Five Simple Strategies to Reduce Stress and Eliminate Exhaustion
By Joseph Mercola, DO
Do you often feel tired and stressed out? You're not alone. One of the most common problems I hear from patients is that they felt fatigued, anxious or depressed. And they often have trouble sleeping -- even though they are exhausted.
Most of them share a common underlying theme -- adrenal burnout. It's the result of racing through life with a constantly aroused sympathetic ("fight or flight") nervous system.
In the heightened nervous state of adrenal burnout, the body overproduces adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Eventually, this causes the adrenal glands, the front line in the stress reaction, to show wear and tear and become depleted. This frequently leads to an impairment in the thyroid gland, which can cause a further decline in energy level and mood and is one of the reasons why so many women have thyroid glands that don’t work well.
Fortunately, you can help reverse this problem by making a few simple lifestyle changes:
Eat steadily, all day long. Skipping meals is one of the worst things you can do for your body. When you're hungry, your blood Sugar drops, stressing your adrenal glands and triggering your sympathetic nervous system. That causes light-headedness, cravings, anxiety and fatigue.
Skipping breakfast is particularly bad, as it is a sure fire way to gain, not lose, weight. If you start each morning with a good breakfast and "graze" healthfully every two to four hours, your "metabolic flame" will burn evenly all day and your blood Sugar won't take any sharp dips. You'll feel more rested and energetic.
Another drawback to skipping meals: The resulting low blood Sugar can slow the speed at which you process information and shorten your attention span.
Eat More Raw Uncooked Food. Stopping at MacDonald’s for breakfast is the way most American’s eat breakfast, but this will not allow you to receive the maximum energy that uncooked food stores. Raw eggs may take some getting used to, but they are an inexpensive way to increase the amount of uncooked protein and fat in your diet. And forget the myths of their great risk: the risk of salmonella from raw eggs is only 1 in 30,000, and even that risk can be greatly avoided by carefully examining the eggs prior to eating them.
Use Psychological Acupressure Techniques to Lower Your Stress.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a powerful but easy technique for quickly resolving emotional distress. It can even relieve physical complaints such as chronic pain, allergic symptoms, and much more. Not only does it do this quickly, but it works without forcing yourself or the recipient to repeatedly re-experience the negative emotional state. This treatment is generally permanent, relatively easy to apply, boasts a higher than 80% success rate and is free of negative side effects.
See the free 25 page free manual on EFT that provides an overview and clear instructions on how you can use this valuable tool to:
Pay off your sleep debt. During sleep your adrenal glands are restored and repaired. Unfortunately, most of us place little value on sleep, and end up getting less than we need, night after night. Result: Your adrenal glands stay depleted.
The average person needs six to eight hours of sleep each night. Sleeping under six hours will actually accelerate aging and increase your risk of diabetes. If you feel as if you're dragging, you need the full eight hours of sleep..
For better sleep:
Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. This will raise blood sugar and inhibit sleep. Later, when blood sugar drops too low (hypoglycemia), you might wake up and not be able to fall back asleep.
Sleep in complete darkness or as close as possible. When light hits the eyes, it disrupts the circadian rhythm of the pineal gland and production of melatonin and seratonin. There also should be as little light in the bathroom as possible if you get up in the middle of the night.
No TV right before bed. Even better, get the TV out of the bedroom or even out of the house, completely. It is too stimulating to the brain and it will take longer to fall asleep. Also disruptive of pineal gland function for the same reason as above.
Wear socks to bed. Due to the fact that they have the poorest circulation, the feet often feel cold before the rest of the body. A study has shown that this reduces night wakings.
Read something spiritual or religious. This will help to relax. Don't read anything stimulating, such as a mystery or suspense novel, as this may have the opposite effect. In addition, if you are really enjoying a suspenseful book, you might wind up unintentionally reading for hours, instead of going to sleep.
Avoid using loud alarm clocks. It is very stressful on the body to be awoken suddenly. If you are regularly getting enough sleep, they should be unnecessary. I gave up my alarm clock five years ago and use a dawn simulator which works by with an alarm to a dimmer switch that gradually turns the light on to full intensity over 45 minutes. I just love it as it is so gentle and if I need more sleep, I get it without being startled or disrupting my adrenals. Almost like a real dawn. Other strategies for excellent sleeping can be found on my site.
Avoid energy-zappers. A variety of toxins in food and the environment contribute to a heightened adrenal response:...
One of the most common questions people ask me is “What am I supposed to eat for breakfast?” This is because most American breakfasts are a prescription for health disaster. So I developed a green vegetable juicing recipe that seems to help most of my patients regain their energy.
When you eat sugar in any form, it throws your blood sugar out of balance, activating your sympathetic nervous system and causing a variety of other severely disrupting actions to your body.
Household and self-care products. The vast majority of chemicals found in pesticides and other products, undergo little or no testing for chronic, low level exposures and for chronic health effects. Virtually all household products are now available in natural, nontoxic formulations. Purge your cupboards and medicine chest of chemical-based cleaning products, air fresheners, gardening supplies, shampoos, soaps and deodorants, and find non-chemical alternatives. Start by making just a few of the changes defined in the five sections above. You will begin to see major improvements within days. Build on your energy levels and relaxed stress by incorporating more of the changes as you go along, and your adrenal burnout will soon be a distant memory.