother Nature is a great thing, however, she also can’t differentiate between a real threat (robbery) and a perceived threat (looming work deadline). What this means is that she is going to kick our adrenal glands into action anytime we become stressed out.
If this is ringing any bells for you, then this list of possible side effects may ring even more true as to how you are feeling:
- Low Energy Levels = Tiredness
- Excess Weight Gain
- Decreased Mental Acuity
- Lack of Libido (this is certainly NO BUENO!)
- Body Aches
- Racing Thoughts
Balance and moderation is the key to everything in my book. If you have any of these issues listed above, then you may be in constant adrenal fatigue. If this is the case, then it can be fixed, especially since it was self induced. Simply put, we MUST take better care of ourselves and stop burning ourselves out before we hit 40.
To do this, we need to make sure that we get enough sleep for our individual needs, first and foremost. By doing so, we assist with reducing the constant state of stress. A few other things we need to do are:
- Reduce outside constant stress factors
- For those factors that you simply can’t get rid of currently, change how you perceive them. Changing your perception of things changes your responses to them.
- Remember to breathe and add some breathwork into your daily routine. Our bodies require an oxygenated environment for survival and to thrive, so if we aren’t getting enough of it we are putting ourselves into a disease state.
- Add in some exercises that don’t stress you out but those that help you burn the stress away. Each one of us is different and enjoy different activities, so find one or two that fit with your personality and lifestyle.
- Go outside and enjoy nature, as the sun rejuvenates our energy supply as well as the oxygen/carbon dioxide exchange from the trees.
- Unplug for at least a few waking hours a day.
- Add in plenty of fruits and veggies into your diet, as well as ensure that you are getting enough tyrosine and/or phenylalanine to ensure that we have enough of the amino acids to produce epinephrine and/or norepinephrine. Foods that ensure we are getting these include:
- Soybeans (the non GMO kind)
- Whole Grains
Have you dealt with Adrenal Fatigue before? If so, what changes did you make that worked for you to regain your health and your life?