Do you ever feel stressed?
I know, silly question. Just like millions of other Americans who are stressed on a daily basis, you are feelin it too.
It is easy to have stress and anxiety as a result of work, deadlines, family matters, money issues, and just plain life in general.
We are consistently bombarded with all kinds of new information through television and other electronic devices. Not only do we have to deal with the stresses of everyday life, we must also deal with brain overload!
It’s no wonder our body is in constant stress response mode. So, how does our body deal with stress?
Maybe you’ve heard of adrenal fatigue, or fight or flight, both related to the adrenal glands which are located on top of each kidney. The adrenal glands secrete stress response hormones when we are in a state of high stress or fear.
In short, the adrenal glands were designed to help protect us in dangerous situations. They secrete adrenaline in times that call for immediate action. This gives us the energy and strength we need to “fight or flee the scene.”
The adrenal glands also release a sort of “back-up” hormone called cortisol, which is similar to adrenaline but is released more slowly and steadily. (As opposed to adrenaline, which is immediate and in spurts.)
Our adrenal glands were created to keep us alive. I’d say that’s pretty badass!
Here’s the thing…the adrenal glands don’t have the ability to distinguish between you being chased by a grizzly bear and you running late for work. This means the adrenals release adrenaline and cortisol whenever you are in a stressful or fearful situation regardless of the circumstance.
In my personal case, I grew up with constant fear and anxiety. I mean all the time. The only time I had no stress was when I was sleeping.
This means that for 27+ years of my life, I had adrenaline and cortisol pumping at least 16 hours a day. (And I promise, I was not being attacked by bears during that time.) My body basically trained itself to be in constant protection mode, even when there was no danger present.
I would get up and go to work with my heart pumping out of my chest. I would get to work and in order to stay on time, my body thought it necessary to pump out adrenaline and cortisol all day long, to keep me alert and on the lookout for the danger of…dah-dah-dahhhh….running late for my next client.
Even though I mentally knew there was no danger, nothing to be fearful of, and that being late was not a matter of life or death, my adrenal glands didn’t know that. My body had trained itself to keep me safe and alive during my waking hours.
So guess what? I had to UN-TRAIN my body. I had to slowly start to rewind and train my body to keep calm by nourishing the adrenal glands and giving myself calm, quiet TLC as often as possible, something I did not receive in my early years.
I had to start a new routine as I got ready for work in the morning. Essentially I had to demonstrate to my adrenal glands that everything was ok, that all was good in the hood, that I was not being chased by a bear for 16 hours each day.
Since I have begun my consistent “adrenal calming boot camp” as I call it, I have so much less stress, less fear and anxiety, and as a result my adrenal glands are restful for the most part. Ahhhhhh…. Boy does that feel good!
So, what is involved in the “adrenal calming boot camp”? Below is a list of exactly what I did to train my body to relax and chill, and therefore reduce my adrenaline and cortisol levels:
- Yoga first thing in the a.m. Yoga calms the brain chatter by bringing awareness into the body and out of the mind for a peaceful day.
- Morning meditation. Meditation and breathing slow the mind and bring awareness to our center, our spirit, so we can tap into our true inner being.
- Turn my daily tasks into a mindful meditation. In other words, making a strong effort to focus on the present moment throughout the day. Thinking too far into the future causes unnecessary stress and anxiety, and ultimately, a rise in adrenaline and cortisol.
- Ginger kidney poultices. The adrenals sit right on top of the kidneys. To nourish the adrenals, it is beneficial to draw heat (and therefore blood) to the area for healing. Click here to learn how to do a ginger kidney poultice.
- Consistently remind myself I am safe. Anytime I would feel that rush of adrenaline, my heart beating fast, a moment of fear, I would stop, put my hand on my belly, breathe and repeat the phrase, “I am safe in my body, on the earth, and in this place.”
And that, my friends is how you nurture your badass adrenal glands!
Sometimes (or all the time, depending on who you are) your body just needs reminders that it’s all good in the hood.
When you feel you need a reminder, do it! Don’t push on in an attempt to “tackle” the stress. The tackling will only create more anxiety.
Above all, understand how important you are on this earth and give yourself the love and care you innately deserve.
You are safe. You are loved. You belong. You are worthy.