They pick up that which might pass you by consciously, and they never adapt; meaning, even if you feel you are handling a stressful situation well, they might disagree.
The body is always right. YOU are always right. Not your thoughts, and sometimes not even your feelings, YOU.
An example: You have been in a relationship for years, and although you know you are under stress that it is not optimal, you are dealing with it, and you have gotten better at dealing with it. Not feeling as stressed out, angry, frustrated or lost anymore, you are better at living with it—not. You might think you are, but nothing hurts our adrenals more than long-standing low grade stress. It becomes an underlying inflammation, an obstruction. It becomes the subconscious sabotage you might not even be aware of. And it is the key to your healing.
This is why this challenge and process will elevate your health BIG time.
Nothing Hurts the Adrenals like Stress
Nothing hurts the adrenals like stress and underlying unhappiness, not even food. And when the adrenals are fatigued, we’re talking serious trouble—starting with inflammation, insomnia, fungus, constipation or pain, ending in bedridden with chronic fatigue and other very serious conditions.
In short, you will feel like crap. Period.
Nothing hurts your health like weak and low functioning adrenal glands. Literally, it is hard to find anything else that will leave you in a lack-of-health ditch like not nurturing those amazing little glands. Any type of stress, trauma, and fear—BAM!—adrenal shut-down. And although it most often takes years and years of constant adrenal stress to get to the low point of chronic illness, a simple sudden traumatic event in your life can also pull the rug from under you, and your health.
The tricky part is even knowing you are under constant stress; the lingering low-grade kind of stress that kills very slowly. We tend to adjust, to accept, to allow. But when it comes to stress, it’s not a healthy idea.
What are Your Adrenal glands?
Before we look at what is stressing you sick, and how to make positive changes, let’s start with what the adrenal glands actually are.
The adrenal glands are the two small but significant glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They are part of the endocrine system and are involved in producing over 50 hormones that drive almost every bodily function—many of which are essential for life. (No wonder we need to love them!) Keeping this simple, let’s look at some general information about these important but vulnerable glands.
The adrenals are made up of two distinct parts:
- The adrenal cortex: The outer part of the gland, the adrenal cortex produces hormones that are vital to life, such as cortisol (which helps regulate metabolism and helps your body respond to stress) and aldosterone (which helps control blood pressure).
- The adrenal medulla: The inner part of the gland, known as the adrenal medulla, produces non-essential (that is, you don’t need them to live) hormones, such as adrenaline (which helps your body react to stress).
The adrenal glands are best known for secreting the hormone adrenaline, which rapidly prepares your body to spring into action in a stressful situation. This is the most valuable information you can ever learn about the adrenal glands.
They also contribute to a myriad of processes in the body when we are NOT under stress, and our health declines when those functions are no longer running optimally due to adrenal fatigue.
Hormones affect every function, organ and tissue in the body, both directly and indirectly. They react to each other as well as respond to conditions in the body in an intricate and highly sensitive balancing act. The adrenal glands work closely with the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland in a system known as the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis—an endocrine gland dance of balance. It is the ‘government’ of the body, and is essential to our health and wellbeing.
The Top Adrenal Stress Factors
There are many more, but these are the stress factors most of us can relate to.
1. Malfunctioning family and relationships:
The people closest to us can either make us or break us. In a perfect world, that statement would be completely false, as nothing from the outside can break us unless we allow it or them to—but most of us are not there. We rely on nurturing relationships. But the reality is, there are toxic people, and there are those not capable of being supportive and loving. We need to walk away from all that is hurtful to us.
When you are ready to heal your adrenals and life, walk away. Give yourself space to heal away from any behavior that is upsetting to you in any way. The family is tricky, but nothing is worth being sick over. Take a close look at the relationships in your life and start decluttering. Start evaluating what is serving you and be picky. YOU deserve it. Your health deserves it. If it doesn’t serve you, walk away.
2. Not living your purpose:
This is a hard one, as living one’s purpose is and can be so many things. I do not believe we have ONE purpose, as in one function or place in this society, I believe we can find many traits and so-called positions, BUT, this is the wisdom to take from this: When you are living your purpose, you feel aligned with what you do; you feel at home where you are, and you feel your days and weeks are filled with purpose and joy. You will feel the pull and excitement in life itself, and enthusiastic about creating and serving. When you are serving you are always living purposely.
The opposite would be to never feel in place, or happy with what you do, or the way you live. Always having a longing for something different, or something more. Have you ever felt “Is this all there is?” A typical sign of not living your purpose. That being said, there are no straight lines, and following your intuition will lead you towards YOU, even though the road might be bumpy with valuable lessons and gems along the way.
3. Abusing the body with food:
While emotional stress is far more damaging when it comes to the adrenals, food may be the most obvious factor in adrenal health. The reason food is critical to the health of the adrenal glands is the role of nutrition in supporting the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol, which play critical functions in the body.
When it comes to food, anything acidic not only harms the adrenals but every gland and organ in your body. The adrenals are most hurt by eating animal products, especially meat. The adrenaline, the trauma and emotional stress handed down from factory-farmed animals are detrimental. Alcohol, coffee and other drugs stimulate the adrenals and stress the entire body, and can be very toxic to adrenal health. Same with salt, a toxic stimulant.
(On the flip side, foods and herbs that support the adrenal glands include foods high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamins C, E and B-complex, as well as coconut oil, ashwagandha, ginger, licorice root, and plenty of Love H2O water.
The Top Adrenal Stress Symptoms
Low adrenals will lead to a myriad of symptoms. As they are involved in so many processes, they will throw you into a limbo when not feeling great. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Blood sugar issues
- Belly fat
- Low cortisol levels
- Lower back pain and sciatica
- Shortness of breath
- Salt cravings