01 12, 2015 | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 comments
Our adrenal glands are situated above our kidneys. They secrete hormones to give us extra energy when we find ourselves in a dangerous situation. In other words, the fight or flight response.
Now, the thing with a fight of flight response is that we then take action and this action clears the stress hormones out of our body. It uses them up and in this way, our equilibrium is restored.
Unfortunately the kinds of stress we find ourselves in these days rarely require large amounts of physical energy in order to resolve them, so the hormones released into our body stay there and this becomes a problem.
These hormones prepare us to take massive physical action, so our heart rate increases and various other organs are also stimulated. This takes a lot of energy and puts us into that very alert state which we would need if suddenly faced with a wild animal trying to kill us.
However, if we're sitting in an office looking at the piles of work we have to do, or feeling annoyed at our boss, fighting or running away is not really a relevant response.
The main point of the adrenal state is to move the energy from all the non-vital processes of the body into the legs and arms and to heighten our senses. This means less will be going to the brain, which is what we generally need to deal with 21st century stressors. So if less energy is going there, we'll actually be less able to do this, thus compounding the stress.
It is also very tiring. After running away from danger, we would probably have had a chance to relax and recuperate. However, if we find ourselves in this state on a daily basis, it can really drain us.
Try artificially putting yourself on red alert. You tense up your body, you look around constantly, your eyes contantly moving from place to place. Your breathing may become more shallow as your chest muscles constrict the opening of the lungs and this will cause you to breathe faster. All this happens automatically when adrenaline is released, but you'll probably be finding that it's hard work to do it consciously for any length of time.
This gives us an idea of how much energy is expended by this state. Now imagine doing this for most of your day. Just because we're doing it automatically through the release of adrenaline, it doesn't mean you are using any less energy.
As a result of low energy, we are more likely to reach for caffeine drinks or sugary snacks, both of which put our bodies under more stress. If we're constantly on red alert, we can find it hard to relax, even when we are very tired. And because this state is unpleasant, we may be drawn to addictive substances like alcohol which enable us to "escape" for a few hours.
So how do we deal with this state. Well, the first thing is to notice it. Awareness is they key to a lot of health related issues. Once we've done that, there are energetic corrections we can use to reset the energies, but the thing we can all do is look at our lifestyles and nutrition.
If something is putting you under so much stress that your adrenal glands are putting you in a fight or flight situation, then it might be time to question how necessary that situation really is for your life. Is it time to have a serious talk with your boss or even find another job? Is it time to cut adrift that person who has been nothing but trouble in your life? It might be hard to make these choices, but how easy is it being under constant stress?
If we reach for bad nutrition then we're fueling the stressed state. Although you might not feel like it, making healthy choices will have a positive effect on your emotional state. If you find yourself in this state a lot, make a decision in advance as to what you will eat. Maybe make some healthy food and freeze it so you can have dinner without much effort. Maybe carry some healthy snacks around with you so you don't "accidentally" buy a chocolate bar when you're filling up with petrol. (I've done this one many times.)
And finally, take some time out, even if you feel you don't have the time. You are likely to be more efficient when you are no longer drained from having adrenaline sourcing round your body.
09 25, 2012 | Posted in Uncategorized | 0 comments
On Sunday, I had a duvet day. I'd been in a show last week, so after a busy day on the Saturday and a very late night due to the after show party, I needed a rest.
Now, normally, I'd probably have pushed through and tried to get on with the things piling up on my to-do list. But I thought I'd try a different tactic this time. This time, I embraced doing nothing. And it was wonderfully liberating.
Now, I can hear you saying, "it's alright for you, I don't have the time to do nothing". And I realise I am in a fortunate state, that I can do this. But it does raise the issue of how important rest is.
Firstly, we don't function at full par when we're over tired. Extreme tiredness is a form of stress for our bodies and stress has a negative effect on brain function. We make mistakes and things can either take longer, or be of a lower standard.
Secondly, it's hard work being tired. Life is less pleasant and things we'd normally take in our stride, become difficult to cope with. We become over sensitive to things and can become emotional or irritable around others. And obviously, we need to mention that overriding desire to go back to bed.
Thirdly, and less obviously, we can become hyper. Sometimes it's just adrenaline which is keeping us awake, or we can turn to caffeine and sugar. This will take its toll on our body, and if we keep this up too long it can lead to burnout.
So, on Sunday, I snuggled down under the duvet, read copious amounts of Facebook and ended the day with a dose of Downton Abbey.
And by Monday I was back to normal energy levels. So it paid off.
Why not try it sometime?